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Fairly frequently I encounter a problem when trying to access my Windows7 taskbar. I get an hour-glass that never goes away unless/until I click enough to prompt Windows to announce that Explorer is not responding, asking whether I want to keep waiting, close the program, or restart. Whether I choose to close or restart, the response is the same: I can use the taskbar again almost immediately, though about 50% of the time the problem will reoccur within 15 minutes.

I am running Windows7 Home Premium (64-bit edition). I experienced the same problem while running Windows Vista before upgrading to Windows7 (6 months or so ago). It was a significantly less frequent problem during the first couple months after upgrading. but the frequency has increased. Running the GIMP graphics editor seems to be the most frequent way to encounter this problem (80%+ of the times I run GIMP, I experience the problem at some point), however I've experienced the same problem during sessions in which the only app I use is Chrome. The system is Toshiba Satellite laptop, with 4GB of RAM and a 2GHz AMD Turon 64-bit processor.

What could be causing this problem? Short of a full-blown reformat+reinstall of Windows, what could I do to fix it?

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When you "upgraded" from Vista to 7 was it an in-place upgrade, or did you format and start fresh with 7? –  techie007 Aug 4 '10 at 4:35
    
It was an in-place upgrade. My understanding was that the similarities between Vista and Win 7 would lead to this being more effective than most in-place upgrades. –  Jeffrey Blake Aug 5 '10 at 0:00
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3 Answers

I have personally seen this happen with certain Stardock programs installed. Windowblinds and Fences took turns crashing Explorer on my computer. I've heard that ObjectDock can do it too. Try uninstalling any third-party eye-candy.

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I have none installed. –  Jeffrey Blake Aug 5 '10 at 0:01
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I had a similar problem a while back (http://superuser.com/questions/151822/chrome-lockups-windows-7-64-bit). The system only ever locked up when Chrome was running. The solution was to update Chrome.

Try updating Chrome.

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Chrome appears to be auto-updating, and according to everything I can find, my version (5.0.375.125) is current. –  Jeffrey Blake Aug 5 '10 at 0:06
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A dll might have been corrupted. That happened to me; I had to reinstall.

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Specifically, a system dll. Mine was something nt. It's apparently a surprisingly common problem, since that one dll has had that issue for a decade. Please post the output from the event log. –  Tasuret Mar 23 '11 at 16:28
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