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Sometimes my desktop freezes. All icons go white and accept no action. If I go to Task Manager, kill explorer.exe and restart it, it go back to normal.

How can I troubleshoot this, to know what is causing this?

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Your system still reacts if you press Ctrl+Alt+Del so that you are able to start the Task Manager. Do that again to find out which process might be causing trouble. Tools like "Process Explorer" (can be used as Task Manager replacement) and "Autoruns" might be helpful for tracing this down. –  Axel Kemper Apr 3 '13 at 22:48
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1 Answer

The first thing you should try, open regedit.exe, on Windows 7 64-bit go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Browser Helper Objects\

On 32-bit go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Browser Helper Objects\

Right click the key Browser Helper Objects and Export to a file to generate a backup just as precaution.

Under this key there are several other keys with names like {18DF081C-E8AD-4283-A596-FA578C2EBDC3}. Delete all of them. Nothing here is important.

Now terminate explorer.exe and start it again.

Those are modules some programs install on Windows Explorer, and usually are only good to slow down your computer. I never got a case where they were useful for something.

If it does not help, its likely that your problem is related to modules generating previews / thumbnails on videos or other file types like AutoCAD etc. Those can be disabled too like is explained in this tutorial and can greatly improve your Windows Explorer performance.

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Thanks, it turn out to be a video file sitting on my desktop. It's icon renderer was locking up. I dont want to disable all thumbnail renderer, only this one. –  bortao Apr 8 '13 at 21:07
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