Any explorer window opened for the first time on my machine causes the explorer window to display the folders tree and folder path in the address bar immediately but the file/folder list pane is blank and the window displays 'Not Responding' in the title bar, this hangs for up to a minute or more.

Any file dialog displays 'Not Responding' in the title bar.

The files list is eventually displayed after a few seconds or more.

Steps to repro:

  • Close all open instances of explorer

  • Windows Key | Run | [enter a folder path such as 'c:\temp']

  • Or within any app: use a file open / save dialog

  • Once there is at least one open instance of explorer the performance is still fairly poor but not nearly so bad and file lists are displayed in a timely fashion.

What I've tried:

  • Cleaned up registry with CCleaner tool, and uninstalled all other unused software

  • Checked nothing unwanted running at startup with Autoruns

  • Removed any ISO burner/recorder/mount software

Still to try

  • Get latest version of everything - especially stuff with shell extension behaviour such as TortoiseSVN

Anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks alot.


I'm wondering if this is related, I'll try the hotfix when I get home and report back:

KB972685 - FIX:Explorer.exe hangs when using a shell extension written using MFC

Update 2

Before I got a chance to try the hotfix it seems one of the above actions fixed this for me; either the removal of IsoRecorder or TortoiseHg (which I was no longer using anyway).

Update 3

A similar issue with Explorer.exe has come back since installing TortoiseHg 1.01 :-(

Different symptoms this time though... I could not create a new folder anywhere without explorer.exe hanging. I also could not delete any folder without a similar hang. Despite one window hanging, the folders were actually created (or deleted) if I looked via a different explorer window.

2 Answers 2


Not a direct solution, but using Process Explorer and filtering the output to only explorer.exe may give you insight as to what it's doing in the background.


This was unltimately resolved by rebuilding the Windows Search indexes.

I also ran chkdsk on my machine.

The Windows Search service was quite difficult to stop (it stuck at 'Stopping...'). I also set the service to Manual startup for one reboot (although it still mysteriously started anyway).

Long story short (and I don't remember the full set of steps I took!) I was persistent and rebooted once or twice (the usual story) etc, eventually I was able to rebuild the indexes.

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