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Windows Explorer has encountered a problem….DrWatson Postmortem Debugger…

I never realized how much I used Windows Explorer until yesterday.

For some, yet to be discovered, reason every time I opened Windows Explorer (or the Control Panel) for that matter I got a “Windows Explorer has encountered a problem” error. This was followed by a “DrWatson Postmortem Debugger has encountered a problem” error. After this my computer completely hanged and all I could do was switch it off, check disk etc.

I found that I could still use Windows Explorer by just ignoring the error window, but it seemed sluggish and I was just putting off the inevitable computer hang. Having said that, DrWatson only seemed to rear his ugly head on a random basis, so sometimes the screen would just refresh itself and I could carry on as normal.

Of course I searched the Internet for possible solutions – and it seemed that every man and his Windows XP using dog were having similar problems. To make matters worse every problem posted in a forum was followed by multiple possible solutions.

I was beginning to start pulling out my already thinning hair when I found a truly excellent Web site:

http://www.helpwithwindows.com/techfiles/explorer-crashes.html

The site suggests that a lot of problems are caused because of ‘shell extensions’. It suggested downloading some (also excellent) software called ShelExView which shows you all the shell extensions running on your computer. By disabling all the shell extensions and then opening Windows Explorer and then re-enabling each extension, one at a time, I was able to find, firstly whether a shell extension was causing my problems (it was) and secondly which specific shell extension was causing me my problems (WMN Toolbar from Visicom Media).

I uninstalled the toolbar and now everything appears to be fine. Pheww….