I have been having some issues with explorer.exe hanging when I create a new folder.

If I use Analyse Wait Chain in the Resource Monitor it says "One or more threads of explorer.exe are waiting to finish network I/O".

When I look at the offending thread in Process Explorer it reveals nothing interesting:


While I was looking at the explorer.exe threads I did notice a fair few that talk about ETW (Event Tracing for Windows) so obviously explorer.exe uses tracing.

So I decided to try and user TraceView.exe to try and listen in on the explorer.exe traces.

The problem is TraceView requires some difficult-to-come-by stuff... either pdbs, or CTL files, and .TMF files. I tried using the explorer.pdb that comes with the Windows SDK but that did not work. I do not see explorer.exe in the "named providers". And I have no idea where to locate the ctl or .TMF files for explorer.exe.

So the question is: Is there a way to view the ETW trace messages from explorer?

Or shall I just not bother and go back to the age old technique of disabling every explorer extenion one-by-one in the hope its one of them. (Prefer the former as I like to get to the bottom of things!!)

  • Interesting, I've started seeing this too in the last week or so, and assumed it must just be something weird on my system, but maybe not... – Whisk Oct 4 '09 at 22:08
  • I never did solve this. I think it was a shell add in, possibly teracopy or tortoisesvn that was causing the problem – Schneider Jul 12 '10 at 8:15

I don't know if you've seen them, but Mark Russinovich of Microsoft (formerly of SysInternals who originally wrote Process Explorer) writes regular articles on his blog about diagnosing Windows problems using the Sysinternals tools.

This one demonstrates his process as he tries to track down an intermittent Explorer hang (which almost certainnly isn't the same as yours but does show the process he uses) http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2005/08/28/the-case-of-the-intermittent-and-annoying-explorer-hangs.aspx

He uses other techniques (including grabbing the symbols from MS servers) diagnosing slow Windows performance here: http://blogs.technet.com/markrussinovich/archive/2008/09/24/3126858.aspx

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  • Word. Russinovich is a f**ing deity in my book, and his tools keep me out of trouble at work almost all day. – songei2f Jul 21 '10 at 19:37

The first thing I would do is run checkdisk on the drive in question. Rule out the simplest reasons first.

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This happens consistently to me in Windows 7 after waking up from hibernate. Both "New Folder" and "Rename Folder" bring explorer.exe to a long hang. Eventually comes back, but kills whatever momentum you had. A little dismaying to see this on a brand new W7 laptop.

My workaround: Launch Task Manager Kill explorer.exe. Taskbar will disappear. File -> New Task -> explorer.exe. Taskbar should reappear. Close Task Manager

Problem was immediately cleared. But it'll be back tonight...

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  • its not a thinkpad by any chance is it? – Schneider Jul 12 '10 at 8:16

The solution presented by Scott works perfect.

I am using Windows 7 (64-bit) on Dell Inspiron 1564.

Seems to be an inherent bug in 7.

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