Windows 7 – Windows Explorer stopped working

Wow, this was a fun problem. An Acer all-in-one computer, everything was great except for this annoying bug, everytime you copied a file (drag and drop, copy and paste, whatever) Windows explorer puts up the “Windows Explorer has stopped working” message. Tried all the standard stuuff, SFC /scannow, virus and malware removal, chkdsk all to no avail. Looked at the drivers, all looked good, but when I tried to update the drivers for the NVVIDIA GT 204M card it failed. Started the machine up on Ubuntu 14.04, and the graphics card just did not do its job. In Ubuntu 9.10 it was fine. It looked a bit like the video card was not 100%. On the web there are stories of incorrect video drivers causing this issue, so it sounded related.

I investigated the cost of a new card, and including shipping, fitting and GST the customer was up for about NZ$450.

As a last resort, I did a Repair Upgrade of Windows 7 Home Premium. This worked fine, and lo and behold, the drag and drop was working fine again! So I fixed the windows 7 update issue, and started rolling forward all the windows 7 updates, about 220 of them! At the end of it all, the problem was back!

OK, use the restore function to go back to the last check point, and everything works again. Only one thing for it, find out which update is causing the issue. I decided the problem was probably with the 80 or so “Updates for Windows 7 …” rather than the security updates or the .NET updates, so I did a binary chop installing half of what was left each time. Of course the issue was in the last 4, then the last 2, until I finally determined it was update KB3184143, not KB3182203 (an update to allow for a summer time change in Novosibirsk in Russia).

KB3184143 turns out to be the update to remove all the Windows 10 upgrade stuff, all that nagging reminders agro and nasty software that attempted to install Windows 10 even when you didn’t want it! As this was a clean install (well a refresh anyway) none of this software was present, so it sulked for a bit and stopped Windows Explorer working. After uninstalling, I hid the update, and carried on with the rest of the updates. It was probably related to the video card issue, as Windows 10 can struggle with video cards, but it is much too hard for me.

Posted in Computer Stuff

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