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Solved: Explorer tree display curiosity, AKA Odd Windows Explorer Bug

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by abjamison, Mar 5, 2007.

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  1. abjamison

    abjamison Thread Starter

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    I have an odd bug cropping up on multiple machines lately with XP Pro SP2. I've yet to find any other instances on the net, but I'm not exactly sure of what to search for. I open Windows Explorer and leave it open. If anything happens on the Desktop (say a file is deleted, created, name changed, anything) the Windows Explorer will list Multiple "Desktops" at the top of the list on the left pane.

    Now these "Desktops" are actual folders that exist on my Desktop and I can click on them and see the contents of each folder, and in the address bar the real folder name is shown, but for some reason Windows Explorer displays them as "Desktop" instead of the real folder name in the left pane.

    Also when this happens I can no longer navigate the folder tree properly. Plus signs to expand a tree no longer work, when I double click on a subfolder to open it, it doesn't refresh the left pane. I can close out Windows Explorer and reopen and all is well again until the next change. This is a very very frustrating bug and even happens on clean installs. Has anyone else had experience with this bug or have any clues what might be causing it? Thanks

    BTW, this clean install was using nLite to slipstream SP2 and automate the install. The only other options I used was disabling services that I always disable anyway such as the firewall, indexing, etc...
     
  2. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    The description is not quite like anything I've heard before. But this command can sometimes fix similar issues.

    Start > run: regsvr32 /i shell32.dll
     
  3. abjamison

    abjamison Thread Starter

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    I tried that command, but it didn't help.

    Heres a screenshot to show what I'm talking about.
    hxxp://abjamison.com/screenshot.jpg
     
  4. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Never seen anything like it before -- but since the desktop is a part of a specific User Profile -- I'm wondering whether you see this in other User Accounts. You can create one for test purposes or enable the Guest account.

    You should also test in Safe Mode using the built-in Administrator account rather than your normal one.

    If it is account specific -- then I would have to say the profile itself is damaged.

    Also, since you say this problem is occuring on multiple machines -- if they are networked, try removing one from the network and see if you still have the problem. Something may be awry there.

    Also have you installed anything on these machines that affects the Windows/Explorer shell -- such as Stardock Windows Blinds or any virtualization software?
     
  5. NickKi

    NickKi

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    Hi all,

    I came here from annoyances.org forum. I was posting there with the same problem.

    I will try your suggestions too. And if you want to compare anything, since you have two machines with the same problem, I will be here to provide any info.

    Want to mention something here I found during my searches for a fix.
    There is bug officially aknowledged my Microsoft, and it has something in common with our problem. The bug does not allow to refresh the tree view of the left pane in WE.
    It was suppose to be fixed with SP2, but who knows...
    Here is the link http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=823291
    One difference is that F5 does not work.
    So, if it produces any new ideas, let us know.
     
  6. abjamison

    abjamison Thread Starter

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    The machines are networked from time to time, one is my laptop the other is my main desktop, but they are rarely on the same network. I doubt it's an issue there.

    I don't use any type of desktop altering software, the only thing in that respect is that I do use a "Royal Noir" theme that works without the use of window blinds etc...

    Also no virtualization on this machine.

    However it started before I had switched over to that theme so I'm going to rule that out.

    I use my admin account by default, I know it's not advisable, but I do it anyway and that's not going to change. I like full control :)

    I will try to run for awhile in safe mode and I've created a Test account to see if it will do it as well. I will respond with the results as soon as I'm confident of the outcome.

    Note I reread my description above and it makes it sound like the bug happens every single time the instant a desktop change occurs. That isn't always the case. Sometimes I can do several changes to files/folders on the desktop before the bug shows up, sometimes it's the very first change I make.

    Thanks for the help thusfar.
     
  7. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    I think I may have a clue to the problem based on your screenshot.

    I notice that these "desktops" are really appearing under icons associated with other locations -- such as My Computer, Recycle Bin, possibly "shared documents", etc.

    These locations all have CLSIDs associated with them (Class IDs) in the registry. The location where the registry stores these values for the most part is:

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID

    There is a list of common CLSID's on this page:

    http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/windowsxp/articles/565/1/Windows-XP-FAQ-I

    I would compare what you have in that key with the CLSIds for the icons you see there with a system that does not exhibit the problem -- for example here is a screenshot of My Computer and for Desktop
     

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  8. abjamison

    abjamison Thread Starter

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    Yeah the "Desktops" are actual folders on the desktop as well as the Recycle Bin, My Network Places, etc... and when you click on them their icons are correct and the address bar reflects the correct name, ie the "Desktop" recycle bin will actually say "Recycle Bin" in the address bar.

    The screenshot I have uploaded doesn't reflect standard folders because I got a bit ticked and removed everything but My Computer, Recycle Bin etc... heh


    http://abjamison.com/Problem/clsid1.jpg
    http://abjamison.com/Problem/clsid2.jpg

    edit:

    I'll go through and compare these to a second machine as soon as I get one up and running that doesn't exibit the problem. It will be a sp1 install though.
     
  9. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    I've exported them as text files which should be readable; .reg files sometimes are not.
     

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  10. abjamison

    abjamison Thread Starter

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    Most of those matched exactly. The "My Computer" I have has a few more commands such as "Device Manager" and "Services". I don't see those causing the problems, but my knowledge of this part of the registry is limited.
     
  11. blkwlnt64

    blkwlnt64

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    Hi abjamison, I went back to post #3 and when I correct the spelling of the url what I see in the screenshot leads to believe this is happening in 'MS Internet Explorer' not in 'Windows Explorer' . Is that correct ?
     
  12. abjamison

    abjamison Thread Starter

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    No it's happening in Windows Explorer. I see the Internet Explorer at the top of the window, but I assumed that's because they are basically the same thing, you can use Windows Explorer to view websites just like IE.

    Just to elaborate the command I am running to get to that window in the screenshot is

    explorer /e
     
  13. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Another registry location to look at for irregularities is the "namespace" key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace

    I have a clean desktop and these are all entries you would see with NOTHING on the desktop itself.
     

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  14. abjamison

    abjamison Thread Starter

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  15. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    Yeah that's one that Microsoft Office "one note" put there after a recent update -- it has no visible presence on the desktop.

    I'm running out of ideas, but here is one more, in regedit navigate to:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

    and HKLM for the same location (here it will go through the "All Users" directory.

    See if "desktop" is pointing to the right location -- eg:

    C:\Documents and Settings\Rollin' Rog\Desktop
     
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