Windows 7 – explorer.exe missing

windows 7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Running Avast antivirus. The machine has been running fine for several months. Last night, I noticed the screen blank, only the mouse was visible. So the Windows shell explorer.exe had crashed. I did Ctrl-Alt-Del > Task Manager > New Task > explorer.exe and it came up for a few second and then crashed again. Rebooted, got the login screen, and within a few seconds explorer crashed again.

After a lot of googling, I came across a tip which said that explorer.exe was missing from c:\windows\system32 but it was present in c:\windows. So simply booting in safe mode, opening a (Run as Administrator) command prompt and copying explorer.exe from c:\windows to c:\windows\system32 and rebooting fixed the problem.

Question: What would cause this to happen? Anyone seen this before? I ran some malware and antivirus scans but nothing came up. Any idea what's going on?


Best Answer

explorer.exe does NOT belong in in c:\windows\system32. It only goes in c:\windows (and c:\windows\syswow64 and a few of the winsxs directories but that's besides the point).

c:\windows is protected against changes by pretty much everything.

So the real question here is why is your system trying to load explorer.exe from the wrong location? My guess is that you have a virus that Avast hasn't detected. You might try checking their support forums.