Windows Explorer Crashes Suddenly When Right-Clicking on a File

Satheesh C B | Sunday, February 01, 2009 | 0 comments

Windows Explorer crashes with the message ’Explorer.exe must be closed‘ whenever a file is right clicked. The desktop restarts and all folder windows that were open earlier are closed. The error started occurring irregularly after the installation of an application that included shell integration.


2-1-2009 6-42-25 PM

A new installation always brings about some changes to the system registry. If the installation involved creation of a command in the context menu, first uninstall the software. Reboot and check if the command is till exists in the context menu. If this is the case, then some registry entries were probably left during the uninstallation. Create a complete system backup and secure the registry as well, for example using the ERUNT freeware, available on the website ( Now delete all objects in Explorer that have any relevance to the application. Next, search for the program and manufacturer name in the manual mode of the 'RegCool' registry editor, available on MajorGeeks. Delete entries you find here—and not anything else. Finally, check whether there is yet  another entry of the software hidden under ’HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\Context MenuHandlers‘. If yes—then delete it.


  • Back up your registry, we will be deleting various registry values one by one until we hit the one that is causing the problem. After we find the bad key we need to restore the others we have deleted.
  • Open up regedit.
  • Browse to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
  • There will be a list of context menu handlers here. Delete them one by one and after deleting each one try to right click on the desktop. When you can finally do so proceed to step 5.
  • Remember which key finally did the trick and using your registry backup bring the registry to how it was before you started deleting context handlers. After that is done delete JUST the one that is causing the problems.
  • If you delete all those values and the right-click still does not work then you need to move on to a different registry section. Repeat the above steps here: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers and here: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers.
  • You might want to uninstall/reinstall the corrupted application.

    Another cause of Windows Explorer crashes  may be due to the existence of viruses or spyware on the machine.You  have to  do  virus &spyware check promptly.


    Shell extensions from third-party software vendors can run in your right-click menu and could be causing the Explorer crash you’re experiencing.Download ShelExView /ShellMenuView., run the application, and disable any non-Microsoft shell extension.  Then, enable 1-by-1 and test your right click on a folder or drive in My Computer or wherever your crash was occurring.  Update or reinstall the culprit and that should resolve the issue.  That’s it!


    Also read


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