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I am running MS Win XP SP2 on a Dell GX745 Intel Core 2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40 GHz with 2 GB ram.

Starting this afternoon I have had a problem that when I right click on the start button, or on a file in a folder, explorer.exe hangs. I can end process on it, then run explorer.exe and it comes back and works fine. Except for the right clicking. This has also started affecting Outlook as I can not right click on a email and print.

I have tried restoring to a previous point twice, first time yesterday, 2nd time Monday. I have ran IOBit Advanced Windows Care as well as CCcleaner. Spy sweeper did not find anything, and neither did AVG free.

Someone please help as this is driving me bonkers!
 

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Hi tdawgnok and welcome to TSF !

That could happen if there's a problem with one of the programs that's integrated in the shell (meaning a corresponding action appears in the right-click menu).

Do you remember installing anything new before the problem started ?

Go to start => run and type eventvwr.msc. See if there are errors happening when explorer.exe crashes in the application or system subsections. Double-click the error, click on the third button on the right (this copies the information in the memory) then right-click => paste it here. See if the error messages mention a given driver, dll or .exe file (other that explorer.exe).

Repeatedly press F8 at startup and choose safe mode in the menu that will appear. See if the problem also happens there. If it doesn't happen in safe mode then restart in normal mode. Go to start => run and type msconfig. The program that manages the right-click item that causes explorer to crash should be listed under the startup tab. Use BleepingComputer's startup item database to know what each item does and try unticking the ones related to programs you don't need or installed recently.

You can also use Autoruns by Sysinternals. Go to the explorer tab and look at the items listed under HKLM\...\ContextMenuHandlers

Alternatively you can use Nirsoft's ShellMenuView to manage the right-click context menu :
http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shell_menu_view.html
See what programs are associated to the folder or directory file types and deactivate some of them.

If nothing of the above helped then go to start => run and type chkdsk c: /R. You'll be prompted to restart the computer. Wait for the scan to finish (will take some time) and tell us about the results.
 
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