Control Panel crashes Explorer
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Thread: Control Panel crashes Explorer

  1. #1
    AO Senior Cow-beller
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    Control Panel crashes Explorer

    Now, I've seen a lot of attempts at 'security' that were actually 'obscurity'...but this one takes the cake.

    I have inherited a notebook running XPpro SP2 in an AD Domain environment. The analyst who used it was fairly savvyy (or found a great How-To), because he had XP on hda1 and Fedora2 on hda5 (and 6, 7, 8, etc.). Now, when it first booted, you got the FC2 Grub loader screen asking if you wanted the default FC2 kernel, a newer one he had YUM'd into place, or Windows XP (hda1). No huge deal, been there/done that (I prefer to let NTLDR handle the boot management, but that's another topic.)

    What is unique, and I'll grudgingly admit kinda *cool*, is you could boot this XP partition, or you could boot Fedora, fireup VMWare on the Gnome desktop and launch a virtual XP instance from the hda1 partition!!! Maybe I'm behind the times with VMWare, but when I was playing with it, that wasn't really possible. It wanted its own file on the local filesystem to "install" the guest OS to.

    But I digress...while this gimmick with VMWare was pretty novel, it wore off. I'm left with a buggy XP system. The Explorer desktop (not IE...talking Explorer. Start Button, Task Bar, Systray, dekstop icons, etc. The Exporer Shell for M$) crashes each and every time you try to get to the control panel. I've clicked it in various iterations of the Start button config (new and classic config), I've tried to reach it in the system tree broken out from My Computer (which starts at Desktop, has My Computer, etc.

    No matter what, where, why, or how...when I access control panel, Explorer crashes, and *when* it recovers, I'm back to a clean desktop (plus any other windows/process that were running, such as Firefox, CP SmartDashboard, etc.)

    Normally, I would cut bait, save my data, and format/reinstall. However, there are a few app's we'd like to recover the S/N from (eEye Ret. Scanner 5, for example) that we *must* run the Add/Remove Programs BS wizard to get the license key to be released.

    I am a member of the local Administrators Group, and my Domain User and the Laptop have no GPO's restricting my use of Control Panel or other various channels of access restriction. I 'own' this box, from an AD perspective.

    Do any of you MS gurus know how I can either get to the Add/Remove Programs Wizard/Selection list interface without launching it from Control Panel? Or, do you know how I could *fix* the control panel so it doesn't crash and take Explorer with it?
    "Data is not necessarily information. Information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. And knowledge is not always sufficient to discover truth and breed wisdom." --Spaf
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made president should on no account be allowed to do the job. --Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
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  2. #2
    AO Senior Cow-beller
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    Oh...I've also tried prayer. No luck. :P
    "Data is not necessarily information. Information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. And knowledge is not always sufficient to discover truth and breed wisdom." --Spaf
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made president should on no account be allowed to do the job. --Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
    "...people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right." - Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
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  3. #3
    AO Decepticon CXGJarrod's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by zencoder Do any of you MS gurus know how I can either get to the Add/Remove Programs Wizard/Selection list interface without launching it from Control Panel? Or, do you know how I could *fix* the control panel so it doesn't crash and take Explorer with it?

    Oh...I've also tried prayer. No luck. :P
    You have a dos prompt right? If I am understanding you correctly you browse into the Control Panel folder and it crashes.

    From the command prompt:

    cd: c:\winnt\system32
    appwiz.cpl

    That should bring up the Add/Remove Programs Wizard without browsing in the Control Panel folder. Worked on my 2k machine here.

    If you meant something else, tell me and ill try to help you figure something out.

    Prayer is also a good solution.
    N00b> STFU i r teh 1337 (english: You must be mistaken, good sir or madam. I believe myself to be quite a good player. On an unrelated matter, I also apparently enjoy math.)
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  4. #4
    AO Senior Cow-beller
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    Home Run! Worked on the first try. That was exactly what I needed...dude, I've launched every stinkin' MMC module I can find...NONE OF THEM are this 'appwiz'.

    Thanks again.
    "Data is not necessarily information. Information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. And knowledge is not always sufficient to discover truth and breed wisdom." --Spaf
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made president should on no account be allowed to do the job. --Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
    "...people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right." - Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
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  5. #5
    Senior Member treanglin's Avatar
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    If you are interested for future reference here are a list of some the other control panel programs
    just type control followed by the <command>.cpl

    //Control panel program //Command

    Accessibility Options- control access.cpl

    Add New Hardware- control sysdm.cpl add new hardware

    Add/Remove Programs- control appwiz.cpl

    Date/Time Properties- control timedate.cpl

    Display Properties- control desk.cpl

    FindFast- control findfast.cpl

    Fonts Folder- control fonts

    Internet Properties -control inetcpl.cpl

    Joystick Properties -control joy.cpl

    Keyboard Properties- control main.cpl keyboard

    Microsoft Exchange- control mlcfg32.cpl

    (or Windows Messaging)

    Microsoft Mail Post Office -control wgpocpl.cpl

    Modem Properties- control modem.cpl

    Mouse Properties- control main.cpl

    Multimedia Properties- control mmsys.cpl

    Network Properties- control netcpl.cpl

    Printers Folder- control printers

    Regional Settings- control intl.cpl

    Scanners and Cameras -control sticpl.cpl

    Sound Properties- control mmsys.cpl sounds

    System Properties -control sysdm.cpl
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  6. #6
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    Similar Problem - unsolved

    Gentlemen,

    I have a similar problem on Windows ME. Pretty standard computer - no specials like Zen had. At first the control panel simply opened up empty, notwithstanding 32 Items announced bottom left. Then I couldn't explore C either (D, I could...). I found Tweak through Search and tried allsorts - the problem just worsened - finally each time crashing explorer to the blank panel like with Zen above. However, in safe mode I got to the icons OK. Virus scanning turned up nothing.

    As it wasn't my main comp. I reinstalled the ME. Actually all the settings remained OK. I immediately explored C and saw the icons! Fixed it I thought. Now after a deap breath I explored Control Panel but still got the crash...

    Must be a virus I thought - did another deep scan - found nothing.

    Since in safe mode the icons are visible I guess it must be one of the startup progs screwing things up. Every now and then just after Windows startup a message titled "Indicator" comes up saying "Application is already running". This was also not fixed by the WIndows reload. I have no idea what causes it.

    Now the workarounds above are very useful but is there really no way I can get the Control Panel to behave normally again?

    Thanks for your time,

    Billovitch.
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  7. #7
    Now this may or may not help, but a while ago I had a 133Mhz comp with windows 98(Seven year old comp XD ). The weird thing was if you misconfigure some of your system .ini's then control panel would crash it. For everyone having problems with the control panel, ensure that your system files are not corrupt and run some sort of registry checker. (Check the d/ls section of this site for some good ones.) Thats what i did to solve my problem! Hope it helps!
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  8. #8
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    Thanks Locked,

    I will give that a go.

    Meantime I discovered a strange thing - if I look in My Computer the control panel is labeled:

    "Displays the contents of your computer" as you would expect.

    When I get the mouse arrow near to it it changes to:

    "Customises the appearance of your desktop and configures your computer".

    Is this the normal behaviour?

    Anyway I moved the cpl files out of System into a Temp folder on the desktop (following some advice on the Windows site, where they reckon it could be caused by a corrupt cpl file).

    Then the idea is you move them back in one by one and if neccessary replace the bad one from your install disk. Soo...

    When the time came to move them back only 16 of them would go - the rest had a stop sign on and wouldn't be put back. Looks like I will have to replace them all from the disk - long night of unzipping and labelling ahead...

    Best wishes,

    Billovitch
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  9. #9
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    The control panel message is normal.

    as far as the rest.... ...best of luck to ya
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  10. #10
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    Thumbs up Alleluja!

    Thanks for that Illi.

    Well, itīs fixed!

    What I was doing wrong was trying to replace the removed cpl files directly from my Temp file into the Control Panel.

    After a night`s sleep I realized they have to go back into the System file. I did this and now the control panel opens up properly and displays the icons.

    One small point though - it shows 24 items instead of 32 in the summary label bottom left.

    I guess this moving out and moving back sorted the wheat from the chaff.

    Thanks for the assistance all.

    Billovitch
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