Explorer.exe bug?

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  1. Posts : 58
    Windows 10
       #1

    Explorer.exe bug?


    Windows Version 1903

    I recently had an odd issue with windows explorer.exe specifically.

    I was playing a game and alt-tabbed and noticed that for whatever reason my task bar had stopped working. Restarting the explorer.exe application via the task manager did not fix it, as it seems like it did not, or could not fully load. It loaded into a black screen with only my mouse cursor and the browser window. Mostly speculation as explorer.exe normally takes about 40mb of memory, and after restarting it was about 1.8mb of memory.

    I could not even shut down the computer normally due to a infinite spinning circle while shutting down, and was forced to hard power off. I was however able to restart normally and so far it seems like there's no sign of that same issue again, but i am wondering if anyone knows what even happened?

    I ran sfc/scannow and found no issues, and the event logs don't show anything other than the typical errors associated with unexpected shutdowns.

    The only things i saw on the event logs at the time seem to be a Microsoft edge update and this message "The shell stopped unexpectedly and explorer.exe was restarted."
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  2. Posts : 18,188
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19045.1806 (x64) [22H2]
       #2

    What game was it?

    Some games don't alt+tab nicely. Some games have a different method to switch between the desktop and the game.
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  3. Posts : 58
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Ghot said:
    What game was it?

    Some games don't alt+tab nicely. Some games have a different method to switch between the desktop and the game.
    It was Deus Ex Mankind Divided. I've had explorer.exe bug out due to alt-tabbing and games before, but it's never been in a way where restarting it did not fix it. I've also not had it bug out to the extent where i couldn't shut down normally either.
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  4. Posts : 18,188
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19045.1806 (x64) [22H2]
       #4

    BobLeSaget said:
    It was Deus Ex Mankind Divided. I've had explorer.exe bug out due to alt-tabbing and games before, but it's never been in a way where restarting it did not fix it. I've also not had it bug out to the extent where i couldn't shut down normally either.
    Quick Google says: try Win + D ...instead.



    /edit Usually when you have an alt+tab issue with a game, you should try a different game that alt + tab works in. That will tell you if it's a Win 10 problem or an issue in the game you have the problem with.
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  5. Posts : 58
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Ghot said:
    Quick Google says: try Win + D ...instead.



    /edit Usually when you have an alt+tab issue with a game, you should try a different game that alt + tab works in. That will tell you if it's a Win 10 problem or an issue with the game you have the problem with.
    It's not a consistent issue though, i've had about 40 hours in this game and this issue has only shown up once. Honestly i wouldn't even call it an alt-tab issue for certain because if it weren't for the fact that i did alt-tab i wouldn't even have know that windows explorer had bugged out.
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  6. Posts : 18,188
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19045.1806 (x64) [22H2]
       #6

    BobLeSaget said:
    It's not a consistent issue though, i've had about 40 hours in this game and this issue has only shown up once. Honestly i wouldn't even call it an alt-tab issue for certain because if it weren't for the fact that i did alt-tab i wouldn't even have know that windows explorer had bugged out.
    Here's what I googled: Deus Ex Mankind Divided - alt+tab issues?

    There seems to be a lot of work arounds. I even saw one that had the exact problem you did. Alt+tab to black screen.

    Some say run the game in windowed mode to avoid this issue, one says use Win+D, one response lists about 10 games that have similar issues.

    The point here is... you are troubleshooting a problem. To test to see if Windows is behaving normally, try a diff game that you KNOW alt+tab works in. I used to test with Diablo II because I KNEW it alt+tabbed perfectly every time.

    If D2 still alt+tabbed OK, then I knew the issue wasn't with Windows. I also knew that the issue had to be with the other game (w/e it happened to be).
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  7. Posts : 58
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Ghot said:
    Here's what I googled: Deus Ex Mankind Divided - alt+tab issues?

    There seems to be a lot of work arounds. I even saw one that had the exact problem you did. Alt+tab to black screen.

    Some say run the game in windowed mode to avoid this issue, one says use Win+D, one response lists about 10 games that have similar issues.

    The point here is... you are troubleshooting a problem. To test to see if Windows is behaving normally, try a diff game that you KNOW alt+tab works in. I used to test with Diablo II because I KNEW it alt+tabbed perfectly every time.

    If D2 still alt+tabbed OK, then I knew the issue wasn't with Windows. I also knew that the issue had to be with the other game (w/e it happened to be).
    I didn't exactly alt-tab to black screen though. I alt-tabbed to a unresponsive explorer.exe, and restarting explorer.exe led to a black screen.

    I can however say for a fact that i've not had this same issue, alt-tabbing in other games though, and i do tend to alt-tab a lot, but at the same time this has been the first possibly alt-tab related issue with DXMD. It's just hard to pinpoint a cause with a sample size of 1.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has heard of such an odd issue because otherwise i can just keep alt-tabbing this game over and over to see what happens. If nothing does, i feel like i won't really get a conclusive answer to whether or not it's a one off issue or not.

    Looking around the only thing i've gotten is the possibility of a massive memory leak, but it's not one that's show by task manager usage or fixed by closing the game.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 18,188
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19045.1806 (x64) [22H2]
       #8

    I'd say, that with alt+tab issues, it's gonna be the game itself most of the time.

    You can also open a command prompt as admin and run: sfc /scannow ..and see if it turns up any errors.
    But I'd bet money it's gonna be the game causing the problem.
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 1,867
    Windows 10 Pro 2004 20H1
       #9

    @BobLeSaget,

    You might just try the troubleshooting steps that @Ghot provided.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 58
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Ghot said:
    I'd say, that with alt+tab issues, it's gonna be the game itself most of the time.

    You can also open a command prompt as admin and run: sfc /scannow ..and see if it turns up any errors.
    But I'd bet money it's gonna be the game causing the problem.

    I ran SFC and DISM after restarting when the issue came up and both showed no errors. It very well might be the game. I've had so many weird PC issues in the past that ended up as hardware issues that i'm a bit paranoid about every little thing.

    Guess maybe a today i learn games can mess up windows explorer. I've always figured it had to be a hardware/driver/windows issue that would cause that.

    For safe measure i ran chkdsk too and that coughed up no errors as well.
      My Computer


 

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