Empty desktop and explorer crash

By | December 3, 2018

Suddenly my desktop became empty. Start menu plus the toolbar with pinned icons, stating time date and etc had gone! However pressing on ALT-TAB keys it is possible to see that applications were still running and switching between them also works. On my desktop computer Windows explorer started to crash every two or three days. Below I explain what was reason of this and how I fixed it. When explorer crashed and all application Windows were minimized the desktop look empty like this:

Empty Desktop

To recover from this empty desktop situation without rebooting you need to start new Windows explorer process. I prefer to do it from command prompt. If you do not have any command prompt window opened, start the new command prompt process. Press Ctrl-Alt-Del keys in the same time, select Task Manager, when Task Manager will be opened, from its “File” menu click on “Run new task”, in opened “Create new task” dialog, type cmd and click on OK button:
Start command prompt
In command prompt window switch to C:\Windows directory, type explorer.exe and press Enter key:
Start explorer from command prompt

Your desktop should return to previous state with icons, toolbar and so on.
Now how to find why the explorer crashed. Open Windows event viewer (from Command Prompt: eventvwr.exe) and find Application log event related for Explorer application:
Windows Event Viewer
The information about the event shows that the problem related to exception with code 0xc0000005 (access denined) and DBRShellExtension.dll:

Faulting application name: explorer.exe, version: 6.3.9600.18231, time stamp: 0x56b8c9f1
Faulting module name: DBRShellExtension.dll_unloaded, version:, time stamp: 0x559bed87
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x0000000000047353
Faulting process id: 0x5e48
Faulting application start time: 0x01d4591314a4599d
Faulting application path: C:\Windows\explorer.exe
Faulting module path: DBRShellExtension.dll
Report Id: 311b1306-c508-11e8-82f7-38b1db9b30bc
Faulting package full name:
Faulting package-relative application ID:

After googling I found that most of the time the crash happens when this dll conflicting with Dell Support Services. I began experimenting with Dell Support Services and after stopping “Dell SupportAssist” the problem with gone – my Explorer is not crashing anymore.
Windows Services
In your case explorer crash may have different origin but looking in event viewer log is the first step what you should start from.

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