“What does not kill me, makes me stronger” is credited to Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th Century German philosopher. A little known fact is Nietzsche was an early adopter of Windows Vista, and came up with his saying while trying to find the bright side of dealing with Vista’s many “challenges.”
If Nietzsche’s saying is true, I’ve certainly gotten stronger lately battling with ATI Vista video drivers that are as stable as Charles Manson on crack. However, my most recent challenge concerned Windows Explorer itself. And based on my Google search, it’s a common problem. So it could happen to you. And perhaps with OS versions other than Vista.
The latest challenge occurred when I right-clicked a file in Windows Explorer to display a shortcut menu from which I could choose to move, copy or rename the file. Windows Explorer, and the system generally, just hung.
A quick Google search confirmed I was not alone. The excellent WindowsXP MVP article Right-click is slow or weird behavior caused by context menu handlers explained the issue:
“These problems are caused by a bad context menu handler. A context menu handler is a shell extension handler that adds commands to an existing context menu (Example: cut, copy, paste, print, Scan with Norton etc). A poorly coded context menu handler may be causing any of the above symptoms.”
The WindowsXP MVP article suggested two methods of solving this problem. The first concerns mucking around in the registry. The second is to download, install and run the excellent freeware tool ShellExView. Being lazy, I chose the second method.
However, even with ShellExView, trial and error is required to pinpoint the problem. You disable various context menu handlers, either one at a time or using a “divide and conquer” approach, until the problem goes away. In my case, a SnagIt context menu handler appears to be the culprit.
I thought I should share this with you since this problem appears to come up a lot.