My true calling in life was apparently to be a bug tester
August 30, 2013 2:34 PM   Subscribe

So, I just bought a new computer! It's shiny and powerful and it smells good and I ❤ it. But it has Windows 8. I have some philosophical disagreements with Windows 8 (the short version: I don't like the trend of making computers more like locked down, spy-on-you-y Consumer Electronics Devices a la smartphones) but I'm more or less happy with it. Except, oh wait, right clicking anything makes Explorer crash. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE, INNOVATIVE AND TERRIBLY USEFUL FEATURE! Please help me help my new electric dream not do that anymore.

Snark aside, I'm really obviously frustrated with this. An OS that relies so much on right clicking that won't let me right click anything pretty much renders my Shiny New Computer a brick. I'd rather not have a brick.

Google research tells me this is a known issue caused by donked up shell extensions, and that if I poke around ShellExView disabling non-essential things, I'll find the culprit. I did that, and I didn't make any progress at all. I tried disabling non-Microsoft extensions one by one, then disabling all non-Microsoft extensions in one go, and neither approach made any difference at all. Explorer is still freezing to crash whenever I try to right click anything. I can't find any other useful information about this online (of course) and I'm back to square one.

So this is a two parter. Any help at all on this specific issue would be just lovely, but I'm throwing this here mostly because I run into these totally obscure, baffling errors that seem to have absolutely no solution whatsoever all the freaking time. I am really honestly (almost) truly convinced I have some innate moral/spiritual alignment that naturally opposes modern computers and complex technology. I would like advice on how...not to continually accidentally break everything through innocuous basic use. I do try to keep an up to date antivirus suite going, I do try to scrub spyware/malware, I do try to manage storage and memory and run periodic defrags, etc. I don't think I'm a totally negligent computer user, but I always stumble over these cracks that no one else ever even sees and I'm a bit sick of it.

Any not-obvious advice about general computer maintenance as a basic user as well as specific advice on this particular issue is welcome here. I really want a system that more or less just works without constantly needing to mess around with gears and dials and knobs that I don't completely understand.
posted by byanyothername to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Windows 8 disk image download, enter your key on that MS page that article links. format the hard drive and do a clean install.

I never ever ever do this kind of screwing around with a new system. Clean install, and if it comes back raise hell with the manufacturer under the assumption that something is jacked up with the hardware. And if it isn't jacked up with the hardware, it's jacked up with your hardware/software combination.

If you end up with a new system that exhibits the same issues, demand a different model.

As a response to your greater philosophical question, people on both sides of the fence would probably argue with this... but i think it's entirely luck. I know people who aren't abusive to their stuff who have systems die perpetually. I also know spazzes who end up having the same laptop/phone with some minor crack in the case for 3/4/5 years.

You're simply pulling the arm on the slot machine and getting bad results. It's entirely chance. It sucks, but i've been stuck in grooves like that. I killed 3 desktops in a row this year. THREE! the motherboards "mysteriously" exploded every time. And don't even get me started on my defective macbook saga from college(i think the freaking thing was in the service department like 9 times before they finally gave me a ton of store credit), or how many iphone 4's i went through.
posted by emptythought at 2:44 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

If it's pretty new, there shouldn't be too many problems with just resetting to factory defaults, should there? And if that doesn't work, presumably you're within even the shortest warranty period.
posted by Errant at 4:48 PM on August 30, 2013

Response by poster: Update!

The entire issue seems to have resolved itself with a Windows update that happened while I was napping this afternoon. So, I guess that's good! I'm left with no clue what went wrong, but it's back to working order without needing to do a fresh install. So. Yay for that!
posted by byanyothername at 10:31 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

So - wow, I thought I was the only one on the planet fighting this uphill battle...

Right-clicking would crash things. Often, Internet Explorer would just stop responding to mouse-clicks and/or key-strokes...

And then, one day nearly ALL of my tiles disappeared.

Figured it must have been a shell extension (I use > WinMerge, 7-Zip, VLC and one or two other free/open-source utilities) and went nuts disabling things. Some of my tiles re-appeared...

System became a tiny bit more usable. Next, I disabled the "allow windows to turn this device off to save power" setting for my bluetooth radio (bluetooth mouse) and things got a lot better. (Perhaps Win8 is more aggressive about power management?)

Then, last week - a round of updates and more of my tiles re-appeared...

Am still not happy with things... going to have to do a fresh install...
posted by jkaczor at 11:07 PM on September 1, 2013

Might be worthwhile to try a live disc of Ubuntu or Linux Mint. They're very user-friendly, much less intrusive and locked down than Windows, and (especially with Mint) aren't trying to continually force whole new ways of using the same old things.
posted by jiawen at 2:58 PM on September 2, 2013

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