Solve Explorer crashes with photos and videos in folders

Stop Explorer crashing when you open folders with photos and videos

Broken Windows

There is or was a serious flaw in Windows Explorer that causes it to crash when trying to open a folder that contains certain videos and photos files. If this is happening on your computer, here are some solutions.

This happened to me a while back and it may have been fixed in the latest updates to Windows 10 because Explorer has not crashed recently. Not everyone has upgraded to Windows 10 yet and some people do not want to, they want to keep running their current version of Windows and 7 is as popular as ever. Some people are sticking with Windows 8 because their computer doesn’t work well with Windows 10.

It does not matter which version of Windows you have, the solution to Explorer crashing is the same.

The cause appears to be, at least in my case, video clips created on mobile phones which are then transferred to the PC. They could be from an iPhone or an Android phone. It is possible that photos might also trigger a crash, too.

1 Update Windows

You could upgrade to Windows 10 if you are running an older version of the operating system. You should also fetch all the latest updates too. This may fix the problem on its own.

Windows 10: Hold down the Windows key and press I to open Settings. Click Update & security and Windows Update is automatically selected on the left. Click Check for updates. Windows 7: Open the Control Panel and in small icons view, click Windows Update. Check for updates.

 Windows Update

2 Move the files

Windows conveniently stores photos in the Pictures folder and videos in the Videos folder. However, if these constantly crash Explorer when you open them, they are useless. The solution is to move the problem files out of the folder and put them elsewhere. At least you will be able to use the system folders again.

Create another folder elsewhere, such as in the root of the disk drive, like C:\MyPics.

Hold down the Windows key and press R to open the Run box, then enter cmd and press Enter. This opens a command prompt window. To change to the Pictures folder, enter:

cd \users\yourname\pictures

or to change to the Videos folder, enter:

cd \users\yourname\videos.

You can move files to another folder like this:

move . c:\mypics

To move just videos, use:

move *.mov c:\mypics
move *.mp4 c:\mypics

It is usually .mov or .mp4 videos that cause the problem, so moving just those might be sufficient.

3 Set List view

Explorer crashing may be caused by trying to open files in order to create thumbnail images, particularly with videos. If thumbnails are not required then crashed might be avoided.

Open the Downloads folder. Right click in an empty space and select View, List.

Windows 10: click View, Options. Widows 7: Tap the Alt key to show the menu, then select Tools, Folder options.

Select the View tab and click the button at the top, Apply to folders.

 Windows Explorer settings

If you still have problems opening the folders with photos or videos, right click the folder and select Properties on the menu. Select the Customize tab and then select General Items under Optimize this folder for. Tick Also apply this template to all subfolders.

 Customise Explorer views

4 Use an alternative to Explorer

There are several alternative programs to Explorer and using one of these will enable you to get into the troublesome folder that crashes Explorer and move, delete or rename the offending files. Changing the file extension by adding .xyz to the end will stop Explorer crashing.

Double Commander is a free open source alternative to Explorer and it uses a dual-pane view so you can see two folders side by side. Files can folders can easily be moved from one side to the other.

FreeCommander is also free. It works in a similar way and there is a dual pane view showing two folders at once, which is perfect for comparing them or moving files.

 FreeCommander for Windows

Q-Dir goes one step further and it can show up to for different folders at once. It is free too.

Avoid thumbnails or details views with these programs and only use List view as a precaution.


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