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How to Run Windows NT Explorer As a Separate Process

This article was previously published under Q156366
By default, the Windows NT 4.0 Desktop, Taskbar, and Explorer run in asingle process using multiple threads. If you modify the registry, enablingthe DesktopProcess entry, the Taskbar and Desktop will run in one processwith each instance of Explorer in a separate process. Each new instance ofExplorer.exe will use its own thread. The setting can be verified when twoinstances of Explorer.exe are visible using Pviewer.exe from the Windows NT4.0 Resource Kit or the Process tab of the Windows NT 4.0 Task Manager.
This configuration is enabled on a per-user basis by modifying the registryas follows:

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems thatmay require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannotguarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editorcan be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys AndValues" online Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add andDelete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" online Helptopics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry beforeyou edit it.
  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER subtree, go to the following subkey:
  3. Create a new value called DesktopProcess (REG_DWORD) with the data field set to 1.

    Valid entries are 0 and 1; 0 is the default.
  4. Quit Registry Editor.
This entry will allow access to the taskbar and desktop when Explorerbecomes unresponsive.

NOTE: This setting should only be enabled on Pentium-based computers withmore than 16 MB of RAM.

NOTE: Use default settings if you encounter shell problems.

If you encounter problems after you install Internet Explorer version 4.0or 4.01, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 181562
TITLE : Problems Opening or Exploring Folders in Internet Explorer

Article ID: 156366 - Last Review: 11/01/2006 04:39:41 - Revision: 1.1

  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • kbhowto KB156366