Windows XP was throwing its toys whenever I right clicked a file or tried to delete a file with the delete key. More specifically it was throwing the errors: “Dr Watson Postmortem debugger” and “Data Execution Prevention”. I scanned my disk for physical errors, found some bad sectors and fixed them, but this didn’t help anything. I also excluded malware from the mix by running a full Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware scan and found nothing. I was coming to terms with the sad prospect of a full re-install.
But then I thought "what if one of the multiple software extensions that insist on installing themselves into my right click context menu were breaking something?" I found this little tool, ShellExView that specialises in removing shell extensions.
I disabled all the extensions that were not manufactured by Microsoft and bam, instant Fix! So easy, I didn’t even need to reboot! I could right click and delete files again.
As an unexpected side bonus, my computer will finally hibernate again. Before, Windows XP would start “preparing to hibernate” but would then jump back to the desktop no matter what fix I tried to implement. I had disabled drivers, deleted the hibernation file and all sorts of other things I can’t remember - I had given up, but it seems that the real issue was hiding somewhere in the shell.
I have no idea which right click extension was causing the problem but I’m much happier with just the Microsoft defaults and my PC is running much faster now too!