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windows explorer/media player error

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I have a really irritating problem (irritating 'cause i've been to various tech forums and sites and can't find any description even close to my problem).

I know I'm evil 'cause i download stuff with bittorrent... and i realize i may not be able to get bittorrent help here, that's fine, it isn't about the P2P sharing. Basically, last wed/thurs or so I was downloading a torrent of The Joy of Painting -- I had already downloaded 2 others, and all the files in the folders were working fine.

I downloaded a third season (season 16), and before opening the folder (goes to my desktop automatically), i dragged it into My Videos. Then when i tried to open the My Videos folder to check it out, I got this error:

Windows Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

I realize that doesn't tell you much, it's a common error. But the screwy thing is that I could not for the life of me open My Videos for longer than a few seconds before the error popped up. So with some fast clicking & dragging, I managed to get the season 16 folder out of my videos and back to the desktop. Trying to open it gave me the same error message. My Videos was still giving me that error message, so I dragged out season 15 (which had worked fine previously) -- and got the same message when trying to open season 15 once it was on the desktop. But with 15 & 16 removed, My Videos navigated fine, and season 18 (the first one i downloaded) was still fine.

So I deleted the 2 folders, and tried downloading again. Same deal.

So I deleted them and tried downloading a couple other random .avis from a few different bittorrent sites, and when trying to play them, got this error in media player:

Windows Media Player has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

So I deleted those files. Then I tried uninstalling bittorrent downloader, didn't help. So I reinstalled the new version, tried downloading various torrents again -- same error messages.

I tried downloading a different bittorrent downloader (uTorrent), and got the same problem with files downloaded with it.

Then today I downloaded a file that I WAS ALLOWED TO DOWNLOAD (ie. not a torrent or anything, it was totally legal to download it), and it gives me the same message in media player.

I've done 3 full scans for viruses using AVG and nothing comes up (viruses or spyware or whatever). I also tried a shell extensions manager on the recommendation of another site (but that was for ALL folders giving you the windows explorer message), but nothing seems out of place/wrong -- as best as I can tell. And I downloaded System Task Manager to check out what's running in the background, but nothing looks suspicious.

All my other folders navigate fine, just nothing that I've downloaded since last wed/thurs, and no folder that contains files/folders i've downloaded since then.

The only other thing I can think of is I also downloaded AcroChallenge around the same time (can't recall if it was before or after the problem started), but that seems a little silly to me -- it's a free chat room/game, why would it screw things up? I haven't tried uninstalling it yet, but may do so tonight. I'm not holding my breath.

Any idea, anyone, PLEEEEASE, as to what's going on here? Do I need another virus scanner? Is there a hidden file I can look for in windows folders? Has anyone at least HEARD of this problem? Do I need to get someone to come look at my computer (or take it in)? Even if I cease to ever use bittorrents again, I can't seem to download ANY videos now -- well, i can download them, just not run them.

I am ready to shoot myself or my computer, I'm so frustrated.
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Hi lirpa77...

Have you tried a system restore to a date before the problem began? That would seem a logical starting point. Give that a try and let us know if it helps the problem. And...P2P is NOT a good idea...

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actually, my bf's gonna help me clear the harddrive and re-install everything (after splitting the harddrive? he knows what he's talkin about, i don't)... he swears by doing it every few months. hopefully that'll solve the problem... but thx! (system restore would be much easier & quicker, that's for sure...)
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