Launch a Folder or All Folders as a Separate Process
SUMMARY: To prevent a crash in one Explorer folder from taking down other folders and the Desktop, open folders in a separate process in Windows 7.
Normally when you open folders in Windows 7 via Windows Explorer, the folders are all opened in the same explorer.exe process. While this reduces memory usage, if one folder causes a crash or if Explorer hangs and you have to manually kill the process, all folders will crash and close. Plus, you may lose your desktop icons and the Taskbar. Though this should not normally occur, using many context-menu extensions, memory or hard drive problems, and other issues may cause crashes, and they may occur seemingly-randomly.
Having this all close simultaneously can be a nuisance. Thus you can open folders in a new explorer.exe process on a case-by-case basis (useful if opening a particular folder always causes a crash), or force all folders to open as a new process.
Hold down the Shift key. Right-click a folder and select "Open in new process".
For all newly opened folders
1. Click the "Start" button, type folder options and click the "Folder Options" link that appears.
2. When the "Folder Options" multi-tabbed dialog box appears, click the "View" tab.
3. Underneath "Advanced settings", scroll down and check "Launch folder windows in a separate process".
4. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.