Windows File Explorer Crashes When Working With Certain ARCHICAD Files – Troubleshooting Guide

by Emőke Csikós · updated: 09.26.2015

1. Windows File Explorer may unexpectedly close when you work with certain ARCHICAD files.

This happens on computers where

  • ARCHICAD 18 build 6000 or ARCHICAD 19 build 3003 is the latest version installed and
  • GRAPHISOFT Shell Extension is active. (It is automatically activated with installation).

The crash of the File Explorer can happen during these processes:

  • copying certain files to Desktop, some other local folder or to a USB drive
  • viewing Properties of some files by right clicking on them and selecting Properties in the context menu
  • placing the cursor of the mouse over the icon of certain files so a pop-up window appears showing version number.

 

2. As a result of the File Explorer’s crash the file that was copied to a new location may get damaged.

When opening such a file in ARCHICAD “Cannot read plan file!” message appears. In the cases we have seen these files were not repairable any more, however the files at the original location from where they were copied were still readable and useable in ARCHICAD. So it is crucial not to delete the original file.

Operations with the damaged file in File Explorer then cause the same kind of crash as described above.

 

3. Perfectly healthy files may get damaged if the process when they are copied is interrupted by the above described crash of the File Explorer.

Normally the copy process of such a healthy file will not crash File Explorer. It only happens if during the copying – which is relatively slow because it is a large file, or is copied to a USB drive or is copied through a slow network connection – GS Shell Extension is started by one of these actions:

  • a pop-up showing version number displays after mouse is hovering over the file name of another, damaged file or a useable file that can itself cause this crash. It doesn’t matter if it is a filename or icon that the mouse is moving over.
  • “Properties” window is requested by right clicking on the file name or icon of another, damaged file (or a useable file that can itself cause this crash)
  • The copying of another, damaged file (or a useable file that can itself cause this crash) is started.

 

4. After Windows File Explorer’s crash it might get into a circle of continuously trying to restart and then stop working.

This can result in serious problems regarding the usability of the computer. This only happens on Windows 7.

 

Cause

When ARCHICAD is installed on a computer GRAPHISOFT Shell Extension (GSShellx64.dll) is registered with the file browser to provide information about ARCHICAD files (.pln, .pla, etc.) for showing it on the File Browser user interface. During this process GSShellx64.dll will communicate with another file called GSroot.dll. Some plan files contain information that these dlls cannot handle properly due to an error which causes them to crash File Browser. If the File Browser is in the process of copying a file, the file copy could be interrupted by the crash which could result in a corrupt file. The symptom of this behaviour would be that the copied file would have the correct size as the original, and the initial part of the file would have the correct bytes, but the later part of the file would contain null characters.

 

Solution

The bug and the problem caused by it is going to be fixed in the next regular update for ARCHICAD 18 and 19.

 

Workaround

The only way to avoid the problem is to disable Shell Extension. The easiest way to do this is to rename GSShellX64.dll in the ARCHICAD folder to something else, for example xGSShellX64.dll. It is important to disable in this manner the Shell Extension of both ARCHICAD 18 and 19 if both are installed on the computer.

Should you encounter this problem, please contact your local support.

 

What happens if GS Shell Extension is disabled?

Since the task of GS Shell Extension is to provide File Browser some extra information about ARCHICAD files, when it is disabled, Properties Window of the file will miss some of the information, e.g. preview picture.

This is how Properties Window looks like when GS Shell Extension is enabled:

GSShellExt_enabled2

And this is how it appears when GS Shell Extension is disabled:

GSShellExt_disabled

 

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