JSI Tip 0040 - Creating separate processes for the DeskTop/TaskBar and Explorer.

Jerold Schulman

January 28, 1997

1 Min Read
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By default, the Windows NT 4.0 shell creates 1 process with the Taskbar and Desktop as one thread and each instance of explorer in 1 additional thread. A failure in any thread will affect the entire process.
If you have at least 24 Meg of RAM and a fast Pentium, you can create a separate process for the Desktop/Taskbar and 1 for each instance of explorer by editing the registry at:


and adding value DesktopProcess (REG_DWORD). Set it to 1 and reboot.

On my dual processor, this seems to give snappier Desktop performance.

NOTE: You can not have Active Desktop with this hack. 

NOTE: In Windows NT 5.x, the default action is to have 1 instance of Explorer.exe. Implementing this tip appears to be identical to checking the My Computer / Tools / Folder Options / View / Launch folder windows in a separate process box, which invokes one additional instance of Explorer.exe for all Windows Explorer windows, a total of 2 processes. I DO NOT recommend implementing this tip for Windows NT 5.x, as it's functionality may change with a service pack. See Q306117 - Mapped Drives in Windows Explorer May Retain the Name of a Disconnected Drive. If you wish to implement the Launch folder windows in a separate process function using the registry, Copy / Paste the following to a SFP.REG file and Merge it with the registry:


"Text"="Launch folder windows in a separate process"




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