Screen flickering/Explorer crashing on Windows 10? (fix)
I've just run into an odd problem on Windows 10 here at work, and I thought I'd share my experience - and fix - here in case it helps anyone else.
I installed Windows 10 AU on a Surface Book. Now, those of you who've read my comments elsewhere on the Reg will know that I'm not the world's biggest fan of Windows 10, but this was to replace my old & clunky Thinkpad, and I figured - what the hell, it's mandated by my employer anyway, I might as well go with the flow.
Anyway. Installed the OS and all apps, everything working fine. Rebooted, and that's when the problem "surface"d (heheh)
Symptoms: After logging in to the desktop, the whole screen kept flashing on and off. Closer examination revealed that Explorer was crashing & restarting over and over again (the Ctrl-Alt-Del screen was OK). Safe mode was similarly affected. Vast numbers of system errors in the log, generally of the form DCOM got error 1084 attempting to start the service XXX with arguments "Unavailable" or Faulting Application name explorer.exe / faulting module name KERNELBASE.dll. Logging in with a different user made no difference, implying that it was something common to all profiles, and machine- not user-specific.
Googling for the symptoms didn't really help; as usual, plenty of people with similar problems but never quite the same (e.g. it turned out to be Windows 7 with a bad HDD, or a bad AMD display driver - neither was applicable here).
I was on the verge of a complete reinstall/rebuild.
Fix: I managed to bring up RegEdit via Ctrl-Alt-Del -> Task Manager -> Run - not easy, because the crashing/restarting Explorer.exe kept stealing window focus from me every second or so - and navigated to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellIconOverlayIdentifiers.
There was an icon overlay entry for ERM-something-or-other, presumably added by the Office 2013 ERM module.
As soon as I removed that key, the problem stopped. Explorer ceased to crash, and all was bluebirds and unicorns.
So - there you go. Cool story, bro, and all that, but perhaps my discovery might help someone in a similar situation...?