Increase Windows Stability

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 30, 2007
Updated • Mar 2, 2014
Software, Windows, Windows software

Xtra Windows Stability is an interesting piece of software that was mentioned in Shellcity's top 25 software of the year series. The product was especially designed to increase Windows stability by forcing important subsystems of Windows into separate processes.

The user can choose to force the following subsystems into separate processes to increase the stability of the Microsoft Windows operating system: Desktop, Explorer (Folders) and Internet Explorer.

All three or only select ones can be selected during installation and a restart is required before the changes take effect.

The big question is however if the program delivers what it promises. I fired up Process Explorer from Sysinternals and checked if there would be more than one process when I opened Windows Explorer.

A new process was indeed added which means that the software is indeed dividing important subsystems into different processes. This in turn means that a crash of Windows Explorer has a chance of only affecting part of the system and not all of it.

Many open folders or Internet Explorer windows can increase memory usage slightly which is the downside of using this tool. The software can be downloaded and run from any location that you unpack it to.

Update: The program has not been updated since 2006, which may mean that it won't work anymore on newer versions of Windows that were released after it came out.

You can make some of the modifications in the Windows Registry directly, without running this program. That however works only if you are running Windows XP or newer versions of the operating system.

  1. Use Windows-R to open the run box on your system.
  2. Type regedit.exe and hit enter.
  3. Browse to the folder HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
  4. Right-click on Explorer and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name it DesktopProcess.
  6. Double-click it and set its value to 1.

If you are running Windows Vista or newer, you do not have to do that anymore. Instead, do the following:

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Select Organize > Folder and Search options.
  3. If that cannot be located, tap on the Alt-key on your keyboard, and select Tools > Folder Options.
  4. Change to the View tab.
  5. Locate "launch folder windows in a separate process" and tick the box next to it.
  6. Click ok to save the change.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Martin said on March 12, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    An even quicker way to open Task Manager is by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

  2. archie bald said on March 12, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    Win+Pause used to be the goto shortcut for me since… W95… Ms recently hijacked it and you now get Sysinfo. Device manager is still accessible this way: the second to last link at the bottom.

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