Opening a folder sometimes causes the WPS to hang

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Last Updated: 7th January, 1995


When a WPS folder is opened, it draws some of its contents and then hangs. If the user presses Ctrl-ESC, PM will eventually display a "folder not responding" message.

These symptoms start to occur with increasing frequency, usually with folders that are heavily used.


Possible corruption of the WPS folder's Extended Attributes (EAs)


This procedure is suggested as a possible treatment for the symptoms described above. It is not claimed that it will treat all cases of WPS hang.

  1. Determine the name of the hanging folder Press Ctrl-ESC several times. PM should display a message of the form: "folder not responding". folder is the name of the folder that needs "surgery".
  2. Shut-down and boot to the command line To boot to a command line, hold ALT-F1 down during the time that the OS/2 <white-blo> message is showing. Then select C for command line. Wait a while until a command prompt appears. If you need to edit a file while in this mode, type: TEDIT filename
  3. For a folder, \ADesktopFolder, on the desktop: Recover the EAs for \ADesktopFolder from an archive: EAUTIL "\ADesktopFolder" /s /r EAUTIL "\os2\archives\0x\ADesktopFolder" HOLDFILE /s /r /p EAUTIL "\ADesktopFolder" HOLDFILE /j
  4. For other directories: Split off the directory's EAs: EAUTIL directory /s /r
    Since the archiving process only archives desktop folders, the best you can do for other directories is to split off the possibly bad EAs. If you ever need to restore them, use: EAUTIL directory /j /o
  5. Reboot to the Workplace Shell EXIT


The inspiration behind this procedure was to recognise that some of the information about how a folder displays itself is stored in the extended attributes of the folder's directory entry. Since the symptoms occur when the folder is opened for display, I thought that this might imply that the information in the folder's EAs was corrupted in some way. To test this hypothesis, I applied the procedure above. It worked!

I use HPFS partitions, so I don't know whether this procedure will work as well with FAT partitions due to differences in the way EAs are stored on FAT partitions. If someone tries this with FAT folders and it works, let me know!

One benefit of this procedure over a full archive restore is that the most recent full archive might be too old to be useful. By restoring the EAs for a single folder, the rest of the current desktop can be preserved.

[I updated this procedure on 7th January, 1995 to use the EAUTIL tool. Use of this tool resulted in considerable simplification of the procedure - jon]

Chris Bidmead writes (5th December, 1995):

I've found what I believe to be a much simpler solution to this problem, which typically occurs in my OS/2 Apps folder following an unclean shutdown. I'm using Warp Connect on a NetWare 3.12 network.

Opening the rogue folder causes the WPS to hang. Use Ctrl-Esc to evoke the option to abort the opening action. The WPS rebuilds, the folder attempts to open again and hangs again. Use Ctrl-Esc for a second time. This time when the WPS rebuilds it doesn't attempt to open the rogue folder.

Any attempt to open the rogue folder at this stage will simply send you round the loop again. Instead, drag a convenient object off the desktop or wherever and drop it into the folder WITHOUT OPENING IT. This seems to cause the EA to rebuild. Now you can open the folder without problems. Move the catalyst object out of the folder back to its original position. The problem is now cured.

By Jon Seymour (

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