Browsing a directory with many PMF files may cause Windows Explorer to crash

Last Published: April 26, 2020


When browsing directories with many PMF files, Windows Explorer may crash.

PMF files are the format created by ArcGIS Publisher for use in ArcReader.


This is a known issue that occurs on some computers due to the creation of thumbnails.


To resolve this problem, unregister the file esriShellext.dll.
The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
  1. Open an MS-DOS Command Prompt. Navigate to Start > Run. Type cmd. Click OK.
  2. In the Command Prompt window, type the following:
    cd c:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\ESRI\
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type the following command to unregister esrishellext.dll:
    regsvr32 /u esrishellext.dll
    The crash should no longer occur.
    Completing this process disables thumbnail display for all PMF documents in Windows Explorer.

Article ID:000007761

  • ArcReader 9 x
  • ArcMap 9 x

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