A. The Windows shell in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows NT 4.0 typically executes in the same process as Windows Explorer instances but in separate threads. When a Windows Explorer instance hangs and restarts, the process causes the desktop to also restart. To put the desktop and taskbar into a separate process, perform the following steps:

  1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.
  3. From the Edit menu, select New-DWORD Value.
  4. Enter a name of DesktopProcess, and press Enter.
  5. Double-click the new value, set it to 1, and click OK.
  6. Log off your Windows session, then log on.

The success of this change is subject to a known issue related to drive mappings. If you make this registry change then disconnect from a mapped drive and reuse the same drive letter for another share, Windows might display the old mapping name (but the correct drive contents). If you experience this problem, you should remove the DesktopProcess value or set it to 0, which will result in the desktop and taskbar no longer being in a separate process.