Don’t do it on the Desktop with Open Office

If you have Open Office 3.01 or 3.1 installed under XP32, try this:

  • Put a txt file on the desktop, eg test.txt
  • Run notepad and select file-open
  • Browse to the desktop. Hover over the TXT file to get a tooltip
  • Cancel the file open then select file-open again
  • Browse to desktop if needed, then hover over the TXT file again
  • Surprise! NOTEPAD disappears without a trace!

I spent the weekend tracing the source of this behaviour after it was noticed in Planimate®.  Thought it was a bad Windows Update or worse, pwnage. After a lot of hunting in lots of VMs, I traced the culprit: Open Office 3.

Looking closer, I found OOo installs a shell extension (probably to give context tips on its
own files) which is breaking the standard open file dialog for other apps.  You can uninstall it using the following procedure:

  • open CMD prompt
  • cd “\Program Files\ 3\Basis\program\shlxthdl”
    (there should be shlxthdl.dll in there)
  • regsvr32 -u shlxthdl.dll
    (dialog should appear confirming deregistration of the extension)

The desktop should be safe to use again.

I’ve opened an issue with Open Office Org here: