Copying files between Logical Partitions
I think I can spot the problem that afflicted you.
Your post refers to copying thousands of files, and doing it from one Logical partition to another. That scenario typically throws a great strain on system memory: i.e. on RAM memory.
It is expecting too much of the installed RAM (typically only 128 MB on a Windows ME machine from 8 years ago) to ask it to copy thousands of files at once. Particularly if you also copy them from one partition to another on the same disk.
The memory limits on your system were exceeded (perhaps you were unlucky enough to have too little free hard disk space, to use as a "swap" file: i.e. as temporary memory storage). Thus your system crashed.
I would typically expect to see data damage in the Windows directory in that situation, as the system files would be heavily used in such a copying operation, hence they would be at just as much risk as the files to be copied.
Copying files between partitions on a single disk is a greater use of memory than a disk-to-disk copy, since for each copy operation the hard disk's read/write head must be moved from the copy source to the copy destination and back again, which would not occur in copying to a different disk.
All the thousands of calculations for so many files caused the system's resources to be exceeded, and you suffered a system crash. It was not caused by Windows Explorer, but by having insufficient system RAM, coupled with insufficient free hard disk space. Buy more RAM, and/or a larger hard disk, to reduce the chances of a similar occurance in the future. And reboot immediately before such a complex operation, to ensure that all memory is reset from previous tasks.
But the fault did not lie with Explorer. So you can confidently continue to use it.
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