How To Fix Windows explorer.exe in Windows

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Explorer.exe, the process responsible for the Windows graphical interface, including the taskbar and desktop, can sometimes experience issues such as freezing, crashing, or not responding. This guide provides updated methods for managing these problems effectively.

1. Restarting ‘Explorer.exe’ via Task Manager

In both Windows 11 and Windows 10, one of the quickest ways to resolve issues with ‘Explorer.exe’ is to restart it using the Task Manager. This method can be useful when the explorer is not responding, or you’re experiencing issues with the taskbar or desktop icons.

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Locate ‘Windows Explorer’ under the Processes tab.
  3. Right-click on ‘Windows Explorer’ and select Restart.

2. Manually Terminating and Restarting ‘Explorer.exe’

For more control over the process, or if the above method does not work, manually terminating and then restarting ‘Explorer.exe’ might be effective. This method involves ending the process and then running it again via Task Manager.

  1. To Terminate:
    1. Open Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).
    2. In the Processes tab, find ‘Windows Explorer’.
    3. Right-click on it and choose End task.
  2. To Restart:
    1. In Task Manager, go to the File menu.
    2. Select Run new task.
    3. Type explorer.exe and hit Enter or click OK.

3. Using Command Line for Restarting ‘Explorer.exe’

For users comfortable with using the command line, restarting ‘Explorer.exe’ via Command Prompt can be a more direct method. This involves using specific commands to kill and then start the Explorer process.

  1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    • You can do this by typing cmd in the Windows search bar, right-clicking on the Command Prompt result, and selecting Run as administrator.
  2. Type taskkill /f /im explorer.exe and press Enter. This will stop the Explorer process.
    • Your screen might turn black temporarily as the Explorer process ends.
  3. To restart Explorer, type start explorer.exe and press Enter.
    • Your desktop and taskbar should reappear after this command.

4. Creating a Batch File for Restarting Explorer

A batch file can automate the process of restarting ‘Explorer.exe’. This method is useful for users who frequently encounter issues with Windows Explorer and prefer a quick, one-click solution.

  1. Open Notepad or any text editor.
  2. Type the following commands:
    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
    start explorer.exe
  3. Go to File > Save As.
  4. In the ‘Save as type’ dropdown, select All Files.
  5. Name the file with a .bat extension (e.g., restart_explorer.bat) and save it.
  6. Double-click the batch file whenever you need to restart Windows Explorer. The screen may go black temporarily as Explorer restarts.

5. System File and Image Repairs

Corrupted system files or a damaged Windows image can cause issues with ‘Explorer.exe’. Windows provides built-in tools like System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) to repair these files.

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  1. Running SFC:
    1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    2. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter.
    3. Wait for the process to complete and then restart your computer.
  2. Running DISM:
    1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
    2. Type the following commands, pressing Enter after each one:
      DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
      DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
      DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    3. Wait for the processes to complete and then restart your computer.

6. Clearing File Explorer Cache and History

Accumulated cache and history can sometimes cause ‘Explorer.exe’ to malfunction. Clearing these can restore normal function.

  1. Press Windows key + R, type control folders, and press Enter. This opens File Explorer Options.
  2. Under the General tab, find the Privacy section.
  3. Click on Clear next to ‘Clear File Explorer history’.
  4. Click OK to apply the changes.

7. Checking for Malware

Malware can interfere with the functionality of ‘Explorer.exe’. Performing a malware scan using Windows Security can help identify and remove harmful software.

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings.
  2. Navigate to Privacy & Security > Windows Security.
  3. Select Virus & Threat Protection.
  4. Click on Quick Scan to start scanning for malware.
  5. Follow any on-screen instructions to resolve detected issues.

8. Running System Maintenance Troubleshooter

The System Maintenance Troubleshooter in Windows can help fix common system problems, including issues with ‘Explorer.exe’.

  1. Type Control Panel in the Windows search bar and open it.
  2. Go to System and Security > Security and Maintenance.
  3. Expand the Maintenance section.
  4. Click on Start maintenance under Automatic Maintenance.
  5. Let the troubleshooter run and fix any detected issues.

9. Creating a New User Account

If issues with ‘Explorer.exe’ persist, they may be related to a corrupt user profile. Creating a new user account can help resolve these problems.

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings.
  2. Go to Accounts > Other Users.
  3. Click on Add Account under the Other Users section.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a new user account.
  5. Assign Administrator privileges to the new account.
  6. Log out of the current account and log in with the new account.
  7. Check if ‘Explorer.exe’ issues are resolved under the new user profile.

10. Rolling Back Windows Update

If issues with ‘Explorer.exe’ started after a recent Windows update, rolling back the update might resolve the problem. This is particularly useful if a specific update is known to cause issues.

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings.
  2. Navigate to Windows Update > Update History.
  3. Scroll down and click on Uninstall updates.
  4. Select the update you wish to uninstall and click the Uninstall button.
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation.
  6. Restart your computer after the uninstallation is complete.

11. Checking for Windows Updates

Regularly updating Windows can help fix existing bugs and improve system stability. If ‘Explorer.exe’ is experiencing issues, checking for and installing the latest Windows updates might resolve these issues.

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings.
  2. Go to Windows Update.
  3. Click on Check for updates.
  4. If updates are available, download and install them.
  5. Restart your computer after the updates are installed to ensure all changes take effect.

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