How to Fix File Explorer not Responding in Windows 10

The explorer.exe process is basically the user shell in Windows. You guys probably think of File Explorer whenever you hear explorer.exe mentioned, right? But, the process also runs the desktop, Taskbar, and many other interfaces features too. It is an important part of Windows, however, it can be stopped and restarted as well. Today we are going to discuss How to Fix File Explorer not Responding in Windows 10.

So, in case, if the Windows 10 File Explorer is not responding to you. Or many other parts of the Windows interface are not working as expected. Then you can also refresh the explorer.exe process through restarting it. This mostly has no negative side effects on other running programs actually. We are going to show you some easy ways in order to restart the explorer.exe process in Windows 10.

What actually Is File Explorer

Well, file Explorer, also called Windows Explorer, is a Windows built-in file manager application as well. It debuted along with the release of Windows 95 by Microsoft. Along with a graphical user interface, it is really convenient for users to access and also manage drives, folders, and files as well.

However, file Explorer is also a component in the operating system. That basically presents many user interface items on the monitor, like the taskbar, and desktop as well. There are many ways for you to access Windows 10 file explorer.

But, a lot of users have also experienced Windows explorer not responding to Windows 10 issues when they try to open it. We summarize the top solutions toward file explorer Windows 10 not responding issue along with detailed steps as well. If you encounter Windows explorer not responding issue, then try them right now.

Restart File Explorer in Task Manager

If Windows is still not responsive, then the easiest way to restart the explorer.exe process is via the Task Manager now.

  • Click Ctrl + Shift + Esc in order to start Task Manager.
  • Right-tap Windows Explorer in Task Manager and select End task.
  • Tap on File on the upper left corner and then select Run new task.
  • Input explorer.exe in the box and then tap on enter.

file explorer not responding

File explorer will restart very instantly this way. Then you can check if Windows 10 file explorer, not working issue has been resolved or not.

Exit Explorer from the Taskbar Context Menu and Start it via the Task Manager

This method is a bit longer, however, we are including it for completeness as well. We’re going to first exit Explorer (end the explorer.exe process) and then run it again from the Task Manager.

  • Tap and hold the Shift and Ctrl keys down at the same time. Then, right-tap on the Taskbar and release the Shift and Ctrl keys as well.
  • Choose Exit Explorer from the menu.
  • Your screen will be blank as you have ended the process that controls the desktop elements,  just like the icons and the Taskbar.
  • Tap on Shift + Ctrl + Esc in order to open the Task Manager. There is currently no Taskbar to right-click on to access the Task Manager actually.
  • Head to File > Run new task.
  • On the Create new task dialog box, now type: explorer.exe in the Open box and then tap OK.
  • All the desktop elements come back now.
  • You can also close the Task Manager.

exit explorer

Manually Restart the Explorer.exe Process through Command Prompt

If you like to use the command line, then you will be glad to know. That you can also restart the explorer.exe process using a couple of simple commands.

Only a few folks know that file explorer can be restarted via Command Prompt commands. If you guys cannot open file explorer normally or it also shows file explorer not responding issue. Then you can also restart the explorer.exe process along with a couple of simple commands as well.

  • First, input cmd in the Windows 10 Cortana box and tap on the best match to open the Command Prompt window.
  • Input taskkill /f /im explorer.exe in the Command Prompt window and then tap Enter. This command will then end the explorer.exe process. You’ll there see a blank screen behind the Command Prompt window.
  • In order to start the explorer.exe process again, input starts explorer.exe in the windows and then tap Enter.

file explorer not responding

Then your desktop icons, Taskbar, and all the other desktop elements will then come back.

Instantly Restart the explorer.exe Process Using a Batch File

Rather than opening a Command Prompt window and typing the two commands in the previous section every single time you want to restart the explorer.exe process. You can run these commands through double-tapping a single file.

We will show you how can you create a batch file, that is a file that contains a script that runs when you double-tap on the file.

  • First, open Notepad, or your favorite text editor. Copy the following three lines and then paste them into the text editor.
taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe

start explorer.exe

  • Your desktop icons, Taskbar, and all the other desktop elements will then come back.
  • Head to File > Save As. On the Save As dialog box, navigate to where you want to store the batch file. You should save it somewhere easy to get to such as the Desktop. Or, you can also save it somewhere on your hard drive and then create a shortcut to it on the desktop as well.
  • Now enter a name for your batch file in the File name box. Rather than the .txt extension, make sure you use the .bat extension actually.


  • Now, whenever you need to restart the explorer.exe process, then simply double-tap on the batch file you created or the shortcut to it as well.

Run System File Checker Scan

System File Checker is basically a Windows built-in utility for users in order to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and also restore corrupted files. If your Windows 10 file explorer is not responding at all, then it may be caused through corrupted files on your drive. And many users said that they fixed file explorer not responding issue through the System File Checker scan too. You might try and see if it works for you or not.

  • First, input cmd into Windows 10 Cortana search box. Find the best match, right-tap it, and select Run as Administrator.
  • Input SFC /scannow and click Enter.

file explorer not responding

  • After the scan, restart the computer and check if the issue has been resolved or not.

Clear your File Explorer History

Well, 80% of Windows users have Windows explorer not responding issue have said that this method worked for them actually. Thus, if you have tried all of the solutions above and haven’t found any of them helpful, you can try this one.

  • First, input Control in the Windows 10 Cortana search box. Then tap Control Panel from the Best Match result.
  • Then find File Explorer Options from the interface and click on it.
  • Tap Clear and then press OK to clear File Explorer history.

Now, try to open file explorer again.

Change Display Settings

It seems that the display setting has nothing to do with file explorer Windows 10 not responding issues. However, it does have an incredible impact on your computer if it isn’t configured to the recommended sizes of text, apps, or other items actually. Consequently, the unaccepted sizes of the screen and text could crash the file explorer actually.

If you have changed the size of text, apps, and also items to sizes that are not recommended size. Then reset it using the following steps below.

  • Right-click the Windows Start button and select the setting. When you get the interface of Windows setting, then select System.
  • On the Display panel, you have to change the size of your text to 100% or reset to the Recommended point.
  • Check to see if you can access to File Explorer now or not.

Perform a clean boot

Most of the time many startup applications can interfere with your PC and cause File Explorer problems to happen. But, you can easily find the problematic application through performing a clean boot.

If you want to do that, then you have to follow these steps:

  • First, tap Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog. Now enter MSConfig and click Enter or click OK.
  • Then navigate to the Services tab, check to Hide all Microsoft services, and tap on Disable all button.
  • Head to the Startup tab and tap on the Open Task Manager.
  • A list of startup applications will then appear. Now right-click the first entry on the list and select Disable from the menu. Repeat this step for all entries on the list as well.
  • When you turn off all startup applications, go back to the System Configuration window. Now tap on Apply and OK in order to save changes.
  • When asked to restart your PC, you have to choose the option to restart it now.


Alright, folks, I hope you like this article and understand now. If you have any issues and queries related to it, just comment down and let us know.

Keep Smiling!

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