Think of a file cabinet—but computerized. That is File Explorer in Windows. Since Windows 95 came out, the term Windows Explorer has been replaced with File Explorer.
The File Explorer provides the graphical user interface for file system access and keeps all the storage areas within it and allows you to perform functions like move, copy, rename or delete your files.
While the File Explorer Windows 10 is a much evolved version, there are times when it goes kaput and stops responding. The reasons for a File Explorer not responding error can be various.
What is more important though, is that you can fix the error quite simply following a number of different methods. Here you can explore the various ways to fix a file explorer not responding error in Windows 10. So read on!
Fix #1: Change the Display Settings on Your Computer
While the text size on screen and other display settings seem to be of little consequence, they are actually pretty important when it comes to having your file explorer up and running properly.
Case in point: a lot of reports indicate that text display size of 175% has been the cause for file explorer errors. To check if you have the recommended text display size set or to change it, follow these steps:
Step 1: From the Start button, go to Settings.
Step 2: Click on the icon for system in the settings page.
Step 3: On the left side, locate the Display panel and Click.
Step 4: change the size of text to 100% (recommended), 125% or 200%.
Step 5: Close the Settings page and try to access your File Explorer.
Fix #2: Check for Faulty Programs
This method requires more intuitive thinking than the others. However, if you have recently installed some program before your File Explorer stopped responding properly, you can try to stop it from running for a while to see whether your explorer gets back on track.
Several reports notified that a faulty antivirus application (AVG) was to blame for throwing off their File Explorer. Uninstall any outdated antivirus program. To temporarily stop running it, follow these steps:
Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc at the same time to start the Task Manager.
Step 2: Under the Programs tab, find the antivirus program you want to stop running and Click on it.
Step 3: Select End Task.
If this program was responsible for triggering the File Explorer error, it should be fixed now.
Fix #3: Launch Folder Windows in Separate Process
You can send your unresponsive browser to a new window and get rid of it instantly. To do this, you will need to launch the unresponsive folder window in a separate process. Follow these steps for a quick fix:
(Note: This method will only work if you can open your File Explorer. Skip this method if you cannot access your File Explorer.)
Step 1: Double Click on your File Explorer icon to Open.
Step 2: On the top panel, Click on View.
Step 3: In the left corner of the drop down panel, locate and Click on Options.
Step 4: In the new window that opens, click on the View tab.
Step 5: Scroll down till you locate ‘Launch folder windows in a separate process’ and Check the box beside that option.
Step 6: Click on Apply and then OK.
Fix #4: Restart File Explorer
One of the most tried and tested way to get the Windows 10 File Explorer up and responding again is to restart the explorer.exe process.
You can safely restart the process using any one of the methods elaborated below without affecting the other programs running on your computer.
1. Restart explorer.exe Process using the Task Manager
This is the quickest way to restart the explorer.exe process if your Windows is still responsive. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Press Shift + Ctrl + Esc at the same time to open the Task Manager. Alternatively, you can Right Click on the toolbar and select Taskbar from the option menu that comes up.
Step 2: Click on More Details if the Task Manager does not display all contents. Skip this step if you can already see all the processes listed.
Step 3: Under the Processes tab, in the Apps section, locate Windows Explorer and Right Click on it.
Step 4: Select Restart from the drop down list.
Don’t be surprised to see Taskbar and desktop icons disappear for a second and reappear.
While this method is a little more time consuming, it is a more complete process which involves ending the explorer.exe process first and then starting it again. You can follow these steps if you choose to perform this method:
Step 1: Press and hold down the Shift and Ctrl keys at the same time. (Don’t release them yet).
Step 2: Right Click on the Taskbar.
Step 3: Release Shift and Ctrl keys.
Step 4: Select the Exit Explorer option from the pop up menu.
At this point, your screen becomes blank because you have just ended the process which is in charge desktop elements like the Taskbar and icons. This is normal, so move on to the next steps.
Step 5: Press Shift + Ctrl + Esc at the same time to open the Task Manager.
Step 6: Click on the File tab.
Step 7: Select Run new task to open the ‘create new task’ dialogue box.
Step 8: Type explorer.exe in the space provided beside ‘Open’.
Step 9: Click OK.
At this point, the desktop elements hitherto invisible, returns as you have successfully restarted Windows File Explorer.
Step 10: Close the Task Manager.
3. Manually Restart explorer.exe Process Using Command Line
There are many users who prefer to use the Command Line for its ease of use, simplicity and brevity. If you are one of them, you can restart the explorer.exe process the using command line following these simple steps:
Step 1: Press Windows key + R at the same time to open the Run dialogue box.
Step 2: Type in cmd.exe and click OK. To open the Command Prompt.
Step 3: Type in the following command in the Command Prompt to end the explorer.exe process:
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
At this point, the screen behind your Command Prompt goes black as the explorer.exe process is successfully terminated.
Step 4: Type in the following command in the Command Prompt to again start the explorer.exe process:
Step 5: Close the Command Prompt as the desktop elements come back again.
4. Restart the explorer.exe Process Using a Batch File
This has to be one of the quickest methods to restart Windows 10 File Explorer. What this method enables you to do is restart the explorer.exe process every time you want to with only a double click on a file.
If you save a batch file with the relevant commands, there is no need for you to perform the previous methods to end and restart the explorer.exe process. Follow these steps to create a batch file containing the relevant script and restart the explorer:
Step 1: Open Notepad or any other text editor that you like.
Step 2: Copy Paste the following script in the text editor:
taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
Step 3: Click on the File tab at the top of the page.
Step 4: Select the Save As option.
Step 5: Select Desktop as your preferred location for saving the file.
Step 6: In the File name box, save the name as Restart Explorer.bat. It is important to save the file as a .bat extension instead of as a .txt extension.
Step 7: Click on Save.
Step 8: Go to Desktop and Double Click on the Batch file that you created to restart the File Explorer.
Fix #5: Remove Recently Used Files in Quick Access
This is one of the most validated fixes for solving the File Explorer not responding error. Reportedly, 80% of all such cases has been sorted out with this method. Follow these steps to Clear files in the Quick Access:
Step 1: Type in Control Panel in the Search Bar and hit Enter.
Step 2: Click to open the Control Panel from the search results.
Step 3: On the top right corner of the Control Panel page, locate the search box and Type in File Explorer.
Step 4: Select File Explore in the search results to open the File Explorer pop up window.
Step 5: Click on Clear in the box and then Click on OK/Apply.
This should let you to use your File Explorer without a glitch.
Fix #6: Clear History Cache and Create New Path
With this method, you are clearing all old data and cache and creating a new path for your File Explorer. Follow these step with a little patience and you should have your File Explorer working smoothly in no time at all:
Step 1: Locate the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar and Right Click on it.
Step 2: From the drop down list, Select Unpin from Taskbar.
Step 3: Press the Windows key and X at the same time on your keyboard.
Step 4: From the menu that pops up, Select File Explorer.
Step 5: From the left panel, locate Quick Access and Right Click on it.
Step 6: Select Options from the drop down list to open the Folder Options window.
Step 7: Under the General tab, Locate the Privacy section. Check the boxes.
Step 8: Click on Clear and Select OK.
Step 9: Go to the Desktop and Right Click on a blank spot.
Step 10: Select New > Shortcut.
Step 11: In the Create new shortcut box, type in C:\Windows\explorer.exeas the locationof the item and Click Next.
Step 12: Type in File Explorer as the name for the shortcut and Click Finish.
Step 13: right Click on the newly created icon on your desktop and Select pin to Taskbar.
This should fix the error when you start the File Explorer.
Fix #7: Disable Windows Search
You can disable windows search to solve the File Explorer error in Windows 10. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Type cmd.exe in the Search box.
Step 2: Right Click on Command Prompt from the search results.
Step 3: Select Run as administrator from the drop-down list.
Step 4: Click Yes in the User Account Control window.
Step 5: Type in net.exe stop “Windows search”in the Command Prompt.
Step 6: Hit Enter.
Step 7: Close the Command prompt.
Use the File Explorer as it should be working now.
Going through all the methods described above should fix ‘File Explorer not responding’ error in Windows 10. If you are still facing issues, you should consider reinstalling Windows 10 on your computer.