It is an annoying issue when Windows Explorer suddenly stops working in Windows 10. In this case, you can restart explorer.exe to fix this issue rather than force shutdown your PC. How to restart Windows Explorer? Now, MiniTool Solution provides you with 4 simple methods and you can try them to easily get rid of the trouble.

Windows Explorer (Explorer.exe) is a program manager process in Windows that offers a graphical interface you use to interact with the Start menu, taskbar, desktop, Action Center and File Explorer. Sometimes, any of these parts that make up the interface can act strangely or even hang.

In this case, you can restart Windows Explorer, just like you restart an app when it hangs. Well then, how to restart explorer.exe in Windows 10? Here is the guide for you!

Tip: If you want to fix Windows Explorer not responding, this post may be the one you need – 9 Solutions to File Explorer Not Responding Windows 10.

Windows 10 Restart Explorer

Method 1: Restart Explorer.exe from Task Manager

This is the most common method to reopen Windows Explorer and you can follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Task Manager.

  • Press Ctrl + Shift +Esc keys at the same time.
  • Alternatively, right-click the taskbar and choose Task Manager.

Step 2: Click More details to view the detailed interface.

Step 3: Move to the Processes tab, scroll down to find Windows Explorer, click it and choose Restart.

restart Windows Explorer via Task Manager

Alternatively, you can also go to the Details tab, click explorer.exe and choose End task. Then, go to File > Run new task, type explorer.exe and click OK to restart the process.

restart Windows Explorer in task manager

Method 2: Exit Windows Explorer from the Start Menu

Compared to the first method, this is an easier and safer way. You can exit Windows Explorer while saving your settings rather than kill the program at once.

The following is what you should do:

Step 1: In Windows 10, hold Ctrl + Shift and right-click any empty area of the taskbar. Then, you can click Exit Explorer from the context menu.

exit Explorer

Tip: If you are running Windows 7, click Start and hold Ctrl + Shift while clicking any empty area on the Start menu and choose Exit Explorer.

Method 3: Automatically Restart Explorer.exe with a Batch File

If you constantly need to restart Windows Explorer, you can make the process automatic for convenience by using a simple batch file.

Step 1: Open Notepad and copy & paste the following text to the text document.

taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe

start explorer.exe


use a patch file to restart Explorer

Step 2: Click File > Save As to save the file with the “.bat” instead of “.txt” extension, like Restart Explorer.bat and then click Save.

Step 3: You can double-click the newly created .bat file and Windows will exit and restart again automatically.

Method 4: Add Restart Explorer Shortcut to Context Menu

If you are looking for a more reliable and faster way to restart explorer.exe automatically, you can also do this work from the right-click menu. This method enables you to access the context menu anywhere when using Windows Explorer.

Note: This method involves changing the Windows Registry. Since any mistake can cause system issues, it is best to first back up registry keys in Windows 10. Besides, you also need to use a batch file as mentioned in method 3 and then continue to this method.

Step 1: Open Windows Registry Editor by inputting regedit to the search bar and clicking the result.

Step 2: Navigate to this path: Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background.

Step 3: Right-click the Shell folder and go to New > Key to name the new key as Restart Explorer.

background restart explorer registry

Step 4: Right-click Restart Explorer and create a new key called Command.

Step 5: Go to the batch file you have created in method 3, right-click it and choose Create shortcut.

Step 6: In Registry Editor, click Command, right-click Default in the right panel and choose Modify.

Step 7: Paste the shortcut path you just created, for example, E:\Restart Explorer.bat and click on OK.

command registry key

Then, you will see the option of Restart Explorer in the context menu whenever you right-click on a blank area in Windows.

Now, four methods to restart explorer.exe have been told to you. If you have a need but don’t know how to reopen Windows Explorer, just try these methods.

  • linkedin
  • reddit