14 Solutions For File Explorer Not Responding On Windows 10

What to do when your Windows Explorer or File Explorer not responding on Windows 10 or crashes? That’s what this guide is for. We have handpicked the most effective solutions. You can try these in sequence or as you deem fit.

Before we begin, remember that Windows Explorer and File Explorer are the same. You can receive a message that File Explorer.exe has stopped working. It could be that Windows Explorer has stopped working.

Regardless of the error message, it is the same issue if it is related to explorer. And it has nothing to do with internet explorer, the browser.

With that being said, let’s move to the solutions right off the bat!

Fixes For File Explorer Not Responding On Windows 10 

  1. Check For Virus Or Malware 
  2. Restart File Explorer In Task Manager
  3. Use The Command Prompt Method 
  4. Re-Launch File Explorer Through Batch File 
  5. Change The Resolution For Screen 
  6. Reset File Explorer Options To Default
  7. Clear File Explorer History 
  8. Use The System Files Scan (SFC) And DISM
  9. Update Your Driver In Device Manager
  10. Boot Up In Safe Mode 
  11. Perform A System Restore 
  12. Make Space In System Drive (C Drive) System Partition
  13. Update Your Windows OS 
  14. Reinstall Your Microsoft Windows Operating System

1. Check For Virus Or Malware 

The first thing you should do would be to check for any malware or virus issues. They are usually the leading cause of such problems.

If you frequently visit untrusted or insecure websites, the risk increases. The same applies if you use third-party apps from shady, unknown, or untrusted sources.

So, the first and the best thing for you to do is run a system scan for viruses:

file explorer not responding windows 10
  • Press Windows + I Key > Go To Updates & Security > Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection.
  • In there, use the Scan Options and run a full scan.
Quick Scan
  • Wait until the scan completes, and see if anything pops up.
  • You can also use premium and trusted antivirus if the free Windows Defender isn’t enough.

2. Restart File Explorer In Task Manager

Sometimes, all the explorer needs are to get a restart. You can also use this method if explorer stops working. In that case, your panels and file explorer will disappear from the desktop: 

  • Launch the Task Manager. Press CTRL + Shift + ESC.
  • You will see all the tasks running on Windows in the Processes.
Launch the Task Manager
  • Find Windows Explorer from the list. It could just be explorer.exe
  • Right-click on it and use End Task. Your computer could go blank, and some options will disappear. Don’t worry.
  • Next, click on the File on the top-left corner in the Taskbar of your Task Manager. You can also perform this step if you can’t find File Explorer in the task manager.
  • Click on Run New Task and type: explorer.exe
Restart File Explorer In Task Manager
  • Then hit enter.

3. Use The Command Prompt Method 

Command Prompt works excellent if you can’t launch Task Manager or can’t use it. It is also suitable for Admin Permissions. So:

  • You can use the search bar (if visible) at the bottom and type CMD or Command. Then right-click the Command Prompt option and Run As Administrator.
  • You can also right-click the Start Menu (Windows icons) at the bottom-left and select the command prompt.
Use The Command Prompt Method
  • You could also use RUN (Windows + R) and type CMD to launch it.
  • Either way, once you’re in the Command prompt, type: taskkill/f/im explorer.exe
  • Then hit enter. This will lead to a blank screen for Windows, except for the Command prompt.
  • Next, type: start explorer.exe
type: start explorer.exe
  • Hit enter again, and this will restart the Explorer.
  • Type exit and hit enter to exit the command prompt window.

4. Re-Launch File Explorer Through Batch File 

There’s a third option to launch explorer if none of the options worked. You can create a batch file (.bat). All you will have to do is launch it as Admin. How to do that? Give this a go:

  • Right-click on Desktop > New > Text Document.
  • Change the name of the file to Restart Explorer

Now Copy and paste this:

taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe

start explorer.exe

Re-Launch File Explorer Through Batch File
  • exit
  • Save it and exit the Notepad. Then rename the file to Restart Explorer.bat
  • If that doesn’t work, go to files > save as and select All Files, then save it with that name wherever you want.
  • Right-click on the file. Remember, it will change from a text or notepad file to a batch file.
Run as administrator
  • Select ‘ Run As Administrator ‘ and allow it when the prompt appears.

If this step works, you can keep the batch file whenever your explorer stops working.

5. Change The Resolution For Screen 

Is your explorer.exe issue not stopping at all? If it is continually happening, the problem could be with Display Settings:

  • Right-click on the Desktop.
  • Select Display Settings
Display Settings
  • In there, find the Display Resolution in Scale And Layout Section.
  • Changing it to a lower resolution than your one is a good idea.
  • Usually, the higher resolution could be the problem, and your PC is having issues.
Display Resolution
  • It could be due to an incompatible screen with the resolution or display adapters.
  • More on that is below.

6. Reset File Explorer Options To Default

Did you customize your file explorer recently? If you made any changes or modifications to the settings, your file explorer could run into issues.

It is a good idea to try and reset the settings and see if that solves your issue:

  • Go to the Search Bar below and type: File explorer options.
  • This will show you the results for it. Click on it to launch it.
Reset File Explorer Options To Default
  • Next, go to the General Tab in the File Explorer options.
  • You will see the Restore Defaults option at the bottom of the General Tab.
  • Click on it. Press Yes, then apply.
Restore Defaults
  • Then go to the View Tab and do the same.
  • Repeat it for the Search Tab, as well.
  • After restoring it all, press OK.

7. Clear File Explorer History 

Yes, your file explorer has history data. And yes, it can cause the Windows Explorer issue. This step could quickly solve the problem for you:

  • First, open Control Panel. Go to the Search Bar at the bottom and search for it, then click on it to launch it.
  • In the Control Panel, find and select Explorer Option.
Control Panel
  • You can also use the previous step to just open File Explorer Options.
  • In the General Tab, you have a Privacy Section. It has the option to Click on the Clear button to clear history. Do that.
Clear File Explorer History
  • That’s all! Click Apply and OK. You’re good to go.

8. Use The System Files Scan (SFC) And DISM

The issue could be in your system files if none of the steps worked so far. Try this solution: 

  • Use the previous guidelines to launch the Command Prompt once again. Make sure to Run As Administrator.
  • Type: SFC/scannow
  • Hit enter.
Type: SFC/scannow
  • If that doesn’t work. Copy and paste: sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows
  • Restart the computer once the SFC scan completes.
  • After the restart, relaunch the Command Prompt.
  • Type:  Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
  • Hit enter
Use The System Files Scan (SFC) And DISM
  • Then type:  Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
  • Hit enter
Then type:  Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
  • And once again: Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • Once again, press enter. 

Both DISM and SFC take some time to complete, so wait patiently. Reboot the PC once done and see if it solves the issue.

9. Update Your Driver In Device Manager

If your issues haven’t been solved by now, then the problem is deeper than just file explorer issues or system files. Let’s start with display adapters.

Often, the graphics driver or display adapter issue can lead to the file explorer not working. This can happen when your video card is overloaded or you don’t have a powerful enough GPU.

So, if you’re trying to run extensive graphic files or games, ensure you have GPU support.

If that’s not the issue. Then:

  • Go to the Search Bar and type: Device Manager
  • Launch it and go to the Display Adapters and expand it.
Display Adapters
  • Right-click on the Adapters listed there and click on Update Drivers
  • You can download the one manually if you know which GPU you use.
  • If not, then use ‘Search automatically for drivers. And wait for the process to go through.
Update Your Driver In Device Manager
  • Let the installation take place and press OK. Exit the device manager and see if it solves the issue.
  • This is a good diagnosis if you continually get the issue. 

10. Boot Up In Safe Mode 

Are you unable to make any of the diagnoses given above? Maybe your PC is crashing too frequently for you to do anything.

Boot Up

If that’s the case, it is a good idea to boot up the PC in Safe Mode. The Safe Mode will keep most issues at bay unless the problem is in the hardware.

Boot Up In Safe Mode

So, this will help you perform all the above-given solutions. If the safe boot doesn’t work, you will know the issue is hardware-oriented.

11. Perform A System Restore 

Your PC might have gotten corrupted files or settings recently. Did the update cause the issue? That can happen because Microsoft Updates aren’t perfect.

Perform A System Restore

This solution will only work if you have a restore point. The restore point should be from before the time the issues started. It is among the last resorts. So try it only after you’ve tried everything else.

12. Make Space In System Drive (C Drive) System Partition

Here’s more of a tip than a solution:

  • Always keep your system files partition (the C Drive) empty.
  • It should only have the OS Files, and System files, nothing else.
  • Make sure to assign enough space so that you won’t run into issues if the system expands in the future.
Make Space In System Drive (C Drive) System Partition
  • This is important because the system file driver will need disk space to work optimally. It sometimes creates temporary files or programs to launch/ Thus, consuming space.
  • So, keep at least 50 GB of space in it.
keep at least 50 GB of space in it
  • Similarly, if you have junk in it, perform disk cleanup. You can also delete or move the files and folder from there to other locations. 

13. Update Your Windows OS 

If none of the steps worked, there could be some incompatibility issues. Did a particular app or program cause the error? You can uninstall them.

You can also check for Windows Update. Keep the system always up to date. It will keep you secure and help you in the long run.

Update Your Windows OS

There’s the latest Windows 11 that you can try. 

14. Reinstall Your Microsoft Windows Operating System

If none of the solutions have worked so far, the best you can do is reinstall Windows.

Completely reinstall the latest Windows Operating System. Also, ensure only to install the version your PC’s specifications can support.

Reinstall Your Microsoft Windows Operating System

If that doesn’t work, then the problem is in the hardware. You might want to visit the service center.

Conclusion

This marks the end of the guideline and all the solutions we could find on the File Explorer issue. If your Windows Explorer ever runs into a problem, now you have all the solutions you can try.

We hope that this was helpful. And don’t be alarmed if you get a black screen of death or a system becomes unresponsive. It is often better to just wait it out and give your PC a rest.