10 Fixes: Windows Explorer Not Responding

windows explorer not responding

Many Windows users often complain about Windows Explorer not responding.

So, if your Windows Explorer is not responding to your clicks and commands, many tools make diagnosing a non-responding Windows Explorer easier. 

And here’s a step-by-step troubleshooting guide that you can use to fix crashes and freezes of Windows Explorer and also get the answers to why your windows explorer is not working.

Come on this journey where we will tell you about some of the simplest and most effective tools and show you how to use them.

Solutions To Fix Windows Explorer Not Responding

  1. Modify PC’s Display Layout
  2. Use Task Manager To Restart Windows Explorer
  3. Use The Command Prompt To Restart The Explorer Manually
  4. Clear File Explorer History
  5. Check For Corrupt System Files
  6. Create A New User Account
  7. Scan PC For Malware Or Virus
  8. Check The Device Manager For Updates
  9. Check For Memory Problems
  10. Perform An Entire System Restore

What is causing this error in your PC?

You’re windows explorer is your primary go-to option and icon when you want to navigate through your PC. It’s the default management tool for mostly all windows devices of Microsoft

It has its ups and downs like any other system out there. And when it’s down, man, does it get frustrating. It leaves you to wonder why this is happening to you; well, these might be the answers to your question-

  1. Your file explorer history demands to be deleted
  2. Display settings are affecting functionality
  3. The windows version is not up to date
  4. Not enough storage
  5. Software glitches

windows explorer not responding 10 ways to solve your issue –

1. Modify the PC’s display layout

A recent change in the display settings by the user often causes this issue on their PCs. Small to small changes like a font size change can cause windows explorer to glitch. This might be the reason your windows explorer is crashing. So before we get into the elaborate methods, let’s toss this one out of the window before we go further-

  1. Right-click on the windows start button on your pc.
  2. Click on settings
 Click system on your settings
  1. Click on ‘system’ from the left sidebar.
  2. Among the options under ‘system,’ choose ‘Display.’
Click display on system
  1. On display, change everything to the recommended point or size

Go and check if your windows explorer is responding. 

2. Use task manager to restart windows explorer

This is an easy way to kickstart the process with. Here is how you can do this-

  1. On the keyboard of your PC, press ctrl+shift+esc
Using task manager to restart windows explorer
  1. Your Pc will start with the task manager, which will look similar to the picture above.
  2. Right-click on the tile that says windows explorer.
  3. You’ll get a drop-down menu
  4. Choose end task
  5. Click on the file present in the top left corner
  6. Choose ‘Run New task.’
  7. In the box shown to you, type explorer.exe and press ok.
Using task manager to restart windows explorer

Using this method will restart your windows explorer quickly, and now you can go and check if your issue has been solved or not. If not, we have a lot of methods waiting to be tried out by you.

3. Use the command prompt to restart the explorer manually

Few people know that their pcs have command prompts that can help you restart your explorer. This method is for you to use if you cannot open your windows explorer the way you normally do. 

You can do this as follows-

  1. On the windows Cortana box of your PC, type in. cmd.
  2. Click on the best match to open the command prompt window
  3. In the command prompt window on your screen, input 'taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
  4. Press enter to continue.
Use the command prompt to restart the explorer manually

After doing this, your laptop will return to its normal screen. Check if this method worked out for you.

4. Clear file explorer history

Numerous times, your file explorer history being clogged becomes an issue while you try to open your windows explorer on your desktop.

 A simple clearance of this history makes the windows explorer up and running again, at least for the 80% of people who have given a thumbs up to this method working out for them.

Here is how you can clear the file explorer history on your computer-

Control panel options
  1. In the search box, search for ‘Control.’
  2. Open Control panel
  3. You’ll see a bunch of file explorer options.
  4. Find file explorer options.
  5. Click on clear followed by ok to clear search history.
Clearing history by clicking OK

After this, try opening windows explorer to check if the method did the trick for you.

5. Check for corrupt system files

Sometimes you have corrupt files on your pc, right under your nose the entire time, without you even noticing until you experience glitches like this. Luckily, Windows has an in-built system for its users to check for such files.

You can check for these corrupt files and restore them as follows-

  1. Open the search box on your pc once again.
  2. Search for ‘cmd’ yet again and prompt the opening of it.
  3. Now put an input that goes as sfc / scannow 
  4. Press enter
Checking for corrupt files

After the scan of your pc is completed, restart your computer. Check whether the issue on your pc has been resolved.

6. Create a new user account

Logging in with a new user or a guest user account can restore your laptop’s functions. You should try this method out as well using the following steps-

  1. Launch windows settings on your pc
  2. Go to the ‘accounts’ title
Creating a new user account
  1. Click on the option ‘Sign in with a local account.’
  2. Click on next
  3. Your pc will ask for a confirmation, ‘Are you sure you want to switch to a local account?’
  4. Enter your windows security key to confirm
  5. Follow the instructions that will be given to you on the screen

Go and have a look if your windows explorer is responding yet. 

7. Scan PC for malware or virus

If you have antivirus or antimalware software installed on your PC, you should scan your PC once. This removes the possibility of a virus disrupting your laptop’s functions.

You can even use windows’ system file checker ‘windows defender’ to kill any possible malware or virus.

8. Check the device manager for updates

Having your PC updated to its latest version is crucial. It assists in patching up existing issues and brings in tighter security and more innovative features for your PC.

If you are using an older version at a time when a newer version has already been released, then your problem may get fixed when you update your windows.

Here’s a quick method for you to check for new updates-

Checking device manager for updates
  1. Open the Settings app on your pc using the search bar.
  2. Click on Windows update or Update and security according to your PC version.
  3. Check for updates
Checking for updates

If you find updates for you to install, then install them. If not, move on to the other options.

9. Check for memory and storage problems

If your PC is running on full storage, then the functionality of windows explorer may be affected.

You need to look up what’s taking up storage on your pc and delete content that is no longer useful. Perform this task, space from your recycle bin, and check if this method works out for you. If not, we have one last option waiting for you.

10. Perform an entire system restore

If you have the system restore feature active on your pc, then this is an option you can try. Using this feature, you will be able to restore your windows 10 to a time when it was running smoothly. Yes, like a time machine!

This is how you can do this-

  1. Run the dialog box on your pc.
  2. Search for ‘Create a system restore.’ 
  3. Choose the best option on your pc that will open system properties.
 Performing a system restore
  1. Click on system protection.
  2. On clicking the screen protection option, you will see a menu.
Clicking ok on the pop up menu
  1. Click on system restore.
  2. Follow the screen instructions.
  3. You’ll be asked to select a restore point, so choose a date on which your pc worked perfectly fine.


Windows Explorer is a core part of the desktop interface. It uses file browsing and lets you manipulate your files. If it becomes unresponsive, you might have trouble using your PC.

And fixing Windows Explorer not responding can be a simple fix or a very complex task in other cases. But no worries, This blog has shown you all the possible methods for you to fix the various versions of explorer not responding.


What To Do When My Windows File Explorer Crashes Or Freezes?

You Can Perform The Following Methods To Fix Your Problem
– Disabling the preview pane
– Disabling thumbnails
– Disabling your UAC temporarily
– Disabling Dep and observing the outcome
– Launching the Windows folder in a separate process.
– Checking installed add-ons.

What Will Happen If One Ends The Windows Explorer In This Task Manager?

You should never try and terminate your windows explorer. Do it, accidentally or intentionally. You should know that terminating Windows Explorer will close any open File Explorer windows on your PC and make the Start menu, Taskbar, and System Tray unusable. 
However, restarting Explorer can be helpful.

The SFC Command Doesn’t Work On My Pc; What Do I Do?

In cases like these, alternatives to SFC exist. In such cases, you can run DISM. Open the command prompt and run it like before, then run these commands one by one and see if any of these does the trick for you.
DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth 
These commands will check whether any image has been flagged as corrupted, and then it will repair the errors automatically.

None Of These Options Worked Out For Me; What Should I Do Next?

You can also try other methods in case none works out, like disabling recent files or folders, resetting the taskbar, performing a clean boot, or restoring defaults.