[Full Guide] How to Start the Windows Explorer Exe

[Full Guide] How to Start the Windows Explorer Exe

/ Sed Galope

Before rebooting your Windows 10 system, try restarting Windows Explorer if you experience unresponsiveness with your taskbar, Start menu, or File Explorer. Windows 10’s Windows Explorer process, or Explorer.exe, is a program manager process responsible for launching and displaying most of the operating system’s graphical user interface elements, such as the desktop, taskbar, Start menu, File Explorer, and Action Center.

Although the process typically runs smoothly for long periods, one or more components may eventually malfunction, causing the entire Windows 10 system to freeze or become unresponsive. In such cases, users may instinctively resist pressing the power button to reboot the computer, but restarting the Explorer.exe process could resolve the issue without risking the loss of unsaved work.

The explorer.exe process is crucial for the graphical interface to function in Windows. Without it, the operating system would not be usable in a graphical mode. This Windows 10 guide will outline various methods for quickly restarting the Explorer.exe process to address UI-related problems.

Did the Taskbar Disappear in Windows 10? It’s Also Explorer.exe

If your Windows 10 Taskbar disappears, it could be due to a crash in the explorer.exe process, which can be resolved by restarting. The simplest solution is to restart your PC, but alternative ways exist to recover your desktop if you have unsaved work. Since Task Manager, Command Prompt, and other programs are not dependent on the Explorer process, you can still access them to launch and restart Explorer.exe.

How to Reset Explorer.exe Using Task Manager

There are at least two ways to reset the File Explorer process on Windows 10, both of which involve using Task Manager.

Restart File Explorer Using the Processes Tab

If you encounter common UI issues on Windows 10 and need to restart Explorer.exe using the Processes tab, follow these steps:

1. To quickly open Task Manager on Windows 10, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + ESC. While there are several ways to access the Task Manager, such as via the Ctrl + Alt + Del shortcut, the power user menu (Windows key + X), or the Start menu search function, the Ctrl + Shift + ESC shortcut is typically the most efficient method if you are experiencing UI-related issues.

2. When using the Task Manager in compact mode, you can access additional features by clicking the More Details button in the lower-left corner.

more details in task manager

3. Click on the Processes tab within the Task Manager.

4. Scroll down to the Windows processes section and locate Windows Explorer.

5. Right-click Windows Explorer and select Restart from the context menu.

(You can also click restart in the lower right corner.)

restart windows

After you have completed the steps above, the Explorer process will terminate and restart automatically. This should resolve common issues, such as unresponsive taskbars or an inability to open the Start menu or File Explorer.

Restarting Explorer Using the Details Tab

1. Open Task Manager and go to the Details tab.

2. Locate the explorer.exe process and click End Task.

end windows explorer task

3. In the prompt window, click End process.

end explorer process

4. Next, click the File menu and select Run a new task.

5. Enter explorer.exe to restart the process and click OK.

explorer exe new task

How to Restart the Explorer.exe Process Using Batch File

If you prefer, you can create a batch file that contains the necessary commands to terminate and restart the Windows Explorer process automatically. Follow these steps to do so:

1. Open the Start menu and search for Notepad. Click the top result to open the application.

search notepad

2. Copy and paste the following script into the text file:

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

start explorer.exe

taskkill command in bat file

3. Click on the File menu and select Save As.

4. Give the file a descriptive name and include the .bat file extension.

save restart explorer bat

5. Click on the Save button to save the file.

After completing the steps above, you can quickly reset the Windows Explorer process by double-clicking on the batch file you created. This should resolve any issues you are experiencing with the taskbar, Start menu, or File Explorer.

How to Restart Windows Explorer in Windows 10 via Command Prompt

Command prompt is a Windows shell that enables you to run commands by typing them and hitting the enter key on the keyboard. If you would rather use the command line or cannot access Task Manager, you can utilize Command Prompt’s kill and start commands.

1. Open the Start menu and type cmd.

2. Open the Command prompt and run as an administrator.

run as admin cmd

3. In the command prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

taskkill f im

4. Next, type the following command to restart the explorer process and press Enter:

start explorer.exe

start explorer exe in cmd

Restart Explorer.exe Using Exit Explorer Feature

Exit Explorer is a hidden feature in Windows 10 that enables you to quit Windows Explorer directly, bypassing the need to navigate through the Task Manager tabs. To use this feature, follow these steps:

1. Press the CTRL + SHIFT keys, then right-click on the taskbar or Start menu.

2. Select Exit Explorer.


Only the mouse pointer is visible if you have terminated the explorer.exe process and are stuck with a blank, black desktop.

3. Press CTRL + ALT + DEL and select Task Manager.

taskmanager menu

4. Next, click the File menu and select Run a new task.

run new task

5. Enter explorer.exe to restart the process and click OK.

explorer exe new task

How to Start Explorer.exe

While most of us use Task Manager to terminate processes, it’s important to remember that it can also be used to start them. If you are experiencing problems with explorer.exe and need to start it when it’s not working, here’s how to do it using Task Manager.

1. Press Win + X Shortcut keys and click Task Manager.

open the task manager

2. Click File and select Run new task.

run new task

3. In the dialog box, type explorer.exe and click OK to start windows explorer.

explorer exe new task

Discover the Power of Windows Explorer.exe: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting Started

Explore the full potential of Windows Explorer.exe with this comprehensive guide. Learn how to navigate your files and folders, manage your system, and unleash the true potential of your Windows operating system. Start your journey today!

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Start Windows.exe

Why Can I Not Restart Windows Explorer?

If you are having problems with Windows Explorer, it can be helpful to restart it. However, in some cases, restarting Windows Explorer can cause more issues than it solves. The most common reason you cannot restart Windows Explorer is if you have a corrupted user profile.

How Long Does It Take To Restart Explorer?

Explorer is a core component of the Windows operating system, so restarting it can help resolve many issues you may experience. Restarting Explorer usually takes less than one minute. To restart Explorer, press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys simultaneously to open Task Manager, right-click on “Windows Explorer,” and select “Restart.”

Does the Command Prompt Affect Explorer.exe?

The command prompt is not directly linked to the Explorer.exe process, as these are two separate components within a Windows operating system. The command prompt is an interface that allows users to enter commands to run programs and configure settings on a computer. In contrast, the Explorer.exe program is responsible for managing the graphical user interface (GUI) that you have.

What Is Explorer.exe?

Explorer.exe is a Windows executable file that runs the Windows graphical user interface (GUI). It’s also known as File Explorer, the Windows Shell Common Dll, or simply Explorer. It allows users to access their files and folders, search for items on the computer, access network locations, check out properties of certain files, manage their desktop items, and customize the Windows user interface.

Sed Galope
Meet the author

Sedfrey is an experienced writer and editor. He's also a PC hardware and gaming enthusiast. In his spare time, he enjoys reading about the latest innovations in the PC market and finding fixes to hardware and software errors.