Windows: How to Restart the File Explorer?

Windows: How to Restart the File Explorer?

By julianapardogonzalez

Sometimes the software can have issues, for example when the PC is working slowly, it takes time to be on, or when it is blocked for any reason, among other things. 

Well… In this article, we are going to talk about one of the issues. Specifically, when the Windows Start menu or taskbar starts acting up, or you have trouble using File Explorer or Windows Search. And as a solution, you do not need to have to perform a complete system. 

Instead, restart the Windows Explorer process, and the problem will disappear. That it is also a quick way to apply changes to the graphical user interface and the system registry. 

There are several methods to restart Windows File Explorer in Microsoft Windows versions 10 and 11. We will see each of them below! 

Restart the Explorer Process via Task Manager 

The easiest way to restart Windows Explorer is to use the Task Manager app in both versions of Windows 11 and 10. 

  1. Right-click the icon Start button and select Task Manager. If the Start button is unresponsive, use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc command to instantly open Task Manager. 
  2. Select More details to expand the default Task Manager view. 
  3. Then, pick Windows Explorer under the Processes tab. If a File Explorer window is open, you will find it at the top of the list. If this information is not provided, scroll to the bottom to get to it. 
  4. Choose the Restart button in the bottom right corner. And wait the Windows user interface to disappear and reappear. 
  5. Exit the Task Manager.  

Alternatively, you can quit Windows Explorer manually. To do that: 

  1. Right-click the icon Start button and select Task Manager. Then, it will appear a pop-up window with all the tasks, mark it and select End task.  
  2. Select File > Run new task on the menu bar. 
  3. Type explorer.exe and press Enter. 


In Windows 10, it is possible to shut down Windows Explorer without the Task Manager. Press Ctrl + Shift, right-click a vacant area within the taskbar, and select Exit Explorer. 

You Can Use the Command Prompt or Create a BAT File 

If you are a command line geek, you can use the Command Prompt console or Windows PowerShell to restart File Explorer just like that! 

  1. Press Windows Key + R, then type cmd into the Run dialog, and press Enter. Or, right-click the Start icon and select Windows PowerShell/Terminal
  2. Now, execute the following commands one after the other: 
    • taskkill /f /im explorer.exe 
    • start explorer.exe 
    • exit 

Another way is to add the commands into a batch file (BAT) if you want a nifty desktop shortcut that you can double-click to restart explorer.exe. To do that: 

  1. Right-click a vacant desktop area and select New > Text Document on the context menu. 
  2. Now, double-click the New Text Document file on your desktop. 
  3. Copy the three commands above into the Notepad document. 
  4. Elect Save

Restarting Windows File Explorer 

It is important knowing how to reboot the File Explorer process in versions of Windows 10 and 11 because it helps you save precious seconds (or even minutes) compared to a total operating system reboot. Do not forget to create a BAT file if you want to speed things up. 

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