Fix: Windows Explorer Not Responding On Windows

Is Windows Explorer not responding on Windows for some reason? Here's the ultimate guide that will help you fix this problem with ease.

Without the Windows Explorer function, our Windows operating systems would be practically unusable.

Windows Explorer is the primary way of navigating through directories and accessing files, so when it ends up freezing or not responding, it is indeed a frustrating problem.

Unfortunately, this does happen every once in a while and is a difficult enough problem to solve for the average PC user.

Luckily, we’ve prepared proven and working methods that will help you overcome this issue quickly and efficiently.

Not sure why file explorer is not responding on your PC. Find out in the guide below.

Table of ContentsShow

The Problem Explained

Many users, including the one who created this particular Reddit thread in which they address the same problem, describe it as “Windows Explorer constantly freezing and restarting,” which makes the feature completely unusable.

Clicking the File Explorer shortcut also does nothing. Instead, it should immediately open the main “home” window, where you can start browsing the files on your system.

Using the Windows operating system without this core feature is almost unimaginable, and not having access to it will definitely cause you to lose valuable time in the long run.

With that said, if you are experiencing the Windows File Explorer not responding problem, fixing it as soon as possible is strongly recommended.

Let’s take a look at how you can do that.

Fix 1: Manually Restart File Explorer In Task Manager

If you are experiencing a “temporary” and “lighter” version of the windows explorer not responding issue, manually restarting it using the Task Manager can fix it.

Since this is one of the easiest methods you can apply as a solution for this problem, we recommend doing it first as it can save you a lot of time if it ends up working.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Right-click your taskbar and choose Task Manager from the list of options.
  2. Click on Processes if the tab is not already selected by default.
  3. Under the Windows Processes tab, search for a process called Windows Explorer.
  4. Select it and click Restart, as shown in the image below.
Windows 10 File Explorer Not Responding

After Windows Explorer restarts, which should happen in just a few seconds after you execute the command, you should be able to use the feature normally and without experiencing the Windows 10 file explorer not responding problem anymore.

However, this might not always work, and if that’s your case, you can try the next method listed in the section below.

Fix 2: Restart The File Explorer Using Command Prompt

Although this method is fairly similar to the one listed above, restarting the Windows File Explorer through the Command Prompt has helped a lot of users, even when the previous one didn’t, so we recommend trying it just in case.

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Press Windows + R on your keyboard at the same time to open the Run app.
  2. Inside the Run window, type in cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter at the same time to open an elevated Command Prompt.

Inside the Command Prompt, type in the following command:

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

This will stop the Windows Explorer feature once executed. Then, you need to force-start it once more, and you can do that using the following command:

start explorer.exe

You can now close the Command Prompt and start using Windows Explorer again. It should now work without any problems.

If the problem persists, there are still other methods you can try. Move on to the next one in the section down below.

Fix 3: Use A Batch File To Restart Windows Explorer

If you find that restarting Windows Explorer helps you solve the problem temporarily, but then it returns after a while, we recommend using a batch file as it’s the fastest way to do this on the go whenever you find the feature not responding.  

Note: Simply put, batch files are script files that execute a command or a series of commands upon “activating” them. As they can be dangerous and contain malicious code when distributed by untrustworthy sources, we advise using such files only if you know exactly what their function is and if they’re coming from a trustworthy source.

Luckily, we’ll show you how to create your own .bat file, which will be your go-to Windows Explorer restart method whenever you need it.

Let’s get started:

  1. Create a new Text Document by right-clicking anywhere on an empty area on your desktop, then choose New and Text Document.
  2. You can name the file however you want, but we recommend naming it Windows Explorer Restart File, so you know exactly what it is. After naming it, open the file.
  3. Copy the following commands and paste them into the document:
    taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
    start explorer.exe
    exit
  4. Save the file by clicking File in the top-left corner of the Notepad, then Save As, and where it says File Name, add “.bat” at the end of the name. At the end of this procedure, the file needs to be called Windows Explorer Restart File.bat
  5. Right-click the file and choose Run As Administrator to launch it.

After launching the newly-created .bat file, it will restart Windows Explorer and hopefully fix the problem.

If this solves the problem only temporarily, use the file again once the File Explorer starts malfunctioning.

But, we should still try to fix the problem permanently, so move on to the next methods listed below if none of the solutions you tried so far solved it for good.

Fix 4: Run The Windows System File Checker Tool

Many users reported success with the windows explorer stops responding error after running the Windows System File Checker Tool.

This process takes a bit more time but is usually effective, and most of it is automated, meaning you don’t have to do anything other than waiting a few moments until it completes.

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Click on the windows search icon located in the bottom-left corner of your taskbar.
  2. In the search box, type in Command Prompt, then right-click it and select Run as Administrator.

This will launch the command prompt in an elevated mode, or as we commonly know it, Administrator mode.

Inside the Command Prompt, type in DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth, and then press Enter on your keyboard.

Note: This command will utilize the Windows Update service to replace any possibly-corrupt files that may be causing the Windows Explorer crash and freeze problem.

After the process completes, use the System File Scanner command, which also scans and replaces protected system files—replacing the possibly corrupt or broken ones with a cached, healthy copy.

To use the System File Scanner command, follow the steps below:

  1. In the already-opened elevated Command Prompt Window, type in sfc /scannow and press Enter on your keyboard.
  2. Wait until the process is complete. You can track the progress in the same window.

If you get a returning message saying, “Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations,” then you have nothing to worry about, and the problem is probably already solved.

However, if the returning message is “Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation,” then you have to repair the corrupted files manually.

Microsoft’s support team has an exceptional and easy-to-follow guide for this, and you can find it here.

This should help you fix the Windows Explorer Not Responding On Windows problem permanently, as it helped many other users.

Conclusion

Now you know how to fix file explorer not responding on your Windows OS and do it without too much tinkering and troubleshooting.

This can be a very frustrating issue as it makes your operating system practically unusable, but luckily, the solutions for it are easy to apply.

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Bojan Veselinovikj
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Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.