9 Ways to Fix File Explorer Not Opening on Windows

File Explorer is the default file management tool that allows you to easily browse files, folders and drives. However, just like any other program, File Explorer is not without its problems. One such case is when File Explorer refuses to open.


Typically, you should be able to fix such problems by restarting your PC. So, it’s the first thing you should try. If that doesn’t work, you can use the following troubleshooting tips to fix the problem.


1. Try alternative ways to open File Explorer

On Windows, there are several ways to open File Explorer. So, if you’re having trouble opening File Explorer from the Start menu or taskbar, you can try other methods.

to press Win + R to open the Run dialog box. Guy explorer in the Open field and press log into.

You can also try opening File Explorer via a command line tool. Open the search menu to start Command Prompt or PowerShell. In the console, type Explorer and then press log into.

Alternatively, you can try the Victory + E keyboard shortcut to open File Explorer and see if it works.

If none of these methods work, move on to the next solution.

2. Restart the Windows Explorer process

Windows Explorer is a process responsible for providing the graphical user interface (GUI) for various utilities, including File Explorer. If the process encounters problems, File Explorer may not open or stop responding.

In most cases, you can fix any problems with the Windows Explorer process by restarting it. Here’s how to do it.

  1. to press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on the keyboard to open Task Manager.
  2. In the Processes tab, locate Windows Explorer. Right click on it and select Restart.

The taskbar will disappear for a few seconds before reappearing. After that, you should be able to open File Explorer on Windows.

3. Optimize advanced system settings

If restarting Windows Explorer doesn’t help, you can try tweaking some advanced system settings on your PC. That’s how:

  1. to press Victory + S to open the search menu.
  2. To type control Panel and press log into.
  3. Navigate to System> Advanced System Settings.
  4. Under the Performance section, click Settings button.
  5. Switch to Advanced tab and select the Programs option.
  6. Click the Change button in Virtual Memory.
  7. Check the box that reads Automatically manage paging file sizes for all drives.
  8. Blow To apply.

Restart your PC after this and try to open File Explorer again.

4. Clear the File Explorer history

File Explorer keeps track of all your searches so you can quickly access your files and folders. However, once this data becomes outdated, it hurts more than it helps. You can try clearing File Explorer history to see if that helps.

  1. Open the Start menuTo seek file browsing optionsand select the first displayed result.
  2. Under the General tab, click Clear button next to Clear the File Explorer history.

Restart your PC and see if you can open File Explorer.

5. Run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter

The System Maintenance Troubleshooter can automatically detect and repair any problems with desktop shortcuts, disk volume, file paths, and so on. Although Windows runs this troubleshooter regularly to ensure smooth operation, you can also run it manually if you are experiencing issues like the one discussed here.

Follow these steps to run the System Maintenance Troubleshooter.

  1. to press Win + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Guy check in the text field and press log into.
  3. Go to Troubleshooting.
  4. Select the System and security option.
  5. Click on System under maintenance and follow the onscreen instructions to run the troubleshooter.

6. Run the SFC and DISM scans

Such problems can occur if some system files on your PC are missing or damaged. System File Checker is a handy utility on Windows that can help you repair such system files. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. to press Win + X and select Terminal (administrator) from the list.
  2. To select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt is displayed.
  3. In the console, run the following command:

sfc /scannow

After the scan is complete, enter the following command to run the DISM (or Deployment Image Servicing and Management) scan. It will try to detect and repair any problems with the system image.

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

DISM will connect to Windows Update to download and replace damaged files if necessary. Note that it is normal for the scanning process to appear stuck in the middle. Do not close the terminal window and allow the process to complete.

7. Check for malware

If you are still having trouble opening File Explorer, it is possible that your PC is infected with malware. You can run a full system scan on your PC to rule out this possibility.

Here’s how to scan your computer with the built-in Windows security app:

  1. Guy Windows security in the search bar and press log into.
  2. Navigate to Virus and threat protection form.
  3. Click on Scan options.
  4. To select Full scan and hit the Scan now button.

The app will thoroughly scan your computer’s files and notify you if any threats are found. You can also scan your PC with a third-party antivirus program of your choice.

8. Install Windows updates

A faulty Windows build can also lead to such anomalies. If so, updating to a newer (hopefully more stable) version should help most of the time. You can check for any pending updates by going to Windows update section in Settings app.

Download and install any system updates, then see if you can access File Explorer.

9. Reset your PC

Finally, if none of the above solutions work, you may need to choose the nuclear option to reset your PC. However, before doing this, you need to backup all your data. If you need help, check out our guide on how to back up your Windows PC to the cloud for more on that.

Once you’ve backed up all your important files, you can start restoring your PC. Refer to our guide to learn about the various methods to reset your Windows computer to factory settings and follow the steps listed there.

Troubleshooting File Explorer on Windows

We hope that one of the solutions listed above worked and that you can access File Explorer again. However, if you’ve gotten tired of these recurring problems, there are plenty of File Explorer alternatives for Windows out there.

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