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Explorer.exe System Call Failed (Fixes and Causes)

If the 'explorer.exe system call failed' error occurs when you trying to launch the Windows File Explorer, do not panic. This page covers multiple solutions to help you fix the issue and restart the File Explorer.

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Updated on May 31, 2024

I am running Windows 10 Home. In the last several weeks, I have been unable to open File Explorer from either the Task Bar or any window. Whenever I do, I get a pop-up error message saying, "System Call Failed." I only apply system patches when Microsoft releases them. And I am not doing anything unusual or esoteric ... primarily using Office 2010 and the Office 2010 photo editing tool. I cannot think of anything that was going on when this problem occurred.Microsoft Forums

Do you encounter similar problems? This is when the "Explorer.exe System Call Failed" error occurs. Although the error may seem scary, it can be easily fixed with several methods. Read this guide from EaseUS to solve your problem.

What is the System Call Failed Error

Explorer.exe is one of the essential system processes of Windows OS. After turning on the computer, the executable module appears in the Task Manager. This executable module includes the Start menu, Taskbar, Desktop, and File Manager. When you log in to Windows, this process begins automatically and runs continuously until the computer shuts down.

The Explorer.exe System Call Failed error occurs when opening File Explorer on a Windows 10 or 11 PC. It usually happens when an operation prevents the explorer.exe system file from operating correctly or when the file is damaged. The error causes the File Explorer to suddenly crash, hang, or freeze, preventing users from accessing files on their PC.

How to Fix Explorer.exe System Call Failed - 8 Solutions

There are several reasons why the "Explore.exe System Call Failed" error notice appears on the system. We will provide 8 solutions for you to solve the problem. Here is a list of the solutions:

  1. Solution 1. End Explorer.exe Process in Task Manager
  2. Solution 2. Clear File Explorer Cache
  3. Solution 3. Check Hard Drive Errors
  4. Solution 4. Repair Corrupted Registry
  5. Solution 5. Run an Antivirus Scan
  6. Solution 6. Perform a Clean Boot
  7. Solution 7. Perform a System Restore
  8. Solution 8. Reset Your PC

💡Note: Try restarting your Windows 10/11 PC before proceeding with the technical methods, as restarting your PC may remove caching data, release RAM, and resolve specific other issues.

Solution 1. End Explorer.exe Process in Task Manager

An easy and quick fix for the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error is by ending the Explorer.exe process via Task Manager and restarting it. The steps are as follows:

Step 1. Press "Ctrl + Shift + Esc" to open Task Manager.

Step 2. Find Windows Explorer under the Process tab in the Task Manager window.

open task manager

💡Note: Ensure that Windows Explorer is open on your PC.

Step 3. Right-click Windows Explorer and choose "End task" from the context menu. The taskbar and desktop will temporarily disappear as the explorer.exe process has stopped

Step 4. To restart Windows Explorer, click the Run new task button next to Processes. In the Create new task pop-up window, type explorer.exe and press "OK". This will restart Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) and bring back your taskbar and desktop.

launch explorer

These steps will let you end and restart the explorer.exe process, which should fix the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error.

If you encounter problems when opening Task Manager, you can read the article below for help.

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Task Manager Not Opening or Responding in Windows

This article from EaseUS provides some solutions for you to fix Task Manager not opening or responding errors.

task manager

Solution 2. Clear File Explorer Cache

If you are experiencing unexpected problems with the explorer.exe process, a corrupted File Explorer cache might be the issue. So, you need to delete the Windows Explorer cache to fix the problem as given below:

Step 1. Open the Control Panel and search for "File Explorer Options" through the search bar.

open file explorer

Step 2. Click "General" tab in the pop-up window.

open general tab

Step 3. Navigate to the heading Privacy and click "Clear" next to "Clear File Explorer" history. Click "Apply" and then press "OK" to save the changes.

This will clear the File Explorer cache so you can fix the problems with the explorer.exe process. You can also learn to clear cache in windows 10 to optimize your disk performance and free up disk space. 

Solution 3. Check Hard Drive Errors

A malfunctioning hard drive is another possible reason for the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error. Thus, you can use the Check Disk (CHKDSK) program to detect and fix disk issues using the third-party tool.

EaseUS Partition Master Free is a free disk partitioning program for Windows users. The tool can create, remove, resize, transfer, split, shrink, enlarge, erase, format, copy, or clone partitions on removable storage devices such as memory cards, USB drives, HDDs, and SSDs.

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Here is a guide on how to fix the error:

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master on your computer. Then, locate the disk, right-click the partition you want to check, and choose "Advanced" > "Check File System".

choose Check Partition

Step 2. In the Check File System window, keep the "Try to fix errors if found" option selected and click "Start".

check the pop-up instructions

Step 3. The software will begin checking your partition file system on your disk. When it completes, click "Finish".

finish partition check

This tool can effectively help you in disk management and maintain the quality of your hard drive. It has an extensive feature set, which includes the Check File System tool. This tool is one of EaseUS Partition Master Free's most notable functions. Its purpose is to identify and fix damaged system files on your drives. Its features include checking partition errors, fixing corrupted files, maintaining data integrity, etc.

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Solution 4. Repair Corrupted Registry

Sometimes, corrupted or broken system files or system file images could be the cause. Thus, you can use the Windows Terminal  (Admin) tool to run the SFC and DISM commands to completely remove the possibility of corrupted system files.

Let us start by running the DISM command in the following order:

Step 1. Right-click the Windows Start icon and select "Terminal (Admin)". Click "Yes" in the User Account Control window.

Step 2. Enter the commands below, and wait for each command to scan:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth

cmd scan health

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

cmd restore health

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Startcomponentcleanup 

cmd clean health

sfc /scannow

cmd sfc scannow

Running the DISM commands will check for corruption in Windows images. Find and repair any corruptions, and clean up the WinSxS folder by removing unnecessary files. 

Read this article to learn more about Registry:

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How to Fix Broken Registry Items on Windows 11

Are you facing broken or corrupt registry items issues on your Windows 11? The top 6 methods to fix broken registry items are here for you.

fix broken registry

Solution 5. Run an Antivirus Scan

Malware can cause numerous kinds of crashes on Windows. So, malware on your computer might cause the error.

Many antivirus programs, such as Windows Security, allow you to scan for malware. You can also use antivirus programs like TotalAV, which are available for Windows. Total AV is a reliable antivirus program in free and commercial editions. It stops attacks, checks for viruses, and offers real-time security. So, do an antivirus scan and check whether the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error disappears.


TotalAV is an Award Winning Antivirus and Security Software. It Provides Real-Time Protection from Viruses, Malware & Online Threats.

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Solution 6. Perform a Clean Boot

The Explorer.exe System Call Failed error may occasionally appear due to a third-party program interfering with the Explorer.exe process. Thus, you can disable all third-party startup items and services to troubleshoot this issue by performing a clean boot. This is how you perform a clean boot:

Step 1. Start by logging in as the administrator on your PC.

Step 2. Press "Windows + R" and type msconfig, and press "OK" to open the System Configuration window.

Step 3. Click "Service", and select "Hide all Microsoft" services, and then choose "Disable All". Click "Apply" to save the changes.

hide microsoft services

Step 4. Click "Startup" in the System Configuration window and select "Open Task Manager".

Step 5. In the Startup apps on the left pane in Task Manager, select each enabled startup app, right-click, and choose "Disable" from the context menu.

💡Note: Remember the items that have been disabled, as you might need them later.

Step 6. Close the Task Manager and click "OK" in the System Configuration window. Next, restart your PC, starting in a clean boot environment. Try to open File Explorer to see if the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error persists.

If you re-enable all startup programs and services after fixing the error with a clean boot, it will likely happen again. So, by gradually re-enabling the service items and then disabling them, you can attempt to figure out which service is causing the error.

Solution 7. Perform a System Restore

For Windows 10/11 OS, System Restore is an excellent tool for restoring the system to a previous, error-free condition. You can perform this method if you continue getting the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error.

In case of an installation problem or data damage, System Restore restores the computer to its original state by using previously saved copies of essential system files and registries.

To prevent unintentional data loss, backup your data to an external storage device before trying this approach. Also, a System Restore point must be established well in advance.

If you have set up this tool, follow the instructions below:

Step 1. Press "Windows + I" to open Settings and click "System". Next, scroll down and choose "Recovery".

open recovery from windows system

Step 2. On the Recovery page, click the Restart now button next to Advanced startup. Click Restart now again when prompted.

advanced startup

Step 3. Once your computer restarts on a blue screen, choose Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System > System Restore.

Step 4. The setup process will ask you to enter your username and password if required. Next, select "Choose" for a different restore point option and click "Next".

Step 5. After selecting the restoration point you want to return to, click "Next".

Step 6. After choosing the restore point, click Finish to start the system restore process. Please wait for the process to complete and return Windows 11 to its original configuration. Once the system restore is complete, the system call failed error will be resolved.

Solution 8. Reset Your PC

When you choose to factory reset PC, it will return to its original default configuration. While this is an extreme measure, it is probably the best way to fix the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error.

Make sure that you have current backups of your data before performing a factory reset. All your installed programs and, sometimes, your files will be deleted if you perform a factory reset.

Applying a factory reset is often accomplished by using the Reset This PC tool. Let us see how:

Step 1. Open Windows Settings and navigate to System > Recovery.

Step 2. Under the heading Recovery options, click "Reset PC".

reset this pc

Step 3. In the pop-up window that appears, choose one of the options:

  • Keep files: This option removes apps and settings on your PC but keeps your personal files.
  • Remove everything: This option removes all personal files, apps, and settings.

Step 4. You will see a screen asking how you want to reinstall Windows. Choose "Cloud Download" if you want to reinstall Windows 11 via the cloud or the Local reinstall option to install Windows 11 locally. Next, finish the PC reset by following the on-screen instructions.

Common Causes of System Call Failed

Given below are a few causes of the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error:

  • Corrupted system files: Corrupted files on a PC could cause the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error. Perform an SFC scan to fix the issue.
  • Malware & virus infection: Viruses on your PC can cause the system to crash and cause error. So, clean your PC with an antivirus program.
  • Program conflict: The error can result from conflicts between multiple applications. This is particularly frequent when multiple programs attempt to access the same files or system resources simultaneously. To fix this, try shutting down unnecessary applications or doing a clean boot to start Windows with the fewest drivers and startup apps.
  • Issues with Windows Registry: The system call failed error may occur if the registry becomes corrupted or any entries are modified. To resolve this, you can try using a reliable registry cleansing or repair tool. Note that making the wrong registry changes can result in significant system issues.

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System errors frustrate us because they interfere with our work and lead to problems. The Explorer.exe System Call Failed error is one such issue that can occur for several reasons, including corrupted registries, program conflicts, and more. We hope that the solutions covered in this post enabled you to resolve this issue and restore the use of your computer.

Although performing a system restore will likely resolve this issue, the error might still exist. If that occurs, consult a specialist or install a new Windows on your computer. We also recommend users resort to EaseUS Partition Master. With its advanced features, you can check for hard drive errors to resolve the problem.

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FAQs on Explorer.exe System Call Failed

If you have more questions regarding the Explorer.exe System Call Failed error, check the frequently asked questions and their answers given below:

1. What happens if explorer.exe is killed?

Several important Windows user interface components, such as File Explorer windows, System tray icons and taskbar apps, Desktop icons, taskbar, and Start menu, are impacted when the explorer.exe process terminates. However, if the Explorer.exe process ends, you can restart it. 

2. Is explorer.exe always running?

Yes, explorer.exe is always running on a Windows PC, as the Windows GUI shell manages your PC's desktop icons, taskbar, and Start menu. Note that even if Explorer.exe is constantly operating, it should not consume many system resources when you are not using File Explorer or another relevant app.

3. Why is File Explorer not responding?

There are several reasons why File Explorer might not function, including corrupted system files, large files or directories, outdated or damaged drivers, third-party shell extensions, malware or viruses, etc.

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About the Author

Updated by Oliver

Oliver is an EaseUS professional writer who dares explore new areas. With a passion for solving tech issues with straightforward guides for common users, Oliver keeps honing his writing craft by developing in-depth solutions for disk and partition management, computer boot-up issues, file transfer, etc.

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