How to Restart File Explorer in Windows 10/11 | NEW

If you're experiencing issues with File Explorer in Windows 10/11, restarting it can often solve the problem. This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to restart File Explorer to get it working smoothly again.

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Updated on

09 May 2024

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File Explorer is excellent for browsing, arranging, and accessing files on your computer. However, you'll find that you'll sometimes need to restart File Explorer to address particular issues or refresh its functions.

Restarting File Explorer can help in various scenarios, such as:

  • ❌Resolving unresponsive or frozen File Explorer windows.
  • 🗂️Fixing glitches or display issues within the File Explorer interface.
  • 💻Applying changes to system settings requiring File Explorer to be restarted.
  • ✅Addressing performance issues related to File Explorer.

If you're using Windows, you might face a challenge with File Explorer not responding or running slowly. This guide will demonstrate how to restart File Explorer and restore proper file management efficiently.

Let's begin and give you full control of your File Explorer! We'll discuss some fixes you can use to restart File Explorer.

Fix 1. Stop Windows Explorer in Task Manager and Restart

This is an excellent method if you've encountered glitches or performance issues with File Explorer.

Here is how you'll stop the Windows Explorer before you restart it in Windows 11.

Step 1. Go to "taskbar" and right-click on it.

Step 2. Under the options displayed, choose "Task Manager".

Step 3. Go to the "Process" tab in the Task Manager window, then scroll down to locate "Windows Explorer".

Step 4. Next, right-click on "Windows Explorer." Go ahead and pick "End task" from the menu.

click File Explorer and end task

Step 5. A confirmation dialog will appear. Click "End process." Your screen will go black, and the taskbar will disappear indefinitely, but don't panic.

Then, you can click any folder to restart the Windows File Explorer. This method is very helpful when the File Explorer is not responding in Windows. Share this simplest method on social media to help more readers!


Fix 2. Quit and Open Explorer.exe in Task Manager

This segment will delve into another effective fix by quitting and opening Explorer.exe via Task Manager. 

If you've encountered issues with File Explorer, like File Explorer not opening or the standard restart didn't do the trick, this method might be just what you need to refresh the Explorer process.

Let's jump in and explore the troubleshooting steps and rejuvenating File Explorer.

Step1. Open the Task Manager by pressing on "Ctrl" + "Shift" + "Esc" or right-click the Windows icon from the taskbar.

right-click the search box and choose Task Manager

Step 2. Under the "Processes" tab, scroll down to locate "Windows Explorer".

Step 3. Right-click on "Windows Explorer" and select "End task".

Step 4. A confirmation dialog will appear. Click "End process". Your screen will go black, and the taskbar will disappear indefinitely, so don't worry.

Restart Windows Explorer in Task Manager:

Step 1.  Open the Task Manager using the method above.

Step 2. Afterward, go to the "File" menu and select "Run new task".

ruin new task in Task Manager

Step 3. In the "Create new task" dialog box, type explorer.exe.


Step 4. Select "OK". 

After completing this step, you'll notice a brief flash, and the desktop, along with the taskbar, will reappear as usual.

Fix 3. How to Restart File Explorer with CMD

In this section, we will use a line of commands to kill the Explorer.exe process and start it. It's a manual way to restart File Explorer.

If the previous fixes haven't resolved your issues, this approach might provide the solution you're looking for.

Let's delve into the steps to restart File Explorer using CMD efficiently.

Step 1. You must search for "cmd" in the Windows search bar. Then open the "Command Prompt".

run CMD with search box

Step 2. Type taskkill /f /im explorer.exe command, then tap the "Enter" key.

input task kill command in CMD

Step 3. When you want to rerun it, type in start explorer.exe and tap "Enter".

After the first command, your screen will turn black. Enter the second command to return to your desktop.

Fix 4. Create a Batch File to Reboot File Explorer

A batch file is a text file packed with a bunch of commands that you can run using tools like CMD or PowerShell. You'll recognize them by their .bat extension. 

Step 1. Go to the "Windows search bar" and find the "Notepad" application.

Step 2. Now, type in the following commands:

taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
start explorer.exe

Step 3. Navigate to "File" and select the "Save As" option in the menu to save the file.

Step 4. In the Save as type, select "All Files" and add .bat to the end of the file name.

save the bat file

Now, simply double-click the file to run the commands. Your screen may briefly go black as File Explorer restarts. 

Restore Files Missing Because of Restarting File Explorer

Don't worry if you accidentally delete an essential file while restarting File Explorer. Simply employ EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

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EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard provides a quick solution for different data loss situations, allowing prompt file recovery without needing a full drive scan.

The software can recover deleted files, including documents, photos, videos, music, and email. It efficiently recovers files, selectively restores missing parts, and efficiently repairs corrupted videos with a full scan.

If recovery is unsuccessful, no charges apply. You can also preview files before restoration, navigating folders seamlessly, similar to Explorer functionality. When you encounter issues like File Explorer not showing files, that may be because files are accidentally deleted. Use the EaseUS recovery tool to get back missing files safely:

Step 1. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Choose the drive where you lost files and start scanning by clicking "Search for Lost Data". This software allows you to recover lost data from all devices, including HDD, SSD, USB drive, SD card, pen drive, camera, etc.

select a location to scan

Step 2. Browse the full scan results. You can choose the file type you need by clicking on the file type filter. EaseUS data recovery software supports 1000+ file types like photos, videos, documents, emails, audio files, and many more. 

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Select the files you want to preview. Click "Recover" and set a storage location or Cloud drive to save the recovered data. 

Recover lost data

If you found this guide helpful, feel free to share it with your friends and family members.



Restarting File Explorer in Windows 10/11 is quite simple. Remember, you can achieve this through various methods, like using the Task Manager, Command Prompt, or creating a batch file. These fixes will help to solve glitches with File Explorer. 

If you've lost some files while restarting, don't forget to download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This software will recover your data in a blink of an eye.

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Windows File Explorer Restart FAQs

In this section, you'll get more information on how you can restart File Explorer.

1. How can I restart File Explorer with command lines?

To initiate a restart of File Explorer through command lines, you must employ the Command Prompt.

Step 1. Press "Win" + "X," then choose "Windows Terminal" or "Command Prompt" from the menu.

Step 2. Enter the command taskkill /f /im explorer.exe and then press "Enter." This command will automatically stop the File Explorer process.

Step 3. Next, type in starts explorer.exe and press "Enter." This command will restart the File Explorer process.

2. Can I reset File Explorer to default settings?

Yes, you can reset File Explorer to its default settings

Step 1. Open File Explorer and go to the "View" tab.

Step 2. Click "Options" on the far right to open the Folder Options dialog box.

Step 3. Go to the "View" tab in the Folder Options window box.

Step 4. Select the "Reset Folders" button under the "Folder views" section.

Step 5. Click "Yes" to confirm the action.

3. How do I restart Windows File Explorer in Task Manager?

If you want to restart Windows, File Explorer Task Manager is an easy process. 

Step 1. Select "Task Manager" from the menu by right-clicking on the taskbar.

Step 2. Go to the "Processes" tab in the Task Manager window, scroll down, and locate "Windows Explorer." 

Step 3. Right-click "Windows Explorer" 

Step 4. Lastly, choose "Restart" from the menu.

This action will terminate the File Explorer process and automatically restart it.

  • Updated by

    Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time. …
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