Explorer.exe Error Fix – How to Repair Explorer.exe
There are many hidden Microsoft processes without which Windows won’t be able to run properly. Explorer.exe is one of them.
What Is Explorer.exe?
The explorer.exe process is the Windows Graphical User Interface shell that is commonly known as Windows Explorer (not to be confused with Internet Explorer, the now obsolete browser). Its interface allows you to see everything on your computer in a user-friendly familiar way: your hard drives, folders, and files. In the latest versions of Windows, explorer.exe evolved and became a task-based file management system.
Why Am I Getting Explorer.exe Errors?
Most of the time the explorer.exe process works fine. But sometimes it becomes corrupted because of incorrect Windows updates, faulty apps, and corrupted registry entries. Not to mention that malware often targets the explorer.exe system process and infects it.
When that happens, everything except your desktop wallpaper disappears and all you can see is the background. Your icons, your taskbar, and even the Start button are gone. When that happens, most users feel stuck because they can’t do anything on their PC.
Most of the time, users see that explorer.exe didn’t load right after they turned on their computer or rebooted it after an update. However, some people experiencing their desktop disappearing randomly or when they try to start a program or open files.
How to Launch Explorer.exe Manually
When your explorer.exe starts acting up, the first thing you should learn is how to open it manually so that you could continue using your PC normally. The easiest way to do it is from the Task Manager:
- Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard to open the Task Manager
- If all you see is a simple Task Manager interface, click on More Details in the bottom-left corner
- Go to the Processes tab and see if Windows Explorer is there
- If yes, right-click on it and select Restart
If you don’t see Windows Explorer, press File – New task (Run) in the Task Manager. Then type explorer.exe in the new box and press Enter. Your desktop and everything should be back.
How to Fix Explorer.exe Errors
When you start experiencing explorer.exe problems, there are several things you can do to try to fix them. Here are some methods that should work.
Fix 1: Remove explorer.exe infections
This fix should help if your explorer.exe process became infected with malware. When that happens, false registry keys that resemble explorer.exe get added to the Windows registry.If you suspect that’s the case and your antivirus software doesn’t find anything, do the following:
1. Backup the Registry by creating a System Restore Point
2. Open the Task Manager (press Ctrl+Shift+Esc)
3. Click File – New Task (Run)
4. Type regedit in the Run box and then click OK
5. Browse to this registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution.options
6. If you see sub-keys named explorer.exe and iexplorer.exe under this key, delete them. These keys should not be listed under this key, which means they are a virus
7. Close the Registry Editor and restart your PC
This should restore explorer.exe to its working state and get rid of the virus.
Fix 2: Remove a faulty shell extension
Sometimes your Windows Explorer might crash because of a faulty shell extension. If that’s the case, the best way to fix the problem is to review your shell extensions (items in your right-click menu) and uninstall the ones that are causing the problem. You can use a free tool called ShellExView to do that.
Fix 3: Repair the registry
Another reason for explorer.exe errors is a corrupted Windows registry. When an entry becomes corrupted or is deleted during a program uninstall, explorer.exe settings often get messed up. As a result, your Windows Explorer starts acting strange and fails to work properly. It may cause your computer to freeze or even crash. And sometimes it just disappears, making your computer impossible to use. That’s when you need to run a good quality registry repair program that will remove empty keys, fix corrupted entries and repair broken shortcuts.
Run the program, reboot your computer and your explorer.exe errors should be gone for good.