Explorer.exe not responding

Do you often find yourself staring at your computer screen in frustration, waiting for explorer.exe to respond? You’re not alone. The ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue is a common problem faced by Windows users. In this article, we will dive into the reasons behind this issue and provide step-by-step solutions to fix it. Stay with us as we unravel the mysteries behind this pesky problem and help you restore your computer’s performance.

Explorer.exe not responding

Reasons for Explorer.exe Not Responding

1. Overloaded System Resources

One of the primary reasons for explorer.exe not responding is the overuse of system resources. When multiple programs or applications are running simultaneously, your computer’s memory and CPU usage may be maxed out, causing explorer.exe to slow down or become unresponsive.

2. Malware or Virus Infections

Malware or virus infections can cause explorer.exe to malfunction, ultimately leading to the ‘not responding’ issue. These malicious programs may consume system resources, corrupt files, or tamper with the Windows registry, affecting the stability of explorer.exe.

3. Corrupted or Missing System Files

Windows relies on essential system files to function correctly. If any of these files become corrupted or go missing, it can affect the performance of explorer.exe, causing it to stop responding.

4. Outdated or Incompatible Drivers

Outdated or incompatible drivers, particularly those related to graphics, can lead

‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue. Drivers are essential for communication between the operating system and hardware components. If there is a mismatch or outdated drivers, it can cause conflicts and performance issues with explorer.exe.

5. Third-Party Application Conflicts

Some third-party applications or software may interfere with explorer.exe’s normal functioning. This conflict can cause explorer.exe to stop responding or even crash.

How to Fix ‘Explorer.exe Not Responding’?

Fix 1: Restart Windows Explorer

Step 1: Open Task Manager

Press the ‘Ctrl’, ‘Shift’, and ‘Esc’ keys simultaneously to open the Task Manager. This key combination is a shortcut that allows you to access the Task Manager directly. Alternatively, you can right-click on the taskbar and select ‘Task Manager’ from the context menu.

Step 2: Locate Windows Explorer in Task Manager

Once the Task Manager is open, click on the ‘Processes’ tab, which should be the default view. Scroll down the list of processes to find ‘Windows Explorer.’ It may also appear as ‘explorer.exe’ in some versions of Windows.

Step 3: Restart Windows Explorer

Select ‘Windows Explorer’ or ‘explorer.exe’ by clicking on it once. In the bottom right corner of the Task Manager window, you’ll find the ‘Restart’ button. Click on this button to restart Windows Explorer.

Step 4: Verify Successful Restart

After clicking the ‘Restart’ button, you should see the taskbar and desktop icons disappear momentarily and then reappear. This process indicates that Windows Explorer has successfully restarted.

If the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue persists, you may need to explore other solutions mentioned in the previous article, such as updating drivers or running a System File Checker scan.

Fix 2: Update Your Drivers

Step 1: Open Device Manager

Press the ‘Win + X’ keys simultaneously to open the Quick Access menu. This key combination provides a shortcut to various system tools and settings. In the Quick Access menu, select ‘Device Manager’ to open the Device Manager window.

Step 2: Identify Devices to Update

In Device Manager, you will see a list of device categories, such as ‘Display adapters,’ ‘Network adapters,’ and ‘Sound, video, and game controllers.’ Click on the arrow next to each category to expand it and view the devices within.

Identify the devices you want to update. If you are experiencing the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue, focus on devices related to graphics, such as ‘Display adapters.’

Step 3: Update Drivers

Right-click on the device you want to update and select ‘Update driver’ from the context menu.

In the ‘Update Drivers’ window that appears, select ‘Search automatically for updated driver software.’ Windows will then search your computer and the internet for the latest driver software for your device.

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Step 4: Follow the Update Process

If Windows finds an updated driver, it will automatically download and install it. Follow any on-screen prompts or instructions to complete the driver update process.

In case Windows does not find an updated driver, you can visit the device manufacturer’s website to search for the latest drivers. Download the appropriate driver for your device and operating system, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install it manually.

Step 5: Restart Your Computer

After updating your drivers, restart your computer to ensure the changes take effect. Check if the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue is resolved. If the problem persists, consider trying other troubleshooting methods mentioned in previous articles, such as restarting Windows Explorer or running a System File Checker scan.

Fix 3: Run a Malware Scan

Step 1: Choose Antivirus Software

If you don’t already have antivirus software installed on your computer, select a reputable program to download and install. Some popular options include Avast, Norton, AVG, and Malwarebytes. Windows 10 and Windows 11 also come with a built-in antivirus called Windows Defender.

If you already have antivirus software installed, ensure it is up-to-date. Most antivirus programs will update automatically, but you can also check for updates manually in the software’s settings.

Step 2: Open Your Antivirus Software

Locate your antivirus software’s icon on your desktop, in your Start menu, or in the system tray (located in the bottom-right corner of the screen, near the clock). Click on the icon to open the antivirus software.

Step 3: Initiate a Full System Scan

In your antivirus software’s interface, look for a ‘Scan’ or ‘Full Scan’ option. This option may be found under tabs or sections labeled ‘Protection,’ ‘Security,’ or ‘Scan.’ Click on the ‘Scan’ or ‘Full Scan’ option to begin the malware scan process.

Keep in mind that a full system scan may take a considerable amount of time, depending on the size of your hard drive and the number of files on your computer. It is essential to be patient and allow the scan to complete.

Step 4: Review Scan Results

Once the malware scan is complete, your antivirus software will provide a report on any detected threats. Review this report carefully to understand the nature of the malware or viruses found on your computer.

Step 5: Quarantine or Remove Detected Threats

Follow your antivirus software’s instructions to quarantine or remove any detected threats. Quarantining a threat isolates it from the rest of your system, while removing a threat deletes it from your computer. After the quarantine or removal process is complete, restart your computer to ensure all changes take effect.

Step 6: Check for ‘Explorer.exe Not Responding’ Issue

Verify if the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue has been resolved. If the problem persists, consider trying other troubleshooting methods mentioned in previous articles, such as updating drivers, restarting Windows Explorer, or running a System File Checker scan.

Fix 4: Run System File Checker (SFC)

Step 1: Open Command Prompt as Administrator

Press the ‘Win + X’ keys simultaneously to open the Quick Access menu, which provides shortcuts to various system tools and settings. In the Quick Access menu, select ‘Command Prompt (Admin)’ or ‘Windows PowerShell (Admin)’ to open an elevated Command Prompt window. If prompted by User Account Control, click ‘Yes’ to proceed.

Step 2: Run the System File Checker

In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:

  • bash
  • Copy code
  • sfc /scannow
  • The SFC tool will now begin scanning your system for corrupted or missing files. This process may take some time, so it is essential to be patient and allow the scan to complete.

Step 3: Review SFC Results

Once the SFC scan is finished, you will see one of the following messages:

  • ‘Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations.’: This message indicates that no issues were found, and your system files are in good condition.
  • ‘Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.’: This message indicates that SFC detected and fixed corrupted files. A reboot may be required for the changes to take effect.
  • ‘Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.’: This message indicates that SFC detected corrupted files but could not repair them. In this case, you may need to use the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool to repair the system image.
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Step 4: Restart Your Computer (If Necessary)

If SFC successfully repaired corrupted files, restart your computer to ensure the changes take effect. After restarting your computer, check if the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue is resolved. If the problem persists, consider trying other troubleshooting methods mentioned in previous articles, such as updating drivers or restarting Windows Explorer.

Fix 5: Perform a Clean Boot

Step 1: Open System Configuration

  • Press the ‘Win + R’ keys simultaneously to open the Run dialog box.
  • In the Run dialog box, type ‘msconfig’ and press Enter or click ‘OK’ to open the System Configuration window.

Step 2: Disable All Non-Microsoft Services

  • In the System Configuration window, click on the ‘Services’ tab.
  • Check the box next to ‘Hide all Microsoft services’ at the bottom of the window. This action will filter out essential Microsoft services to prevent accidentally disabling them.
  • Click on ‘Disable all’ to disable all non-Microsoft services.

Step 3: Disable Startup Items

  • Switch to the ‘Startup’ tab in the System Configuration window.
  • Click on ‘Open Task Manager’ to open the Task Manager window with the ‘Startup’ tab selected.
  • In the Task Manager window, you will see a list of startup items. These are programs that automatically launch when your computer starts up. To disable a startup item, right-click on it and select ‘Disable’ from the context menu.
  • Disable all startup items one by one. Once you have finished disabling the startup items, close the Task Manager.

Step 4: Restart Your Computer

  • Click ‘OK’ in the System Configuration window to apply the changes and close the window.
  • Restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Your computer will now start with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs, which can help identify the problematic software causing the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue.

Step 5: Identify the Problematic Application

  • If the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue is resolved after performing a clean boot, the problem is likely caused by one of the disabled applications or services.
  • To identify the problematic application, re-enable the startup items and services one by one, followed by a system restart after each re-enablement. Keep an eye on the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue after each restart.
  • When the issue reoccurs, the last application or service re-enabled is likely the cause of the problem. You can then decide to uninstall, update, or permanently disable the problematic application or service.

Step 6: Restore Normal Startup

  • After identifying and resolving the issue, restore your computer’s normal startup settings by repeating steps 1-3, but this time, enable all the non-problematic services and startup items.
  • Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Fix 6: Clear File Explorer History

Clearing the File Explorer history can help resolve issues caused by corrupt or overloaded cache files. Here’s how to clear File Explorer history:

Step 1: Open File Explorer Options

  • Press the ‘Win + E’ keys simultaneously to open File Explorer.
  • Click on the ‘View’ tab at the top of the File Explorer window.
  • Click on ‘Options’ on the right side of the ‘View’ tab to open the ‘Folder Options’ or ‘File Explorer Options’ window.

Step 2: Clear File Explorer History

  • In the ‘File Explorer Options’ window, click on the ‘Privacy’ or ‘General’ tab.
  • Locate the ‘Clear File Explorer history’ section.
  • Click on the ‘Clear’ button to delete the history of recently accessed files and folders.
  • Click ‘OK’ to close the ‘File Explorer Options’ window.

Step 3: Restart Your Computer

Restart your computer and check if the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue is resolved.

Fix 7: Disable Thumbnail Previews

Disabling thumbnail previews can improve File Explorer performance by reducing the load on explorer.exe. Here’s how to disable thumbnail previews:

Step 1: Open Advanced System Settings

  • Press the ‘Win + X’ keys simultaneously to open the Quick Access menu.
  • In the Quick Access menu, select ‘System’ to open the System window.
  • Click on ‘Advanced system settings’ on the right side of the System window to open the ‘System Properties’ window.

Step 2: Modify Performance Settings

  • In the ‘System Properties’ window, click on the ‘Advanced’ tab.
  • Under the ‘Performance’ section, click on the ‘Settings’ button to open the ‘Performance Options’ window.
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Step 3: Disable Thumbnail Previews

  • In the ‘Performance Options’ window, click on the ‘Visual Effects’ tab.
  • Select ‘Custom’ and uncheck the box next to ‘Show thumbnails instead of icons.’
  • Click ‘OK’ to apply the changes and close the ‘Performance Options’ window.
  • Click ‘OK’ to close the ‘System Properties’ window.

Step 4: Restart Your Computer

Restart your computer and check if the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue is resolved.

Fix 8: Modify the Windows Registry

Modifying the Windows Registry can help resolve the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue caused by incorrect or conflicting registry values. Before proceeding, create a backup of your registry to prevent potential issues.

Step 1: Open the Registry Editor

  • Press the ‘Win + R’ keys simultaneously to open the Run dialog box.
  • In the Run dialog box, type ‘regedit’ and press Enter or click ‘OK’ to open the Registry Editor.

Step 2: Navigate to the Appropriate Registry Key

  • In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Step 3: Modify the ‘EnableSlowInfoCache’ Value

  • Right-click on the ‘Advanced’ key in the left pane, and select ‘New’ > ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’ from the context menu.
  • Name the new DWORD value ‘EnableSlowInfoCache’ and press Enter.
  • Double-click on ‘EnableSlowInfoCache’ to open its properties

Conclusion

The ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue can be frustrating, but there are several effective fixes available. Clearing File Explorer history, disabling thumbnail previews, and modifying the Windows Registry are three unique methods to address the problem. By following the detailed steps provided in this article, you can troubleshoot and resolve the issue, ensuring optimal performance and stability for your computer. Remember to always back up your system and take precautions when modifying registry values. With these fixes, you can restore your computer’s performance and eliminate the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ problem for good.

FAQs

What is ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue?

Explorer.exe not responding issue is when the Windows Explorer program freezes and becomes unresponsive.

What causes ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue?

Explorer.exe not responding issue can be caused by various factors, including corrupt system files, conflicting software, or malware infections.

How do I fix ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue?

There are several effective fixes for ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue, including updating drivers, running a malware scan, performing a clean boot, and modifying the Windows Registry.

How do I update drivers to fix the issue?

You can update drivers by accessing Device Manager, selecting the device, and clicking ‘Update Driver.’

How do I run a malware scan to fix the issue?

You can run a malware scan using reputable antivirus software and following the software’s instructions.

How do I perform a clean boot to fix the issue?

You can perform a clean boot by opening System Configuration, disabling non-Microsoft services and startup items, and restarting your computer.

Is modifying the Windows Registry safe?

Modifying the Windows Registry can be risky and should be done with caution. Always create a backup of the registry before making changes.

Can disabling thumbnail previews improve performance?

Yes, disabling thumbnail previews can reduce the load on explorer.exe and improve File Explorer performance.

What should I do if the issue persists?

If the ‘explorer.exe not responding’ issue persists after trying these fixes, consider seeking professional assistance or exploring further troubleshooting options.