Is Your Windows File Explorer Not Responding? Here’s How To Fix It

By | March 12, 2022

File Explorer is the best for navigating Windows, which makes it even worse when it decides to crash on you. Here’s how to fix it.

File Explorer is a fantastic tool for navigating through files and folders in Windows 10. It gives us a graphical user interface that makes it easy to browse files and folders.

Unfortunately, there are times when it stops responding or is inaccessible to Windows users. When your desktop icons freeze, the taskbar disappears randomly, and File Explorer often fails to respond, this means something is wrong with File Explorer. With that said, here are eight fixes that you can try to resolve this issue with File Explorer.

Restart File Explorer

When Windows has a nagging problem, sometimes a quick restart is enough to get it back on track. Giving apps and software a fresh start sometimes solves most of the problems you’ll have with them.

Having said that, let’s first try troubleshooting by restarting File Explorer. To do that, you must end the File Explorer (or Windows Explorer) process running in the Task Manager. To do this, follow these steps:

Notes: File Explorer may be named Windows Explorer on some systems.

  • open task manager with left click on taskbar.
  • In the list, find File Explorer (or Windows Explorer) and left click on it.
  • Click End task to close File Explorer (or Windows Explorer).
  • In task manager, click tab File, then click Run new task.
  • In the box, type explorer.exe and click OK.

Check to see if restarting File Explorer has fixed the problem. If not, continue to the next step.

Delete File Explorer History

To make it easier to navigate and manage files, drivers, and folders, File Explorer also saves previous entries in its history. It is possible that cached data in File Explorer history may cause the service to behave abnormally.

Follow the steps below to clear File Explorer history:

  • open Control Panel Windows.
  • Navigate to File Explorer Options.
  • Click button clear right next door Clear File Explorer History under tab General.

Restart your computer and see if File Explorer is now working. If this fix doesn’t work, move on to the next one.

Free Up Some Space on Your Hard Drive and Delete Temporary Files

If your primary drive has insufficient storage space, you may find that Windows applications and tools are not working for no apparent reason. Consider freeing up some space to ensure that insufficient storage is not an issue here. Windows requires at least 2 GB of storage to function properly.

To keep things running smoothly, consider deleting Windows temporary files. Depending on the last time you did a cleanup, it might not only improve your system’s performance but also free up most of the space you could use.

To clear everything, press the button Windows + R to open command run. Type “%temp%” and press OK. Then, delete the files from the folder temp Windows.

Solve Memory Related Problems

Every running application uses some of your RAM resources to function. Running too many applications at once can cause these resources to become clogged, and the application may not find sufficient resources to continue processing. Low memory availability causes the crashes, unresponsive errors, and disk space-filled pop-ups that you see frequently.

Consider closing some apps you don’t use to see if that helps. Sometimes, it’s not a mess of resources that causes the problem but a hidden issue with your RAM that the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool can detect. Before you do that, make sure you close all applications and save your work adequately.

Type “Memory” in the Windows search box and open Windows Memory Diagnostic. choose Restart now and check for problems (recommended) from the options in the popup to start the scan immediately. Once done, the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool will scan and resolve any existing memory-related issues.

If this doesn’t work, move on to the next step.

Update Video Driver

According to Microsoft Support, outdated video drivers are one of the causes of errors and lags in File Explorer. Since File Explorer controls all your navigation in Windows, having outdated drivers can cause it to malfunction.

You can update your video driver by following these steps:

  • Navigate to Device Manager by tapping the Start icon.
  • Expand category Display adapters.
  • Right click on the video adapter and select Driver Updates.
  • Click Search automatically for drivers.

Consider updating all video drivers on your device if you have more than one. Run File Explorer again after updating the video adapter to see if the problem persists.

Change Windows Display Settings

Scrambled display and layout scale can also stop File Explorer. That’s why Windows recommends keeping it at 100%. Make sure it’s not set higher than that level.

To change the display settings, open the Windows settings application. Then, click System and navigate to settings Display in the left sidebar. Make sure size of text, apps, and other items set to 100% (recommended).

Run a Malware Scan

If none of the fixes above help, you should run a system scan to rule out any viruses or malware that is plaguing your system. A great built-in tool for this is Microsoft Windows Defender.

Here’s how you can access and run a scan with Windows Defender:

  • Type “Windows Security” in the Windows search box.
  • Open the app Windows Security.
  • Navigate to Virus and Threat Protection in the left sidebar.
  • Tap Quick Scan.

Windows Defender will perform a deep scan of your computer and notify you of any threats it will find. You also have the option to run a deeper scan by going to Scan options under Quick scan box.

Boot Your System In Safe Mode

Launch your system in safe mode to further eliminate the possibility of internal computer problems interfering with File Explorer. This mode loads your computer with very few Windows files.

If booting into Safe Mode fixes the problem, it’s a sign that a third party program, service or driver is the cause of your woes. Having said that, try uninstalling some of the latest apps and updating your drivers until the problem goes away. If not, it’s a sign that you need to factory reset the system.

Get File Explorer Back To Life

Hopefully, one of the fixes listed above has helped your File Explorer breathe again. There are many different causes, so be sure to try them all before unplugging and reinstalling Windows 10.

Did you know there are lots of different ways to open file explorer apart from restarting from task manager? If the task manager is giving you problems, try restarting File Explorer from a command prompt or via a batch file.