File Explorer will not open in Windows 10

When File Explorer crashes or freezes, in Windows 10, it is a huge issue – mainly because the File Explorer has almost all the usable data. At times, it doesn’t display the option, when the user tries to launch explorer.exe to open some files. This is not exclusively a Windows 10 issue but has also been happening in Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well. Some users have experienced the issue that Windows File Explorer just will not open when they click on its icon.

Windows File Explorer will not open

If you face this issue here are a few things you could try.

1] Restart File Explorer

Select Ctrl + Shift + Esc and then select Task Manager from the menu. Find Windows Explorer and right-click on it, select End task. File Explorer will not open in Windows 10

Right at the top of the Task Manager window, you’ll find the File option. Click on it and select Run new task. You’ll then need to type in explorer.exe in the box. Click Enter.

Does this help?

2] Set File Explorer defaults

windows file explorer not opening

Open File Explorer Options (earlier known as Folder Options) from Start Search and do the following:

  1. Under General tab: Clear File Explorer History and press Restore Defaults
  2. Under View tab: Press Reset folders and Restore Defaults button.
  3. Under Search tab: Press Restore Defaults button.

Press Apply, OK, and exit.

Now try to open Explorer and see.

3] Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State

Boot your Windows in Clean Boot State and see if the problem persists or disappears. If you can open Explorer, it means that some third-party process or addon is interfering with its opening. You will need to troubleshoot manually and try to find the offending process.

4] Change display settings

Go to the Start button, choose Settings, and go to System. The Display tab would be selected by default on the list on the left.

Try adjusting sizes on your Display panel. For instance, change the size of your text to 100%, 125% and so on. But do not set it to 175%.File Explorer Won’t Open In Windows 10

And now check if you can access the Explorer to see if it’s working.

5]  Are faulty programs a reason?

Essential applications and anti-virus programme sometimes cause our system to fail. And users have agreed that more often than not, there File Explorer crashes due to a malfunctioning anti-virus software. And the Explorer resumes, once it is shut down from the Task Bar. This issue could be isolated by temporarily stopping or uninstalling suspicious applications and checking if it resolves the issue.

6] Create a new path for the Explorer shortcut

Right-click on the File Explorer icon and choose Unpin from the taskbar. Then again right-click anywhere on the desktop. From the menu that appears, choose New and then go to Shortcut to create a shortcut.

Type in C:\Windows\explorer.exe in the blank space on the Create Shortcut window. Click Next. You must remember to rename the file to File Explorer. Choose Finish.

Now, right-click on the new shortcut which you created and see if Explorer opens.

Please let us know if anything here helped you or if you have any other ideas to share.

These Explorer related fixes may also interest you:

  1. Explorer crashes when you right-click
  2. Windows Explorer Crashes in a particular Video folder in Windows
  3. Explorer, Office, Movie Maker crashes in Windows
  4. Explorer crashes when performing any taskbar operations in Windows.
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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.