How to restart Windows File Explorer easily in Windows 10

If for some reason, you need to restart your Windows File Explorer in Windows 10/8/7, this is the procedure you can follow. You may use the Task Manager, a desktop shortcut or the Context Menu.

Restart Explorer

In Windows 7, you would start the Task Manager. Select explorer.exe from the processes, and click on the End Process button.

This would kill explorer.exe.

Next, you’d click on File tab, choose New task (Run…), type explorer.exe in the box and click OK.

This will restart explorer.exe.

Windows 10/8 offers the context menu option to Restart Explorer in its Task Manager.

restart explorer

Alternatively, if you find that your explorer.exe freezes frequently or you are really into experimenting and testing customizations, creating a desktop shortcut to restart explorer would definitely be a more convenient option!

To do so, copy-paste the following in a Notepad and and save it as (All files) as a .bat file. Name it as RestartExplorer.bat, if you wish!

@echo off
taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
start explorer.exe

That’s it!

Right Click Restart Explorer adds Restart Explorer option to Context Menu – you might want to check it out!

How to kill explorer.exe in 3 clicks may also interest you.

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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, 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.

9 Comments

  1. eee

    There’s a way to close Explorer manually without forcibly killing it in XP too.
    Click Start menu -> Shut Down -> press and hold Ctrl+Alt+Shift -> click Cancel.

  2. You can do it using powershell as well.

    stop-process -name explorer -force
    start-process explorer

  3. Andrew Azmi

    Nice Tip , Good Work

  4. No One

    Doesn’t work in XP Home, just opens a file manager window.

  5. potato head

    Thank you, very helpful shortcut 🙂

  6. JB

    Or you just cluck the start button the whist holding control and shift right click in a blank space on the start menu. You’ll get two options appear; Properties and Close Explorer.

    This way you can actually stop explorer properly without killing the process.

    Then restart it from task manager.

  7. rr

    Cant believe all the inane suggestions here after the OP’s suggestion…what do people not get about single click vs multiple..thanks Anand ! My Taskbar in W7 for the most part doesnt autohide and this is the only resolution that will work for me.

  8. Ethan Campbell

    Still works on Windows 10.

  9. Wayne_B

    Windows 10 if you right click Windows Explorer process in Task Manager you can restart it. Worked to bring back the volume icon.

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