How to kill explorer.exe in Windows 8/7/Vista in 3 clicks

There may be times when you may want to kill explorer.exe in Windows, maybe because your Windows explorer freezes frequently.  The usual way of terminating the explorer process in Windows 8/7/Vista is through the Task Manager.

Kill explorer.exe

kill explorer.exe

You right-click the Taskbar, open Task Manager, select Process Tab, right-click explorer.exe and select End Process.

But Windows Vista & Windows 7 actually offers you a faster way to do it … in 3 clicks!

Click Start button > Hold down Ctrl+Shift & Right Click on an empty area in the Start Menu > Click “Exit Explorer”.

To re-start it, you will have to do so as usual through the Task Manager. Click Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select Start Task Manager or press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Then launch explorer.exe manually.

Windows 10/8 offers the context menu option to Kill explorer (End Task) as well as Restart Explorer in its Task Manager.


In Windows 10/8.1, you can even exit explorer using the Taskbar context menu. You will see the option to Exit explorer. Thanks Jeremy for this small but useful tip.

Right Click Restart Explorer adds Restart Explorer option to Context Menu. How to restart Windows Explorer easily with a shortcut may also interest you.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
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.


  1. Jeremy

    In windows 8.1 you can also do it by pushigh ctrl+shift and right clicking on the task bar then it will give you an option to exit explorer

  2. Hey, this one was new to me. Will update post. Thanks.

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