Windows File Explorer crashes, freezes or has stopped working

If your Windows File Explorer crashes or freezes or you see an error message – Windows Explorer has stopped working & is restarting, on your Windows 10/8/7 computer, then this post will help you fix the Explorer freezing or crashing issues.

The Explorer in the Windows operating system, helps us browse our files, folders, and other data on our computer. You may face a problem at some point in time when you find that your Explorer crashes or freezes frequently. Additionally, you may also receive the following message:

Windows File Explorer has stopped working

Windows File Explorer has stopped working

This tutorial includes some troubleshooting steps that will help you address the Windows Explorer crashing or freezing issues. Quite possibly its one of your installed programs which may be interfering with the smooth functioning of explorer.exe. You may have to try them all. Hopefully one of the suggestions should help you. If an option doesn’t help you, you may want to restore it back to its default, where applicable & possible.

Go through the entire list first before you decide to implement any of our suggestions and remember to create a system restore point first so that you can always restore should the changes not be to your expectations.

Explorer crashes or freezes

1) First and foremost ensure that your Windows is up-to-date, and all Windows Updates have been installed. Next, scan your computer for malware. If you have bought a new Windows 10/8/7 laptop, maybe some pre-installed craplets are interfering with explorer.exe. Remove unwanted trialware and de-crapify your machine then.

2) See if you a System Restore makes the problem go away.

3) Run Check Disk.

4) Disable the Preview Pane in File Explorer and see if it helps. To disable the Preview Pane, click Organize > Layout > Preview Pane.

5) Disable Thumbnails and see if this stops the problem. To do so, open Folder Options > View tab > Check  Always show Icons, never thumbnail. Also, remove the check for the option to Display file icon on thumbnails. Click Apply/OK.

6) Disable UAC temporarily and see if it helps.

7) Disable DEP or NoExecute Protection. Do note that Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is a security feature that can help prevent damage to your computer from viruses and other security threats. Harmful programs can try to attack Windows by attempting to run (also known as execute) code from system memory locations reserved for Windows and other authorized programs. These types of attacks can harm your programs and files. DEP can help protect your computer by monitoring your programs to make sure that they use system memory safely. If DEP notices a program on your computer using memory incorrectly, it closes the program and notifies you.

To do so, Run command prompt as Administrator. Then copy paste the following and hit Enter:

bcdedit.exe /set {current} nx AlwaysOff

This has been known to help in Windows 10/8/7/Vista.

8) Launch the folder windows in a separate process and see if it helps. To do so, open Explorer. Click Organize > Folder & Search Options > View > Advanced Settings > Check ‘Launch folder windows in a separate process’ > Apply > OK.

9) Installed Add-ons are usually the culprit! Check if you have installed any helpers or add-ons to your explorer. Uninstall or disable them. Often, even 3rd-party shell extensions can cause Explorer to crash on particular actions. Several programs add items to the right-click context menu. To see them in detail, you may download the freeware utility ShellExView.

Explorer crashes or freezes

It will let you view & disable suspect 3rd party shell extensions. Using trial & error method, you may disable/enable the extensions to try and identify if any of them are causing a problem. ShellExView can also be used for solving context menu problems in Explorer, like, say, if the right-click is slow.

10) Run sfc /scannow and at the end reboot if the system file checker asks for it. The System File Checker will on reboot, replace corrupt system files if any are found.

11) Type wercon in your Start Menu Search bar and hit enter to open the Problem Reports & Solutions Center. In the right side panel, click on View Problem History and navigate to where the problems for Explorer.exe may be mentioned. Double-click on the report to open it and see if anything there helps you.

12) Outdated or corrupt video drivers can cause Windows Explorer to stop working. Update your drivers and see if it helps.

13) Start your Windows in Safe Mode and see if you can recreate the problem. If the problem has disappeared, then it’s probably some startup program which is interfering with the smooth functioning of Explorer. Perform a Clean Boot and try to troubleshoot and identify the offending program.

14) Run the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool to check for possible memory problems, including testing of the Random Access Memory (RAM) on your computer.

15) This post will help you if Explorer crashes when you right-click.

If something helped you, do let us know what did.

These Explorer related fixes may also interest you:

  1. Windows Explorer Crashes in a particular Video folder in Windows
  2. Explorer, Office, Movie Maker crashes in Windows
  3. Explorer crashes when performing any taskbar operations in Windows.

If your Windows Explorer crashes randomly in Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 in a network environment, apply this hotfix from KB2638018. Also, see if KB930092 and KB931702 pertaining to Explorer crashes apply to you.

Fix Freezes or Crashes with these resources from The Windows Club:

Windows freezes | Internet Explorer freezes| Google Chrome Browser crashes | Mozilla Firefox Browser freezing | Edge browser hangsWindows Media Player freezes | Microsoft Outlook freezes | Computer hardware freezes.

Post ported from WinVistaClub, updated and posted here.

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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.