How to fix the “Windows Explorer has stopped working” error

How to fix Windows explorere has stopped working

If you think you’ve come across annoying PC errors, then wait till you encounter the Windows Explorer has stopped working error. You really don’t want this issue when you’re working on an important project. This error doesn’t just pop up one day to start frustrating you, its usually an accumulation of past signals (you’ve either not being observing or have been ignoring) come to punish you. In rare cases, its just one rogue element.

What is Windows Explorer and what does it do?

Its important you don’t mistake Internet Explorer for Windows Explorer. Internet Explorer is a browser (like Chrome, Firefox etc) whereas, Windows Explorer is your Windows Operating System’s inbuilt file / folder manager.  Windows Explorer’s fundamental purpose is to let you view, open, copy, move, and otherwise manage your files and folders.

Where is Windows Explorer and how do I locate it?

Locating Windows Explorer is quite easy. Some techniques are:

  • Press Windows key + E
  • Right-Click on My Computer and click on Explore
  • Press the Windows button / Start menu and search for Explorer
  • Click the folder icon on the task bar

What could cause the Windows Explorer has stopped working error?

Common causes of this error are:

  • Incompatible or corrupted driver(s): An outdated, corrupted or incompatible driver could be the problem.
  • Missing or corrupted Operating System files: Some OS file(s) might be missing or have been corrupted
  • Virus / Malware: The PC might be Virus or Malware Infected
  • Corrupted / rogue program: A recently installed program might be causing trouble.
  • RAM issues: The PC might be running out of RAM or experiencing other RAM related issues.
  • Corrupted media / document files: Some files on the PC might be corrupted.
  • Hard Disk error: The Hard Disk might contain some errors.
  • Too many Auto-start items: Auto-start items could be consuming system resources.

How do I fix the Windows Explorer stopped working error?

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Some techniques you should consider applying when faced with this issue include:

1. System restore: Try restoring the PC to a time before this issue began (See https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-do-a-system-restore-on-a-pc/ ).

2. Disable unneeded auto-start items: Keep auto-start items at the barest minimum (See https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-fix-a-slow-hanging-or-crashing-pc/ )

3. Disable services: This technique might be considered tedious but is very effective in isolating rogue processes. To do this:

  • Press the Windows / start button
  • Search for msconfig
  • Launch it
  • Go to the services tab
  • Untick any service you wish to disable
  • Click “Apply” then “OK”
  • If prompted to restart, go ahead and restart the PC
  • Repeat this procedure in batches of 5 till you isolate the faulty service(s)

4.  Re-install Windows: In extreme cases, a Windows re-installation might be the fastest and most convenient fix (See https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-install-windows-8-with-and-without-the-operating-system-cd-dvd/ or https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-install-windows-7-with-and-without-the-operating-system-cd-dvd/ )

5. Create a new user account: The current user account might contain deeply rooted errors. In such cases, porting to a new user account could save you lots of headaches. To do this:

  • Press the Windows button
  • Search for Control panel and launch it
  • Click on User Accounts and Family Safety
  • Click User Accounts
  • Click Manage another account
  • Click Add a user account
  • Fill in the details then click Create
  • Logoff the current account and login to the newly created user account
  • Move your files to the new account if its stable.

6. Windows / Driver update: Consider doing a Windows / driver update to resolve incompatibility issues. If this issue began shortly after installing a driver then uninstall the driver.

7. RAM Check: The PC might be running low on RAM or experiencing RAM issues. To run a RAM check:

  •  Press the Windows button / Start menu
  • Search for Memory Diagnostics and launch it
  •  Click Restart now and check for problems (recommended).

8. Check for corrupted document / media files:  The problem might be corrupted non-OS files. To check for errors:

  • Click on My Computer
  • Click Organize and select Folder and search options from the dropdown
  • On the Folder Options window, click the View tab
  • Place a check in the option to Always show Icons, never thumbnail
  • Remove the check for the option to Display file icon on thumbnails
  • Click OK to close the Folder Options window
  • All files should now have the icons of the default programs that read them.
  • If the Windows Explorer error occurs on opening a folder then that folder likely contains corrupted files.

9. Hard disk check: The Hard Disk might contain errors and should be checked. To do this:

  •  Open the Start Menu and click on the computer link
  •  Right-click the hard drive that Windows is installed on (usually C:)
  • Select Properties from the context menu
  • Switch to the Tools tab
  • Select the Check Now button under Error-checking
  • Make sure that both options are selected before you press the Start button
  • The Disk check needs to be scheduled as the disk is in use when the operating system is running
  • It will start the scan automatically on the next startup

10. Install a good Antivirus: Download Norton Internet Security or Avast Internet Security , update then run a full system scan.

11. Run an OS file integrity check: Running this check helps fish out and fix corrupted or missing OS files. To do this:

  • Press the Windows button / Start menu
  • Search for cmd
  • Right-click and run as Administrator
  • Type cd\ then press enter
  • Type sfc /SCANNOW then press enter
  • Wait for the process to complete

How do I restart Windows Explorer after it crashes?

  • Press ctrl+shift+esc
  • Click Yes if prompted
  • Task Manager will open
  • Click File
  • Click Run new task
  • Type explorer.exe then Enter

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