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How to Restart Windows Explorer Without Rebooting the Computer

Last Updated March 23, 2007

Issue

Windows Explorer, also known as the shell (desktop) may freeze and become unresponsive while other applications still run without any problems. Instead of rebooting, follow these steps to restart Windows Explorer.

Solution

  1. Press CTRL + ALT + DELETE, and then click Task Manager.
  2. In the Task Manager dialog box, look for explorer.exe in the Image Name column.
  3. Right-click on it and select End Process.
  4. Click File from the menu.
  5. Click New Task (Run...).
  6. Type explorer in the Open field.
  7. Click OK. Windows Explorer shell will restart.