Personalization Add Restart Explorer Context Menu in Windows 11


  • Staff
File_Explorer_banner.png

The explorer.exe process is the user shell for Windows, and is used by such items as the desktop, File Explorer, Start menu, notification area, and taskbar. Restarting the explorer.exe process is to stop and start it to effectively refresh explorer.exe. When the explorer.exe process has been stopped (aka: "end task"), you will see a blank black desktop with your mouse pointer showing until explorer.exe has been started again.

If you are having issues with the explorer.exe process (ex: hang), restarting the explorer.exe process may sort it without having to restart the computer.

If you are applying a registry tweak, sometimes you can just restart the explorer.exe process to apply instead of having to restart the computer or sign out and sign in.

This tutorial will show you how to add Restart Explorer to the desktop context menu of all users in Windows 11.


While you must be signed in as an administrator to add or remove the context menu, all users will be able to use it.

Restart Explorer context menu usage:

When you right click or press and hold on the desktop and click/tap on Restart Explorer in the context menu, you can then select to click/tap on Restart Explorer Now or Restart Explorer with Pause.

Restart Explorer Now will instantly restart the explorer.exe process now.

Restart Explorer with Pause will open a command prompt window indicating that it has stopped the explorer.exe process, and will wait on you to press any key before restarting the explorer.exe process again. This way you can use the context menu to stop explorer, do what you need to do while it's stopped, click/tap on the command prompt window to make it the active window again, and press any key to start explorer.

Restart_Explorer_with_Pause.png



Contents

  • Option One: Add "Restart Explorer" to Desktop Context Menu
  • Option Two: Remove "Restart Explorer" from Desktop Context Menu


EXAMPLE: 'Restart Explorer' desktop context menu

Show_more_options.png
Restart_Explorer_context_menu.png





Option One

Add "Restart Explorer" to Desktop Context Menu


1 Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and save it to your desktop.

Add_Restart_Explorer_to_desktop_context_menu.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Explorer]
"icon"="explorer.exe"
"Position"="Bottom"
"SubCommands"=""


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Explorer\shell\01menu]
"MUIVerb"="Restart Explorer Now"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Explorer\shell\01menu\command]
@=hex(2):63,00,6d,00,64,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,2f,00,63,00,20,00,74,\
  00,61,00,73,00,6b,00,6b,00,69,00,6c,00,6c,00,20,00,2f,00,66,00,20,00,2f,00,\
  69,00,6d,00,20,00,65,00,78,00,70,00,6c,00,6f,00,72,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,\
  00,78,00,65,00,20,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,73,00,74,00,61,00,72,00,74,00,20,00,\
  65,00,78,00,70,00,6c,00,6f,00,72,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,00,\
  00


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Explorer\shell\02menu]
"MUIVerb"="Restart Explorer with Pause"
"CommandFlags"=dword:00000020

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Explorer\shell\02menu\command]
@=hex(2):63,00,6d,00,64,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,2f,00,63,00,20,00,40,\
  00,65,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,20,00,6f,00,66,00,66,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,65,00,\
  63,00,68,00,6f,00,2e,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,65,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,20,00,53,\
  00,74,00,6f,00,70,00,70,00,69,00,6e,00,67,00,20,00,65,00,78,00,70,00,6c,00,\
  6f,00,72,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,70,00,72,00,6f,00,63,\
  00,65,00,73,00,73,00,20,00,2e,00,20,00,2e,00,20,00,2e,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,\
  65,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,2e,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,74,00,61,00,73,00,6b,00,6b,\
  00,69,00,6c,00,6c,00,20,00,2f,00,66,00,20,00,2f,00,69,00,6d,00,20,00,65,00,\
  78,00,70,00,6c,00,6f,00,72,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,00,20,00,26,\
  00,20,00,65,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,2e,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,65,00,63,00,68,00,\
  6f,00,2e,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,65,00,63,00,68,00,6f,00,20,00,57,00,61,00,69,\
  00,74,00,69,00,6e,00,67,00,20,00,74,00,6f,00,20,00,73,00,74,00,61,00,72,00,\
  74,00,20,00,65,00,78,00,70,00,6c,00,6f,00,72,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,\
  00,65,00,20,00,70,00,72,00,6f,00,63,00,65,00,73,00,73,00,20,00,77,00,68,00,\
  65,00,6e,00,20,00,79,00,6f,00,75,00,20,00,61,00,72,00,65,00,20,00,72,00,65,\
  00,61,00,64,00,79,00,20,00,2e,00,20,00,2e,00,20,00,2e,00,20,00,26,00,20,00,\
  70,00,61,00,75,00,73,00,65,00,20,00,26,00,26,00,20,00,73,00,74,00,61,00,72,\
  00,74,00,20,00,65,00,78,00,70,00,6c,00,6f,00,72,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,\
  78,00,65,00,20,00,26,00,26,00,20,00,65,00,78,00,69,00,74,00,00,00

2 Save the .reg file to your desktop.

3 Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

4 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

5 You can now delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.





Option Two

Remove "Restart Explorer" from Desktop Context Menu


This is the default setting.


1 Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below, and save it to your desktop.

Remove_Restart_Explorer_from_desktop_context_menu.reg


(Contents of REG file for reference)
Code:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\Restart Explorer]

2 Save the .reg file to your desktop.

3 Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to merge it.

4 When prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK to approve the merge.

5 You can now delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

Attachments

  • File_Explorer.png
    File_Explorer.png
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  • Add_Restart_Explorer_to_desktop_context_menu.reg
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  • Remove_Restart_Explorer_from_desktop_context_menu.reg
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Last edited:

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