General Restart Windows Explorer.exe Process in Windows 11

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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 restart the explorer.exe process as needed in Windows 11.


Contents






OPTION ONE

Restart explorer.exe Process in Task Manager


1 Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc).

2 Select Windows Explorer in the Processes tab, and click/tap on the Restart button. (see screenshot below)

3 When finished, you can close Task Manager if you like.

Restart_explorer_Task_Manager-1.png






OPTION TWO

Restart explorer.exe Process using Command


1 Open Windows Terminal, and select either Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt.

2 Copy and paste the taskkill /f /im explorer.exe command into the terminal, and press Enter to stop the explorer.exe process. (see screenshot below)

3 Copy and paste the start explorer.exe command into the terminal, and press Enter when ready to start the explorer.exe process.

4 When finished, you can close Windows Terminal if you like.

Restart_explorer_command.png






OPTION THREE

Start explorer.exe Process in Task Manager


This option is good for when the explorer.exe process has already been stopped, and you are stuck with a blank black desktop with only the pointer displaying.


1 Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc).

2 Click/tap on File (menu bar), and click/tap on Run new task. (see screenshot below)

Start_explorer_Task_Manager-1.png

3 Type explorer.exe, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

Start_explorer_Task_Manager-2.png

4 When finished, you can close Task Manager if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


 

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