9 Ways to Fix “File Explorer Not Responding” Error On Windows 10

File Explorer is a useful tool that gives you access to manage your A to Z files on your hard drive. Being that said, this management tool is a must-have tool for you to quickly navigate your recent or older files where you might want to tweak some changes.

So, when this management tool stops responding, you run into a lot of frustrating issues. Your browsing gets badly disrupted and you end up questioning and cursing your computer.

Instead of being stuck with your frozen File Explorer, we are here to help you. In this article, we have put together some effectively working troubleshooting solutions.

Whenever your File Explorer stops responding on your Windows 10 PC, apply the mentioned solutions and you will most likely have the issue resolved.

Here is a noteworthy detail for you File Explorer is also known as Windows Explorer. Don’t get confused between their names as they are the same thing with a slight name change. File Explorer is for newer Windows versions while older versions have this feature as Windows Explorer. So, they carry the same functions.

What is File Explorer?

File Explorer, previously known as Windows Explorer in the older Microsoft Windows version is a system management freeze tool. This built-in file managing application was incorporated in Windows from Microsoft Windows 95 update.

Ever since this feature got released, it helped millions of users to access and navigate easily to their files, drives, and folder residing on their system.

It has a user-friendly graphical interface which can be easily obtained by going on the taskbar.

Before we go forward to explore our File Explorer or Windows Explorer troubleshooting guide. Let’s go through some possible causes for File Explorer not responding.

Why File Or Windows Explorer Not Responding On Windows 10?

Unfortunately, there is no definite or fixed cause for this annoying issue to show up. The main source or reason can be anything.

Down there, we have listed some of the most commonly reported causes for Windows Explorer not responding. They are based on the user reports on multiple tech forums using Windows 10.

1. You Might Have Changed Your Display Settings

According to many users on Microsoft forums, changes in the display settings can easily cause distortion and disturbance in the File Explorer tool.

For example, you may have changed the font size and permitted different applications to make changes to your display settings.

If that’s the case, reverting is the best option.

2. Windows Explorer History is Clogged

Sometimes the File Explorer tool on your Windows 10 gets so overcrowded that it becomes clogged.

This later causes the File Explorer to behave abnormally and stop responding.

You may get rid of it by simply clearing the history.

3. Using Outdated Windows 10 Version

If you miss out on updating your Windows 10 OS, you might run into different existing issues and security holes.

Outdated versions also stunt your File Explorer to work at all. That’s why an immediate upgrade is crucial.

4. System Files Are Problematic

When there is something wrong with your system files, File Explorer usually suffers. Problematic system files freeze your Windows Explorer and your files are no longer your control.

5. Insufficient Space on Your System Drive

When there is not enough space on your system drive, so many functionalities on your system including File Explorer freezes. The solution for it is in our guide.

Top 9 Best Ways to Fix File Explorer Not Responding Windows 10 Error

Now that so many possible causes are right in front of you, troubleshooting would be a lot easier.

Here is a checklist of troubleshooting methods to resolve the issue of File Explorer not responding. This guide is primarily for Windows 10 users. Continue reading to get out of the mess.

Method 1: Wipe Out the File Explorer History

We have already mentioned in the causes section how overcrowded history can disturb the File Explorer performance. Fixing this issue will require you to remove its history.

Don’t know how to do it? Simply refer to the following steps to remove File Explorer history.

1. Launch the Run utility by pressing Windows and R keys together.

2. Type Control.

3. Hit the OK button.

4. Now make sure you set the viewing mode to Large Icons.

5. Select File Explorer Options from the list.

6. A new properties window will open. Here you need to check the listed items and click on the Clear button.

7. Now restart your computer and check if Windows Explorer responds now.

Method 2: Modify Your Display Settings

Modifying or reverting your display settings can get a little bit bizarre. Although it is an effective solution for solving file explorer issues. Moreover, users also reported that simply modifying the display layout settings did well for them.

Here are the steps to revert your display settings:

1. Go to the Windows logo corner on the display screen of your PC.

2. Go to the Settings app now.

3. Open the System option.

4. Stay on the Default display tab.

5. Now set the size of the text, apps, and all other items to exactly 100% or whatever your Windows suggests to you. It will be done under the Scale and Layout option.

6. Now restart your PC and check if you can access Windows Explorer again or not.

Method 3: Restart the File Explorer in the Task Manager (Automatically)

The above two are the most helpful fixes that will eventually solve your issue. However, if the file explorer issue does not seem to be leaving any soon. Then you are required to dive for more solutions.

Restarting and rebooting always help when it comes to Windows management tool issues.

First, you need to restart your File Explorer using task manager automatically on your Windows 10 PC.

Here is how you do it.

1. Go to the taskbar on your screen.

2. Type Task Manager and hit Enter.

3. Task Manager will be launched. You may directly access Task Manager by right-clicking on the “type here to search bar” on your PC.

4. Change the settings to compact mode and click on the More details option there.

5. Open the default Process tab.

6. Select the File/Windows Explorer option.

7. The Restart button will now be visible. Click on it.

8. The Windows or File Explorer will begin to restart. All the items on your taskbar will disappear for a while so don’t be scared.

9. Let your PC restore to a normal state.

10. Now check if you can use File Explorer on your Windows 10 PC.

Method 4: Restart the File/Windows Explorer Using Command Prompt (Manually)

Sometimes the automated way of restarting your File Explorer doesn’t go as planned. At such instants, you level up the restarting game by using Command Prompt.

It is a manual way to restart your Windows 10 PC.

Here are the steps to do.

1. Launch the Run utility by pressing the Windows key and R key together.

2. Type cmd in the Run search.

3. Hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys.

4. It will launch the Command Prompt window with administrator permission.

5. To disable or stop the File Explorer first, input the following command.

  • taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

6. Hit Enter so the command is executed.

7. Now to restart the Windows or File Explorer, simply input the following command. And make sure to hit Enter again so the command is executed.

  • start explorer.exe

8. Close the Command Prompt window by inputting exit.

9. Restart your PC and check if the File Explorer is responding now or not.

If this method of restarting also doesn’t work out, then go for the following one. You never know which one works for you. So, try them all.

Method 5: Use a Batch File to restart the explorer.exe Process

It is completely okay if none of the above solutions did the job for you. You still have got plenty of quick solutions left.

One thing you can try is making a batch (.bat) file and processing it with administrative-level privileges. Doing so can resolve your File Explorer issue on Windows 10 once and for all.

Here is how you use a batch (.bat) file to restart the explorer.exe process.

1. Go to the empty space on your Desktop and right-click there.

2. Click on New.

3. Select a Text document as shown in the screenshot.

4. Rename the file with Windows or File Explorer. Make sure to open the file with any notepad app.

5. Type the text below in that blank document. Or it is easy to just copy/paste it.

  • taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
  • start explorer.exe
  • exit

6. Go up and click on the File option there.

7. Select Save As.

8. Choose the file type by clicking on the All Files option.

9. Now the name the file as Restart Explorer.bat

10. Click Save.

11. Close the document and go to your Desktop again.

12. Right-click on the recently saved file Restart Explorer.bat

13. Click on the option Run as Administrator as shown in this screenshot.

14. Navigate to your File Explorer and check if it is responding now.

Noteworthy takeaway: You can keep that batch (.bat) file saved in your PC to use it again.

Method 6: Free Up Some Drive Space on Your Windows 10 PC

When your system drive or C drive is overcrowded, it can cause a lot of disturbance in other functionalities including the File Explorer tool.

It is always recommended to make some space on the C drive so all the functions are carried out smoothly.

Here are two recommended ways to free up space when File Explorer is not responding on your Windows 10 PC.

A. Delete files using Storage Sense

1. Go to the start menu and select Settings.

2. Open System.

3. Click on Storage

3. Turn on Storage Sense so all the unnecessary items on your drive get removed automatically.

4. For that, navigate to Configure Storage Sense or run it now how we free up space automatically option.


5. Click on Clean now.

B. Uninstall unwanted apps

You can simply go on an uninstallation spree if you have too many unwanted apps lying here and there. They consume huge space.

Method 7: Perform the System File Scan using Command Prompt

Gone this far and still haven’t got your issue resolved? Don’t worry. You are yet to explore a couple of methods or even more.

One of them is simply running the system file checker scan. It fixes many stubborn issues. Here is how you do it.

1. Launch the Run utility by hitting Windows and R keys together.

2. Type cmd

3. Hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys altogether.

4. Command Prompt window will be launched with administrator permissions.

5. Type the command sfc /scannow and hit Enter so the command gets executed.

6. Let the System Checker scan now you are good to go.

Method 8: Update Your Windows 10 Versions

Windows Explorer or File Explorer not responding can get annoying. If you have tried everything above and still didn’t have it resolved. Then probably you have missed out on the most important fix which is none other than upgrading your Windows 10 PC with the latest versions.

Here is how you do it.

1. Go to the start menu.

2. Open Settings.

3. Select Update & Security.

4. Stay in the Windows Update button.

5. Hit the Check for Updates button.

6. If you see any new updates uninstalled, click on the install button.

Method 9: Scan Your PC for Malware Attacks

Several issues can navigate your system when it is under malware attack. To be sure of such things, run your Windows 10 for viruses and malware freeze tool or antivirus software.
Who knows? You might just have your File Explorer not responding issue resolved.


That’s all, folks. Here you have the top 9 effective troubleshooting solutions to fix File Explorer or Windows Explorer not responding. It is such a crucial tool.
Apply the above-mentioned fix to make the File Explorer tool functional again. Good luck!

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