Top 8 Ways to Fix File Explor­er Not Open­ing on Win­dows 10

Parth Shah

File Explorer is an integral part of Windows 10 OS. Microsoft’s built-in file manager is a convenient way to access and manage files, drives, and folders. It is bound to receive a major overhaul with the next Windows 10 update with UI changes and new icons. In its current state, many users have experienced File Explorer not opening or responding slowly when accessing a folder with thousands of files.

Fix file explorer not opening on Windows 10

The behavior can simply mess up your workflow as you depend on File Explorer to access and move files between drives and folders. If you are among those experiencing File Explorer not opening issue, it’s time to troubleshoot it using the tricks below.

1. Restart File Explorer

    You can simply restart the File Explorer app from the Task Manager. Follow the steps below.

    Step 1: Hit the Windows key and search for Task Manager.

    Step 2: Open Task Manager and look for more details.

    Select more details

    Step 3: Select the Windows Explorer app.

    Restart file explorer on windows 10

    Step 4: Click on Restart at the bottom right corner.

    The system will restart the File Explorer app for you.

    2. End Task and Restart File Explorer

      If you don’t see the Restart option in the trick above, you need to end the task for the Windows Explorer app and start the app again. Go through the steps below.

      Step 1: Hit the Windows key and search for Task Manager.

      Step 2: Open Task Manager and look for more details.

      Step 3: Right-click on Windows Explorer and End the task.

      End task for file explorer

      Step 4: Click on File at the top and select Run a new task.

      Step 5: Type explorer.exe and hit the OK button.

      Reboot file explorer

      File Explorer will restart quickly and it should fix the app not opening on Windows 10 issue for you.

      3. Manually Restart File Explorer Using Command Prompt

        This is relatively unknown to the majority but you can restart the File Explorer app through Command Prompt commands. If the Task Manager trick isn’t working for you, try using Command Prompt to restart the File Explorer on Windows 10.

        Step 1: Press the Windows Key and type cmd to open the Command Prompt app.

        Step 2: Type taskkill /f /im explorer.exe in the Command Prompt window and hit Enter.

        Add command to reset file explorer

        Step 3: This command will end the explorer.exe process. You’ll see a blank screen behind the Command Prompt window.

        Step 4: To start the explorer.exe process again, type explorer.exe in the windows and press Enter.

        Command promt

        The command will reboot the File Explorer app on Windows 10.

        4. Change PC’s Display Layout

          This is rather unusual but an effective solution to fix the File Explorer not opening on Windows 10. In Windows 10, using an unrecommended screen layout and resolution might mess up File Explorer functions. Follow the steps below to make relevant changes.

          Step 1: Open the Settings app on Windows 10 machine. You can also use Windows + I key to access the Settings app.

          Step 2: Navigate to System > Display.

          Step 3: Scroll down to Scale and layout option.

          Step 4: Change the Display Resolution to the recommended settings.

          Change scaling and resoltion in windows 10

          Step 5: Change the scaling option to Windows recommended.

          If your PC’s display scaling is already set to 100%, try changing it to 125% and back to 100% again.

          5. Clear File Explorer History

            File Explorer keeps a log of all previous activities such as recently accessed files, folders, searches, address bar entries, etc. Over time, these data get piled up, and you will end up with a slow or not responding File Explorer on your Windows machine.

            Step 1: Hit the Windows key and search for File Explorer.

            Step 2: Look for File Explorer Option and hit the Enter key.

            Open file explorer options

            Step 3: Select Clear under the General menu.

            Step 4: Click on Apply and hit OK.

            Clear file explorer history

            Restart your PC and start using File Explorer again.

            6. Update PC’s Video Driver

              According to Microsoft, if your PC’s video drivers are outdated or corrupt, it will mess up with the File Explorer function on the machine. Update the video drivers to the latest version using the Device Manager app.

              Step 1: Right-click on the Windows icon and select Device Manager.

              Step 2: Expand Display adapters and right-click on video drivers.

              Update video drivers

              Step 3: Select Update drivers, and the OS will look to install the latest video drivers from the web.

              7. Scan PC Using Windows Security

                If your PC is affected by corrupted files or malware, it’s time to clean them up using the default Windows Security app.

                Quick scan in windows 10

                Hit the Windows key and search for Windows Security app. Navigate to Virus & threat protection and run a quick scan on the PC. Find and remove any harmful files and try accessing File Explorer app.

                8. Update Windows 10 OS

                  File Explorer not opening or responding on Windows 10 might be due to the recent buggy build released by Microsoft. After all, the software giant isn’t having the best time with quality Windows 10 updates. Open the Settings app and update Windows to the latest version available.

                  Download Windows 10 update

                  Start Using File Explorer Again

                  File Explorer is pretty essential to organize and manage the files and apps on your computer. Go through the steps above and troubleshoot the File Explorer not opening an issue on Windows 10. While you are at it, let us know which trick worked for you in the comments below.

                  Next up: You can easily update Windows 10 offline. Read the post below to learn how to update Windows 10 offline.


                  The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

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                  Parth Shah

                  Written By

                  Parth Shah

                  Parth previously worked at EOTO.tech covering tech news. He is currently freelancing at Guiding Tech writing about apps comparison, tutorials, software tips and tricks and diving deep into iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.