How to Fix Windows Explorer Not Responding in Windows 10

How to Fix Windows Explorer Not Responding in Windows 10

Windows File Explorer is an integral part of Windows. With this explorer, you can view all your files and folders, perform simple operations like copy and paste, check file size and manage files. However, Windows File Explorer sometimes has a tendency to crash and slow down.


How To Fix Windows Explorer Not Responding In Windows 10 1

Although a simple restart of the PC or laptop fixes the problem most of the time, it is not a guaranteed solution. However, if you are stuck with file explorer on your Windows 10 PC unresponsive, we have compiled a few fixes to fix the problem.

Let’s start, will you?

1. Restart Windows Explorer

One of the first things you can do is restart Explorer. If this is a simple corrupted cache file issue, chances are good that this will solve your problem.

To restart File Explorer, open Task Manager and you will see Windows Explorer under Processes.

How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 5


How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 5

Right click on it and select Restart from the menu.

2. Check for updates

Windows Updates are a necessary part of the system as it brings essential security updates. But if you have long pending updates, you may see your system slowing down or acting weird. This is especially true if Windows undertakes memory intensive tasks.

These days, it’s pretty easy to spot a pending update. If you see a little orange dot in your system taskbar, you know what to do.

You can also search for “Check for Updates” on the Start menu to see pending updates.

3. Clear File Explorer History

Explorer search is useful many times. It records all the details like the names of the files you searched for, the paths you searched for, among others. These search files can accumulate over time and slow down Windows File Explorer’s response. Fortunately, clearing history is as easy as 1-2-3.

To get started, search for anything in Explorer’s search box. Once the search is complete, click on the little arrow icon as shown below to expand the ribbon.

How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 7


How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 7

Next, click on the Search tab and select Recent Searches> Clear Search History.

How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 8


How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 8

The above will only work when your system explorer is working to a certain extent. However, if it is frozen, you will have to go through Settings.

Open settings (Win key + I) and search for “File Explorer Options”. This will open a small window.

How to fix Windows Explorer unresponsive in Windows 10 2


How to fix Windows Explorer unresponsive in Windows 10 2

Now click on the Clear button under Privacy to clear Windows Explorer history.

4. Run Disk Cleanup

If the above fixes failed to run Windows Explorer, you might want to run Disk Cleanup. As the name suggests, it gets rid of the temporary files and folders that litter your PC.

To reclaim the space, search for Disk Cleanup. Select C: drive from the menu.

How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 9


How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 9

Once the Disk Cleanup window opens, check the Downloaded program files, Temporary Internet files and Thumbnails options in the list, then click OK.

How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 3


How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 3

5. Rebuild the index

Another possible reason that the explorer is unresponsive or acting slowly could be slow indexing service. If File Explorer is slow to load the results (or crashes unexpectedly), it’s time to rebuild the index.

To do this, find Indexing Option on the Find menu.

How to fix Windows Explorer unresponsive in Windows 10 11


How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 11

Once you’ve located it, click the Advanced button at the bottom. Now, under Troubleshoot, click on the Rebuild button.

How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 4


How to Fix Windows Explorer Unresponsive in Windows 10 4

If the File Explorer unresponsive issue is related to file indexing, the above should resolve your issue. Then restart your PC.

6. Start in a separate process

Even if you have successfully fixed the problem with Windows Explorer, there is a good chance that it will happen again. Therefore, it is better to force the File Explorer window to run in a separate process.

While Windows claims it’s set by default on most Windows 10 systems, however, it doesn’t hurt to take a second look.

To get started, look for File Explorer options. After locating it, select Show. Next, check the option Launch folder windows in separate process.

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How To Fix Windows Explorer Not Responding In Windows 10 12

If it is not checked, check it and save your changes.

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7. Check for corrupt files

The veteran Windows user in you should know how corrupted files can destroy the system. If some main Windows files were not updated in previous updates, it could cause Explorer to malfunction.

Again, there is a way to repair some corrupted files by running the built-in System File Checker (SFC). As you might have guessed, SFC checks the system for corrupt files or missing files and restores them automatically.

To note: However, running SFC should only be seen as one of the last remaining solutions as it can be risky. We recommend that you make a backup of your PC before continuing.

Launch the Start menu and search for Command Prompt. Right click and select Run as administrator.

2021 07 22 18 59 39


2021 07 22 18 59 39

Once the Command Prompt window opens, type the following command.

sfc /scannow

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2021 07 22 19 02 05

Of course, this will take some time. Once the command has finished executing, you will do something like “… found corrupt files and successfully repaired them …”.

Restart your PC and the good old Windows File Explorer should be back.

Explore like a pro

Ultimately, if your system needs enough disk space and RAM to run all processes seamlessly, especially Windows Explorer. If so, the above may only temporarily solve the problems.

Last updated on July 22, 2021

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