How to Restart File Explorer in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Restarting File Explorer in Windows 11 can be an easy fix to various issues, such as unresponsive windows or sluggish performance. To quickly restart File Explorer, you can use the Task Manager. This quick and straightforward process will refresh your File Explorer without affecting any other running programs or tasks on your computer.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Restart File Explorer in Windows 11

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that restarting File Explorer will close all open folders and windows. So, make sure to save any important work before proceeding.

Step 1: Open Task Manager

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open Task Manager.

Task Manager is a system monitor program used to provide information about the processes and programs running on your computer, as well as the general status of the system.

Step 2: Locate File Explorer

In the Processes tab, scroll down to find ‘Windows Explorer’ or ‘Explorer.exe’.

‘Windows Explorer’ is the former name for File Explorer and may still be listed as such in the Task Manager, depending on your system’s settings.

Step 3: Restart File Explorer

Right-click on ‘Windows Explorer’ and select ‘Restart’ from the context menu.

When you restart File Explorer using this method, it will automatically close and relaunch itself. This process usually takes just a few seconds, and your taskbar and desktop icons will disappear briefly before reappearing.

After completing these steps, File Explorer will restart, and you should notice that it’s running smoothly again.

Tips for Restarting File Explorer in Windows 11

  • Save all your work before restarting File Explorer to avoid losing unsaved data.
  • If File Explorer is not responding, you can also restart your computer as a last resort.
  • Keep your Windows updated to minimize the chances of File Explorer issues.
  • Use the Task Manager to end other unresponsive tasks that might be affecting File Explorer’s performance.
  • Regularly clean up your files and folders to keep File Explorer running efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is File Explorer in Windows 11?

File Explorer is the file management application in Windows 11 that allows you to browse, organize, and manage your files and folders.

Why would I need to restart File Explorer?

You might need to restart File Explorer if it becomes unresponsive, experiences errors, or is running slower than usual.

Can restarting File Explorer cause me to lose unsaved data?

Yes, if you have unsaved work in any open folders or files, restarting File Explorer will close them and you could lose that data.

Is it safe to restart File Explorer using Task Manager?

Yes, it is a common and safe method used to refresh the application without causing harm to your system.

Can I use a shortcut to restart File Explorer?

While there’s no direct keyboard shortcut to restart File Explorer, using the Task Manager shortcut (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) is the quickest way to access the restart option.


  1. Open Task Manager
  2. Locate File Explorer
  3. Restart File Explorer


Restarting File Explorer in Windows 11 is a handy trick to know for those unexpected moments when your file system seems to drag its feet or throw a fit. It’s like giving your computer a mini-refresh without having to restart the whole system. Just a few clicks and, voilĂ , you’re back in business! But remember, the key to keeping your digital companion happy lies in regular maintenance. Keep those files tidy, those folders organized, and those updates rolling. And, of course, save your work often—no one likes to see their digital masterpieces vanish into the void. So go ahead, give File Explorer a fresh start, and watch your productivity soar. Who knew a simple restart could feel so good?

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