Official way to restart explorer

I found yet another Windows tip I did not know in Richard Birkby's Explorer column handler shell extension in C# article at The Code Project:

Finally, if you want to restart an instance of Windows Explorer, you should use the official way to shut down Explorer, rather than killing it from Task Manager! To shut down officially, hit Start->Shutdown (or Turn Off Computer on Windows XP), then while holding the control shift and alt keys, click cancel on the shutdown dialog. To start a new instance of Windows Explorer, bring up Task Manager by holding the control and shift keys, then hit escape. In Task Manager, choose File->New Task and enter "Explorer.exe". This will have restarted Windows Explorer properly.

[CSharpener's Blog]

Just when you think you know a lot of cool windows tricks you find more.  I never knew this, I would always kill explorer through the task manager or simple restart my computer.


  • Ok my computer was working fine. Well one day i logged on and a notice window popped up and said explorer.exe was experiencing problems and has to be restarted. Nothing was on my desktop including the start bar. how do i restart explorer.exe?

  • My laptop was working fine. Then i logged on and it said explorer.exe has occurred some problems and needs to be restarted. nothing is on my desktop. how do i restart it w/o anything?

  • How absolutely awesome! The biggest problem I always find by terminating explorer manually is that when you click on a window on the task tray, it can restore, but no longer minimize the window, I just tested this method, and clicked on an item on my task tray, works like a champ! Little tidbits like this are downright amazing! I wouldn't be surprised if they had a quicker way to actually restart explorer too!

  • wtf more info. how do u restart it if it is frozen???

  • How do you restart it if you can't click the damn start bar

  • 1. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and then click Task Manager.
    2. Look for explorer.exe in the "Image Name" column.
    3. Right click on it and select "End Process".
    4. Click File from the menu.
    5. Click New Task (Run...).
    6. Type explorer in the Open field.
    7. Click OK. Windows Explorer shell will restart.

    this will do.

  • I've tried going through the task manager to restarting Explorer, but all that happens is it that the start bar flicks into view and then vanishes.

  • I do not know why but after applying Super Tango Patcher (Changed the icons) a script that I used to reset the list of icons that XP is hidding in tray is unable to restart explorer.exe

    It probably happened in other instances. Does anyone know if by accident some setting disabled auto restart of explorer.exe ??

  • I am having the same problem in Vista Home pre. explorer went to restart after an error of some sort while it said will contact microsoft, I went to hit cancel, instead the window changed and hit cancel to restarting explorer. So did the task mng. thing and from cmd started explorer but everytime I restart the comp. I have to repeat these steps and it even leaves the doc. that was open at the time on the screen anyone Know how to reset this or get Explorer to auto start on startup?

  • this works 100%

    1st step download PROCESS EXPLORER

    2nd step launch it when u have trouble with explorer.exe

    3rd step find explorer.exe

    4th right click on explorer.exe

    5th choose restart and then kill or ok i forgot what it is.

    enjoy u just restarted explorer in 5 steps

  • Dave did you find a fix? My explorer.exe is toggling on and off about every 10 seconds

  • hey does anyone know anyway to accomplish this programmatically?

  • explorer will work sometimes, but only if I restart it enough. However, I'm only viewing this because I opened it from the task manager...

  • Programmatically in AutoHotKey:

    WinGet, h, ID, ahk_class Progman
    PostMessage, 0x12, 0, 0, , ahk_id %h% ;wm_quit
    Run, explorer.exe

  • works.perfectly


  • How can I terminate it from within VB .NET?

  • I think I can just do it in one line:

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