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.

Published Wednesday, March 12, 2003 8:29 PM by puzzlehacker


# re: Official way to restart explorer

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?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 12:09 AM by Ziggy

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 8:02 PM by Ziggy

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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!

Saturday, September 29, 2007 10:44 PM by Xedecimal

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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

Saturday, December 1, 2007 9:38 PM by cxc

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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

Friday, December 7, 2007 7:24 AM by blaargh

# re: Official way to restart explorer

  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.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:19 PM by sam

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 10:28 PM by Satan

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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 ??

Sunday, February 17, 2008 7:27 PM by VB

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 4:02 AM by Quinn

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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

Monday, May 26, 2008 10:21 AM by peca

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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

Friday, August 22, 2008 5:30 PM by Keith Brockmiller

# re: Official way to restart explorer

hey does anyone know anyway to accomplish this programmatically?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:03 AM by dg

# re: Official way to restart explorer

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...

Saturday, May 23, 2009 4:41 PM by Smiller

# re: Official way to restart explorer

Programmatically in AutoHotKey:


WinGet, h, ID, ahk_class Progman

PostMessage, 0x12, 0, 0, , ahk_id %h% ;wm_quit

Run, explorer.exe


Wednesday, September 2, 2009 5:46 PM by majkinetor

# re: Official way to restart explorer



Thursday, October 1, 2009 5:36 AM by tom

# re: Official way to restart explorer

How can I terminate it from within VB .NET?

Thursday, October 15, 2009 5:03 PM by brent

# re: Official way to restart explorer

I think I can just do it in one line:


Friday, October 16, 2009 2:39 AM by brent