How to Fix the “Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working” Error

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If you’re encountering the “Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working error” — you’re likely both frustrated and eager to fix it.  I’ve put together this article to help you understand the problem and suggest a few problem solving steps.

Windows Explorer is a file manager or explorer software, which is an integral part of Windows. It is one of the most advanced interfaces designed by Microsoft and it connects all the core components of Windows. The major executable file of this package is explorer.exe and if this file is modified or corrupt then Windows will give constant errors and the system will slow down.

Error that is displayed on screen:

Windows Explorer has stopped working

Methods to Fixing “Windows Explorer has stopped working” Error

The cause of this error may actually reside in your Windows registry.  Your registry is an advanced database used by Windows and every piece of hardware and software on your computer.

I personally use RegCure Pro to make sure my registry is optimized and error-free..

However, if you’re technically savvy, you can try the steps below:

Check for Installed Software and Driver issues – There are software applications that can corrupt the explorer.exe file and at times, just uninstalling these applications might not solve the problem.  Also, when Windows update service updates a third-party driver it may corrupt the Windows shell. Moreover, if you are unable to know the exact driver it becomes very tough to solve this issue.

The best way is to fix this is to run a System Restore that takes the system back to a date when it was perfectly normal. Follow these steps to run system restore -

  1. Click Start and select All Programs.
  2. Browse to Accessories and then Click System tools.
  3. Select System Restore and choose a date before your Windows was updated or you installed the software.
  4. Once the setting is put back to the ‘selected day’, the system will be restarted.

Check for Problems with Internet Explorer Add-ons - Sometimes Internet explorer add-ons can interfere with the explorer.exe and make the system slow.

Disable Internet Explorer add-ons to see if the error goes away. Here are the steps to disable the add-ons:

  1. Open Internet Explorer and click Tools.
  2. Select Internet options and open the Advanced tab.
  3. Clear the Enable third part browser extensions checkbox given in the Browsing category.
  4. Click OK.

Check for Problems with Graphic Card Drivers - There are some graphic card device drivers that are not completely tested with Windows and can give constant Windows explorer errors. To know if the graphics driver is the one giving the problem you can run the Event viewer -

  1. Open Administrative Tools from Control Panel.
  2. Click Event Viewer, select Windows Logs and expand it.
  3. Select Application.
  4. Now from the Actions pane, select Filter Current Log.
  5. Select ATI / NVIDIA (based on the graphics card) from the Event Sources drop down and click OK.
  6. Now select the entry marked with red exclamation from the list (if it is there)

Check for the errors this driver is causing and if it points to the Windows explorer error we have to rollback the drivers of the graphics card. To roll back the driver follow these steps-

  1. Open Device Manager
  2. Right-click the Graphics Driver and select Properties.
  3. Click on the Driver tab and select Roll back driver.

Scan Windows for Virus Issues– As explorer.exe is a core component of Windows shell, viruses always attack this file and try to take control of the system. Some viruses are specifically designed to compromise the Windows shell and download multiple files from the system to affect it further. Once the virus takes over it will slow down the system significantly and will pop up regular errors on the screen.

It is always better to disable System Restore as the shadow copies might have traces of the virus. To disable System Restore follow these steps (On Windows Vista) –

  1. Right-click My computer and select Properties.
  2. Select System Protection from System window.
  3. Clear the checkbox for C: drive from the Available Disks column.
  4. Click Turn System Restore Off on the System Protection dialog box that is displayed.

Once this is done update your antivirus software and run a comprehensive scan on the system. If you are not satisfied with the antivirus software, you can run online scans from popular antivirus websites.

Replace the core files – If the Windows shell system files are affected by a virus then this step will remove all the contamination from the system. The system file checker (sfc) replaces all the windows shell files. To run the sfc follow these steps-

  1. Click Start and go to All programs.
  2. Browse to Accessories, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator
  3. If prompted for the admin password enter it and click OK.
  4. At the prompt type sfc/scannow press Enter to replace the shell files.
  5. Type exit and press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

If none of the above steps work, you may want to take a backup of your data. Then reformat your hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows.

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