How to restart Explorer.exe to fix a frozen desktop or taskbar stuck on the screen

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Featured - How to Restart Explorer.exe to Fix a Disappeared or Frozen Desktop or Taskbar in Windows 11

Windows Explorer is an essential part of your Windows 11 and Windows 10. In addition to providing you with the trusty File Explorer, it powers much of the desktop interface as we know it. Unfortunately, it also tends to stop working when your computer is having problems. This is usually noted in Windows 11 / Windows 10 with the error “Windows Explorer is not working. Please restart explorer.exe “,” restart Windows explorer “or something similar.

What is Explorer.exe?

If you are getting this error, it is important not to panic. While a frozen desktop, taskbar, or Start menu looks scary, they are easy to fix in most cases. Explorer.exe (Windows Explorer) is only responsible for performing the above tasks. Although it is a Windows component, Microsoft has designed it in such a way that it will not cause severe instability to your system if it crashes.

Taskbar stuck on screen? Restart Explorer.exe!

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If your taskbar disappeared on Windows 11 or Windows 10, explorer.exe might have crashed and can be easily restarted.

The easiest way to fix the problem if Windows Explorer is not working is to simply restart the PC. However, if you still have work to save, it is possible to get your desktop back in other ways. Since Task Manager, Command Prompt, and other programs are separate from the Explorer process, we can always launch them and restart explorer.exe.

Restart the taskbar, desktop and file explorer at the same time

Today we are going to teach you how to restart Windows Explorer in Windows 11 / Windows 10 using Task Manager and Command Prompt. This should fix most of the temporary issues with the start menu, taskbar or desktop or a missing desktop / taskbar when you accidentally closed Windows Explorer.

With this nifty little trick, you can close Windows Explorer without using any external programs in Windows 10. It can work even if you have a frozen taskbar. Unfortunately, Microsoft removed this feature in Windows 11. There you will have to kill explorer.exe first using Task Manager or CMD.

  1. Ctrl + Shift + right click on your taskbar

    This will bring up the usual context menu, but with an addition at the bottom: “Exit the explorer”. Click on it to kill Explorer.exe. With that done, you can move on to the next section to start over.

How to kill Explorer.exe process with Task Manager on Windows 11 and Windows 10

The easiest way to restart Windows Explorer in Windows 11 or Windows 10 is through the trusty Task Manager, which includes a way to stop and start it with just one click.

  1. Open the task manager

    press the To start up and type “Task Manager”, then click on the first result.

    If you can’t access the Start menu due to explorer issues, tap instead Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

    Windows 11 - Open Task Manager

  2. Restart Windows Explorer

    Scroll down in Task Manager until you find the “Windows Explorer” to treat. Click on it, then press “Restart” in the lower right corner. You can also right-click Windows Explorer and press “Restart” in the context menu for a little more speed.

    Windows 11 - Task Manager - Windows Explorer - Restart

How to start Explorer.exe using Task Manager in Windows 11 and Windows 10

Most of us use Task Manager to kill processes, but forget that it can also be used to start them. Here is how you can use it to start explorer.exe when it is not running.

  1. Open the task manager

    press the To start up button and type “Task Manager”, then click on the first result. Or, if you can’t access the Start menu, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

    Windows 11 - Open Task Manager

  2. Click File> Run New Task

    Windows 11 - Task Manager - File - Run New Task

  3. Restart explorer.exe with Task Manager

    In the “Create a new task” dialogue, next to the “Open:” title, type “explorer.exe”. hurry “OKAY” to restart the process.

    If your taskbar doesn’t appear immediately, try clicking in the space where it usually is.

    Windows 11 - Task manager - File - Run a new task - Open Explorer.exe - Accept

Once done, you should have all the tools you need to restart explorer.exe on Windows 11 or Windows 10 to fix common issues like a frozen taskbar, desktop, or start menu.

How to restart Explorer.exe with CMD or PowerShell on Windows 11 and Windows 10

If you prefer the command line or cannot access Task Manager for some reason, you can use the kill and start commands in CMD or PowerShell. This method is also useful if you accidentally terminated Windows Explorer / Explorer.exe.

  1. Open Windows Terminal

    Right click To start up and there Windows Terminal (Admin) ”.

    Otherwise, if you cannot access the Start menu, press Ctrl + R, type “cmd”, and press “OKAY”.

    Windows 11 - Start menu - Open the Windows terminal

  2. Run the taskkill command and restart the explorer

    In your Command Prompt / PowerShell window, paste or type the following and press Enter:

    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

    Once your taskbar disappears, enter the following to start Windows Explorer
    again:

    start explorer.exe

Windows 11 - Start Menu - Windows Terminal - Enter the Cmds

Extra: How to kill any process in Windows 11 and Windows 10

Windows 10 - CMD administrator - task list - process with ID

The most common way in Windows 11 / Windows 10 to complete a process is to use Task Manager. In our advanced tutorial, we also cover other methods like killing a process with PowerShell, using the taskkill command in the command prompt, finding a process ID with Explorer (optional Advanced Task Manager from Microsoft) and use of a two-click method. via a button on the taskbar.

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