7 Ways To Fix File Explorer Not Working In Windows 11

File Explorer is a vital tool in Windows 11 used to search for files, folders, and even for your cloud storage such as Onedrive, Google Drive, and iCloud. But what happens when File Explorer stops responding or completely stops working? Well, many of Windows 11 users experience the same.

It’s safe to say that any problem with File Explorer can effectively disrupt your workflow and leave you anxious. To help, we’ve compiled a list of fixes that should get you searching for files again in no time. Let’s start.

Table of Contents

1. Restart Windows Explorer.

Whenever File Explorer stops responding or starts to crash, you can try restarting the Windows Explorer process first to see if it helps. That’s how.

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to quickly launch Task Manager.

Step 2: In the Task Manager window, click the More details option to expand it.

Step 3: On the Process tab, scroll down to find Windows Explorer. Select it and then press the Reset button at the bottom.

Now, wait for Windows to restart File Explorer and see if it’s working fine.

2. Restart the PC

If restarting Windows Explorer doesn’t help, you should consider restarting your PC. This will stop all the applications and processes running on your PC and give them a fresh start.

3. Clear the File Explorer cache

The more you use the file explorer, the more data it accumulates. This cache data can sometimes slow down or even crash File Explorer if it is not cleared at regular intervals. So, you can try to remove it by following the steps below.

Step 1: Click the Search icon on the taskbar, type File Explorer options, and press Enter.

Step 2: In the File Explorer Options window that opens, switch to the General tab. Navigate to the Privacy section and click the Clear button followed by OK to clear the File Explorer cache.

4. Run SFC and DISM Scan

SFC (System File Checker) scan is a handy utility in Windows that can find corrupted system files on your PC and restore them to their previous version. So if File Explorer in Windows 11 crashes abruptly, you can try running an SFC scan by following the steps below.

Step 1: Right-click on the Start menu icon and select the Windows Terminal (admin) option from the resulting menu.

Step 2: Type the command mentioned below and press Enter.

SFC / scannow

Wait for the process to complete (it may take a while) and then restart your PC. If the problem persists, you can try a DISM or Deployment Image Servicing and Management scan. Similar to SFC scan, DISM is also a system utility that is designed to repair system images and files on your Windows. Here’s how to run it.

Launch the command prompt with administrator rights and enter the following commands one by one.

DISM / Online / Cleanup-Image / CheckHealthDISM / Online / Cleanup-Image / ScanHealthDISM / Online / Cleanup-Image / RestoreHealth

Once done, restart your PC and see if File Explorer is working fine now.

5. Run the system maintenance troubleshooter

If the above methods do not resolve File Explorer problems in Windows 11, you can try using the System Maintenance Troubleshooter. You can optimize the overall performance of your PC by solving problems like broken desktop shortcuts, unused icons, disk volume errors, etc.

Read on to learn how to run the system maintenance troubleshooter in Windows 11.

Step 1: Click the search icon on the taskbar, type in control panel, and press Enter.

Step 2: In the Control Panel window, change the view type to large icons, if it isn’t already, and go to Troubleshooting.

Step 3: Under System and Security, click the Run maintenance tasks option.

From there, follow the onscreen instructions to run the troubleshooter. Then restart your PC and see if the problem is resolved now.

6. Scan for malware

A malicious virus may have affected your PC and been interfering with normal Windows 11 operations. To be safe, you can try scanning your PC for malware and viruses by performing a quick scan.

7. Check for Windows updates

Lastly, if the above solutions haven’t worked, you can check for pending updates on your PC. If so, go ahead and install them first. Microsoft is usually quick when it comes to releasing solutions. The latest build of Windows 11 may have resolved the current File Explorer related issues you are facing.

To check for updates, press Windows key + I to open the Settings app. Navigate to Windows Update to install any pending updates.

Apply all the updates and restart your PC to see if the problem is resolved.

Explore your PC

Even with Windows 11, many of the solutions that helped you fix File Explorer problems in Windows 10 will work. The way you apply those fixes has changed a bit. Hopefully, the solutions above have helped you get File Explorer back up and running for now.

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