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File explorer not responding

In the fast-paced digital age, the File Explorer is a cornerstone of productivity, allowing users to navigate their files and folders seamlessly. However, there are instances when the File Explorer may become unresponsive, causing frustration and hindering your workflow. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the reasons behind the File Explorer not responding issue and provide step-by-step solutions to get you back on track.

Reasons behind File explorer not Responding issue

File Explorer is an indispensable tool for navigating and managing files on your computer. However, encountering a situation where File Explorer becomes unresponsive can be frustrating. Understanding the underlying reasons for this issue is crucial to resolving it effectively. Let’s delve into the key causes of File Explorer not responding:

File explorer not responding

1. System Overload and Resource Constraints

When your system is burdened with resource-intensive tasks and applications, it can lead to an overload of memory and CPU usage. This overload can cause File Explorer to become unresponsive, as the necessary resources are tied up.

2. Third-Party Shell Extensions

While third-party shell extensions can enhance File Explorer’s functionality, they can also be responsible for its unresponsiveness. These extensions integrate additional features into the context menu, but conflicts between different extensions can lead to crashes and freezes.

3. Outdated or Corrupted Drivers

Device drivers facilitate communication between your hardware and the operating system. Outdated or corrupted drivers can disrupt this communication, causing File Explorer to stop responding. Ensuring your drivers are up to date is essential for maintaining smooth operations.

4. Malware and Viruses

Malicious software can wreak havoc on your system, including causing File Explorer to become unresponsive. Viruses and malware can manipulate system files and processes, leading to instability and crashes.

5. Disk Errors

Hard drive errors, such as bad sectors or file system corruption, can impede File Explorer’s ability to navigate files effectively. These errors disrupt the seamless flow of data retrieval, causing unresponsiveness.

By recognizing these underlying causes, you’re better equipped to address the File Explorer not responding issue. Stay tuned for our upcoming guide on effective solutions to tackle this problem and restore your File Explorer’s functionality.

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How to Fix file explorer not responding?

Fix 1: Close Unnecessary Applications

When your system’s resources are stretched thin due to multiple resource-intensive applications, File Explorer may become unresponsive. To address this, follow these steps:

  1. Identify Resource-Intensive Applications: Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. In the “Processes” tab, look for applications with high CPU or memory usage.
  2. Close Applications: Right-click on the resource-intensive applications and select End Task. This will free up valuable resources for File Explorer.
  3. Monitor Performance: Keep an eye on the Task Manager’s performance tab to ensure the system resources are no longer overloaded.

Fix 2: Disable Third-Party Shell Extensions

Conflicts between third-party shell extensions can lead to File Explorer unresponsiveness. Here’s how to disable them:

  1. Access Task Manager: Right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  2. Navigate to Startup: In the Task Manager, click on the Startup tab.
  3. Disable Extensions: Identify third-party extensions that might be causing issues. Right-click on them and choose Disable.
  4. Restart Explorer: Restart File Explorer by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc, finding “Windows Explorer” in the Processes tab, right-clicking it, and selecting Restart.

Fix 3: Update Drivers

Outdated or corrupted drivers can hamper File Explorer’s performance. Follow these steps to update your drivers:

  1. Identify Outdated Drivers: Visit your device manufacturer’s website and locate the latest drivers for your hardware components.
  2. Device Manager: Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager.
  3. Update Drivers: Right-click on each hardware component, choose Update driver, and select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Restart System: After updating all necessary drivers, restart your system to apply the changes.

Fix 4: Run Antivirus Scan

Malware and viruses can cripple your system, affecting File Explorer. Here’s how to perform an antivirus scan:

  1. Install Reputable Antivirus: Download and install a trusted antivirus software if you don’t have one.
  2. Full System Scan: Initiate a full system scan to detect and eliminate any malicious software.
  3. Quarantine or Remove: Follow the prompts to either quarantine or remove the detected threats.

Fix 5: Check and Repair Disk Errors

Hard drive errors can lead to unresponsiveness. The following steps will help you check and repair these errors:

  1. Open Command Prompt: Press Win + X and select Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Run CHKDSK: Type chkdsk /f for the affected drive and press Enter. Follow prompts to schedule a scan on the next system restart.
  3. Restart System: Reboot your computer to allow CHKDSK to scan and repair the disk errors.

With these detailed solutions, you can confidently address the File Explorer not responding issue and restore your system’s efficiency. Stay tuned for our next set of fixes that will help you overcome this challenge seamlessly.

Fix 6: Perform System File Check

Corrupted system files can lead to File Explorer not responding. The System File Check (SFC) tool can help you identify and repair these issues. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Command Prompt: Press Win + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. Run SFC Scan: In the Command Prompt, type sfc /scannow and press Enter. The scan may take some time to complete.
  3. Scan Results: Once the scan finishes, the tool will display if any corrupted files were found and whether they were repaired.
  4. Restart System: If the tool repairs any files, restart your system to apply the changes.

Fix 7: Check for Windows Updates

Outdated Windows versions can lead to compatibility issues, affecting File Explorer’s responsiveness. Follow these steps to ensure your system is up to date:

  1. Open Settings: Click on the Start button and select the Settings (gear) icon.
  2. Update & Security: In the Settings menu, click on Update & Security.
  3. Check for Updates: Click on Check for updates. If updates are available, Windows will download and install them.
  4. Restart System: After the updates are installed, restart your system to apply the changes.

By implementing these additional fixes, you’re well-equipped to tackle the File Explorer not responding issue. Remember to follow each step carefully, and don’t hesitate to move on to the next solution if the issue persists. Stay tuned for our concluding tips that will help you maintain a responsive File Explorer over the long term.

Fix 8: Create a New User Account

If the File Explorer not responding issue persists, creating a new user account can help determine if the problem is specific to your current profile. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings: Click on the Start button and select the Settings (gear) icon.
  2. Accounts: In the Settings menu, click on Accounts.
  3. Family & other users: Click on Family & other users from the left sidebar.
  4. Add someone else to this PC: Under the “Other users” section, click on Add someone else to this PC.
  5. Create Account: Follow the prompts to create a new user account. Make sure to choose “Administrator” as the account type.
  6. Switch Users: Log out of your current account and log in to the new user account you just created.
  7. Test File Explorer: Open File Explorer in the new user account and check if it responds without any issues.

If File Explorer works smoothly in the new user account, it indicates that the problem might be related to your original user profile. You can consider transferring your data to the new account or further troubleshooting the original account.

With this additional fix, you have a comprehensive range of solutions to address the File Explorer not responding issue. Experiment with each one sequentially, and you’ll likely find the one that brings back the responsiveness you need. Stay tuned for our concluding remarks, where we’ll recap the key points and provide some valuable tips for preventing this issue in the future.

Preventive measures to ensure File Explorer’s smooth performance

Encountering a non-responsive File Explorer can disrupt your workflow and productivity. To avoid future occurrences of this issue, consider implementing the following preventive measures:

1. Keep Your System Updated

Regularly update your operating system and software applications. Outdated software can lead to compatibility issues and potential conflicts that impact File Explorer’s performance.

2. Install Reliable Antivirus Software

Protect your system from malware and viruses by installing a reputable antivirus program. Regularly scan your system to identify and remove any threats that could compromise File Explorer’s responsiveness.

3. Be Cautious with Third-Party Software

When installing third-party software, especially those that add shell extensions, choose trusted sources and only install what you truly need. Unnecessary shell extensions can contribute to File Explorer’s unresponsiveness.

4. Monitor System Resources

Keep an eye on your system’s resource usage through the Task Manager. Close resource-intensive applications when they are no longer needed to ensure that enough resources are available for File Explorer to operate smoothly.

5. Regularly Update Drivers

Stay proactive by regularly updating your hardware drivers. Outdated or faulty drivers can contribute to various system issues, including File Explorer not responding.

6. Perform Disk Maintenance

Regularly perform disk cleanup and defragmentation to optimize your hard drive’s performance. This reduces the chances of disk errors that can affect File Explorer’s responsiveness.

7. Create Backups

Regularly back up your important files to an external drive or cloud storage. In the event of a system issue, you can restore your files without relying solely on File Explorer.

8. Avoid Overloading Your System

Refrain from opening too many applications simultaneously, especially resource-intensive ones. This helps maintain an optimal balance of system resources for smooth File Explorer performance.

9. Remove Unnecessary Shell Extensions

Regularly review and disable any unnecessary shell extensions. Fewer extensions mean a lower likelihood of conflicts that could lead to File Explorer becoming unresponsive.

10. Monitor System Health

Use system monitoring tools to keep track of your system’s health. This can help you identify potential issues before they impact File Explorer’s responsiveness.

By incorporating these preventive measures into your regular system maintenance routine, you can significantly reduce the chances of encountering File Explorer not responding issues. Remember, a proactive approach is key to maintaining a seamless and efficient digital experience.


A non-responsive File Explorer can be a major roadblock to your productivity, but with the right approach, it can be swiftly resolved. By understanding the potential causes and applying the appropriate solutions, you can overcome this issue and continue to navigate your files seamlessly. Remember, regular system maintenance, such as updating drivers and running antivirus scans, can prevent such problems in the future. Stay proactive, and keep your File Explorer running smoothly.


Why does File Explorer become unresponsive?

Overloading system resources, outdated drivers, malware, and disk errors can cause unresponsiveness.

How can I fix unresponsive File Explorer?

Close resource-hogging apps, update drivers, run antivirus scans, and repair disk errors.

What are shell extensions, and can they cause issues?

Shell extensions enhance context menus, but conflicts can lead to crashes and unresponsiveness.

Can I fix File Explorer by restarting it?

Yes, you can restart File Explorer from Task Manager to refresh the process.

How do I run an antivirus scan?

Install trusted antivirus software and perform a full system scan to detect malware.

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