File Explorer Not Responding – What To Do

Posted by Arch on February 20, 2019

The latest Windows updates have been long-awaited and come with their fair share of improvements of Microsoft’s operating system. Like with most of updates, however, there are some issues besides the obvious upgrades. File Explorer errors are among the most common problems users experience with Windows.

You are probably frustrated with the seemingly never-ending array of “File Explorer (Not Responding)” messages that prevent you from accessing your files and folders. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to fix the issue and regain access to all of your photos, videos, and business files.

Erasing Old File Explorer Data

File Explorer might have cached a lot of data which is now preventing the app from loading or running smoothly. To regain control over File Explorer on your computer, you need to get rid of all the surplus data and try to reload the app. Here is how to do it:

1. Launch Control Panel

Type Control Panel in the Windows search bar and click on the app to launch it.

2. Search for File Explorer

Once you’ve accessed Control Panel, type File Explorer in the search bar and click on the first result that pops up.

3. Choose File Explorer Options

The first thing that appears in Control Panel is the File Explorer Options menu. These options provide you with some settings that might be the key to resolving the issue at hand.

4. Select Clear

Go to the General tab in the File Explorer Options menu and click on Clear under the Privacy section. You confirm your choice by selecting OK or Apply. This action clears all the recent files from the Quick Access and Quick Files. When you finish, you should go back and try to relaunch File Explorer.

Restart File Explorer in Task Manager

Another way to regain control of File Explorer is to restart the app from the Task Manager. It is also one of the quickest and easiest methods. You basically terminate the program and reinstate it as a task again. This is what you need to do:

1. Launch the Task Manager

The best way to gain access to the Task Manager is to hold Ctrl + Shift + Esc.

2. End File Explorer

Find File Explorer (also known as Windows Explorer) and right-click on it. Choose End Task in the menu after you click.

3. Create a New Task

Once you’ve ended File Explorer, you need to create a new task so that the program quickly loads up with a new startup. You need to click on File at the top of the Task Manager and select Run New Task. Type explorer.exe in the bar and hit OK to confirm.

Change the Display Settings

Sometimes the File Explorer fix can be as simple as changing the Display Settings on your PC. Namely, the Display Settings might be much higher than the File Explorer can handle, which causes loading difficulties. You need to do the following to change the Display Settings:

Launch Windows Settings

Again, the easiest way to access Windows Settings is via hotkeys. Type Win + I and the settings will immediately pop up. You need to select System to reach more options that allow you to change the display values.

1. Select Display

Once you enter the System menu, choose the Display category. Several options will appear in the menu on the right. You need to modify “Change the size of text, apps, and other items”. It is recommended to keep the scale at 100% or under 175% because higher percentages have been reported to cause File Explorer issues.

2. Finalize the Settings

Once you dial in the correct Display Settings, click on Apply to confirm the changes. At this point, you should get out of the Display menu and check whether this has solved your problem.

3. Update Drivers

Faulty or outdated drivers might be one of the causes of an unresponsive File Explorer. Graphics drivers in particular have been known to cause File Explorer issues. There are more than a few third-party programs that let you locate the missing or corrupt driver and repair the File Explorer issue.

Driver Talent, for example, is one of the most popular apps that helps you repair faulty drivers on your PC. You do need to pay for the app, but it is quite effective and may help you get to the bottom for your File Explorer problem.


Unresponsive File Explorer is usually not a big deal for most PC users and can be easily repaired. With the methods featured in this article, you should have the Windows File Explorer up and running in no time. However, if they fail to fix the problem, you might need to consider refreshing or reinstalling your Windows.

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