How to Restart File Explorer Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to restart file explorer windows 11

Restarting File Explorer in Windows 11 is a simple task that can help resolve minor glitches, refresh the user interface, or apply new settings without having to reboot your entire system. All you need to do is open Task Manager, locate Windows Explorer in the list of running processes, and then restart it. This guide will walk you through the steps.

How to Restart File Explorer Windows 11

Restarting File Explorer will close and reopen it, helping to fix any issues you might be experiencing with it. Follow these steps to easily restart it.

Step 1: Open Task Manager

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.

This keyboard shortcut is the quickest way to get Task Manager up and running. Alternatively, you can right-click the Start button and select Task Manager from the context menu.

Step 2: Locate Windows Explorer

In the Task Manager window, find Windows Explorer in the "Processes" tab.

It may be listed as Windows Explorer or simply Explorer, and it usually appears near the bottom of the list of running apps. If you don’t see it right away, scroll down.

Step 3: Restart Windows Explorer

Right-click Windows Explorer and select "Restart."

When you do this, File Explorer will momentarily close and then reopen. Your desktop icons and taskbar might disappear for a few seconds, but they should reappear shortly, refreshed and hopefully error-free.

After completing these steps, you should see your desktop and taskbar flash briefly, indicating that Windows Explorer has restarted. This action often resolves minor system issues, refreshes the interface, and can help apply changes made in system settings.

Tips for Restarting File Explorer Windows 11

  • Use Task Manager Shortcut: The Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut is your best friend for quick access.
  • Try Command Prompt: You can also restart Explorer using the taskkill /f /im explorer.exe and start explorer.exe commands in Command Prompt.
  • Close Unnecessary Apps: Before restarting, close other applications to prevent data loss.
  • Check for Updates: Sometimes, glitches are due to outdated software. Ensure your Windows 11 is up-to-date.
  • Backup Data: Always save your work before restarting any system processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I restart File Explorer?

Restarting File Explorer can fix minor glitches, refresh the UI, and apply new settings without rebooting your PC.

Will restarting File Explorer close my apps?

No, it will only refresh the desktop, taskbar, and File Explorer windows. Your other apps will remain open.

What if File Explorer doesn’t restart?

Try using Command Prompt with the commands taskkill /f /im explorer.exe and start explorer.exe.

Can I restart File Explorer from the command line?

Yes, open Command Prompt and type taskkill /f /im explorer.exe, then start explorer.exe.

Is restarting File Explorer safe?

Yes, it is a safe way to refresh your system’s interface without affecting your data or running applications.


  1. Open Task Manager.
  2. Locate Windows Explorer.
  3. Restart it.


Restarting File Explorer in Windows 11 is a useful trick for quickly resolving minor issues without needing to reboot your entire system. Whether it’s a frozen window or an unresponsive taskbar, this method can often be the magic fix you need. Remember to always save your work before performing any system-level operations to avoid data loss.

If you find yourself frequently needing to restart File Explorer, it may be worth investigating further to see if there’s an underlying issue that needs addressing. Routine system updates and regular maintenance can go a long way in keeping your Windows 11 environment running smoothly.

Feel free to bookmark this guide or share it with friends and family who might also benefit from knowing how to restart File Explorer in Windows 11. Happy computing!