Fix Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working

If you are a Winders OS user, then you must be quite familiar with how Windows Explorer functions. The Explorer is an in-built tool in your Windows OS that helps show all contents in your folders and also gets you to the hard drives. The Windows Explorer is what automatically pops up when your try to open a folder to access files in your Windows OS.

However, it is mostly accessed when we click on several shortcuts for Windows Explorer via options for My Computer, the Start Menu, and more! Today we will be providing a detailed overview of the error where Windows explorer stops working.

What Does It Mean When Windows Explorer Is Not Responding?

This is an error that might arise regardless of what Windows version you are operating. This means you might get the error for Windows Explorer has stopped working for Windows 7, 8, or 10. The frustrating thing about this error is that if the Explorer folder has stopped working, your operations and functions will not run smoothly.

If you are confused about the working and want to know how to identify this issue, then you should know that 2 more pop-up prompts might appear if your Windows Explorer isn’t working. These include:

  • Windows Installer has stopped working

  • Windows Explorer is Not Responding

So, What Are the Causes Behind the Notification, Windows Explorer Isn’t Working?

Now, that you are aware of how to identify this error, the next step is to find out what are the main reasons why you get the Windows Explorer has stopped working notification. Here is a list of the main reasons why this system might have stopped working:

  • Your system might have been infected with Malware or a Virus.
  • Your current version of your Video Driver might be outdated or malfunctioned.
  • Your Windows system files might be corrupted.
  • Too many applications or services running on your Windows system might be the reason why Windows Explorer isn’t working.

So, how do we fix it when Windows Explorer has stopped working?

You will now know exactly what might have caused your Windows explorer to have stopped working. To proceed further, we now will look into the main solutions to fix the windows explorer isn’t working issue on your Windows OS. This solution has 2 parts.

Method #1 : Fix windows explorer isn’t working-Booting your Windows to Safe mode.

This method is all about making sure you do a thorough check of all startup issues and since safe mode will only launch the most basic drives and services that Windows has to offer, there will be less your device has to deal with. These limited Windows operations ensure that your system is now operating as a troubleshooting one.

While there are other methods to execute this safe mode boot, we will be using Settings to get to this mode. However, bear in mind that this method will ask you to restart your device once you are done so read carefully! These are the main steps to follow:

  • The first step is to click the Start button and go to Settings. After that locate the Update and Security option and click on data Recovery.

  • For your next step, you will need to go to the Advanced Startup and select the option that reads, Restart now.

  • Once your computer restarts, you will then be able to select the option to Choose an option. Then select Troubleshoot and click advanced options. Next, go to Startup Settings and finally click Restart.

  • Once your system has restarted, go into the safe mode to start the boot.

A good tip to know is that if your Windows File Explorer is operating without stopping in safe mode, then your issue will be due to an app you downloaded and not a system issue itself!

To learn what app is causing Windows File Explorer to stop working, either uninstall any new applications or software or follow these steps to turn off auto startup services”

  • Click both Windows and R keys and enter the words msconfig. Since these are case-sensitive, make sure you do not change them.

  • Next, you will go to the System Configuration window and turn to the Services option instead.

  • You will then choose the option that reads, Hide all Microsoft services and then click Disable all, choose to Apply and finally click OK.

And in most cases, that should fix the windows explorer isn’t working error. However, if it doesn’t here’s what you can do next:

Method #2 : The next method to fix windows explorer has stopped working- Assessment of system RAM.

With the aid of the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool, you can test the Window’s RAM and fix this issue. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  • The first step is to click on the Start menu and type Memory Then you should select the option for Windows Memory Diagnostics.

  • The next step will be to select if you want to schedule the system restart at another date or if you want to restart the computer and run the tool right now.

  • If you choose the latter, once restarted, the Windows Memory Diagnostics will run automatically to engage in a standard memory test.
  • The computer will restart once this diagnostic has run and you will find that it happens automatically. Once restarted, you can see the results of the test.

Method #3 : Fix Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working- Updating the Video Driver

When your system video driver is either corrupted or an outdated version of itself, this can be one proven reason for Windows File Explorer to stop working. However, in case you are not sure and want to figure out if this is the reason behind this error, you will need to update this system video driver. These are the steps to follow:

  • For your first step, right-click on the This PC option and select Manage. Then click on Device

  • For your next step, choose Display adapters and right-click on your system’s graphics card driver. This is when you can click on the Update driver

  • When windows have been updated click on the Search automatically for updated driver software and proceed.

Method Number # 4 : Fixing Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working- Launch System File Checker Tool

Another potential reason why your Windows Explorer isn’t working may be due to your system files. If the files are corrupted, this might be the culprit. With the System File Checker tool, you can search for and subsequently fix any system files that are missing or causing problems.

This is what you need to do:

  • First, you will click on the Start menu and type in cmd.

  • Then you can right-click the option for Command Prompt and select the option to Run as administrator.

  • Next, you need to type in these commands in perfect order as listed below:

  • exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
    sfc /scannow

  • This is known as the DISM command for protection.
  • Finally, you will restart your computer and make sure the problem has gone away.


Method #5 : Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working- Turn On: Always Show Icons, Never Thumbnails Option.

Your Windows Explorer may also have stopped working because the files that you are accessing are corrupted. This is most likely to happen if you try to open images or photo files.  However, it can be easily fixed by selecting the option for Always show icons, never thumbnails on Windows.

  • Select This PC and go to the View

  • Then, click on Options and proceed to click on the View

  • Finally, select the option Always show icons, never thumbnails and click Apply, and then press OK.

This only applies to Windows 8 and 10. If it didn’t work for you, we have one final trick up our sleeves!

Method # 6 : Take Care of Any Malware or Virus in Your System.

For this, follow these steps:

  • First, download and launch antivirus software.

  • Scan your windows hard drive and deal with any existing virus.

  • Finally, make sure to recover any files lost during this process.


That’s it from our side on the possible list of solutions for when windows explorer isn’t working and is not responding to your commands. This error of the Windows explorer and system is not a new phenomenon and we are all expected to experience it at least once or twice in our lives.

However, as long as you identify the error promptly and use some method for data recovery in your Windows system, you might be able to fix it if it stops working. All in all the recovery methods listed above are simple and easy to execute! We hope this has been an illuminating read for you and has helped you understand this error better!