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File Explorer crashes

Occasional Contributor

Has anyone had issues with File Explorer crashing without any warnings or error messages lately? Seems to have started about 2-3 updates ago.

I'll be working on something else - like Edge, Excel, etc. - and want to switch to File Explorer only to find that it has disappeared. I have it pinned to my taskbar and it's turned back into an icon - no bar - as if I closed it.

10 Replies

Hi @ddwashbu,


Try resetting File Explorer (explorer.exe) process, see if that helps: 


1. Press Windows Key + R and type SYSDM.CPL in Run. Click OK or press Enter key. 


2. In System Properties window, switch to Advanced tab, click Settings under Performance. 


3. Next, in Performance Options, under Processor scheduling, make sure that Adjust for best performance of: is set to Programs. 


4. Then in the same window, under Virtual memory, click Settings button. 


5. On Virtual Memory page, make sure Automatically manage paging file sizes for all drives option is checked. Click OK, then Apply, OK on rest of windows. 


6. Reboot the machine and see if issue is resolved now. 


Let us know if this helps! 


best response confirmed by ddwashbu (Occasional Contributor)

Use Autoruns from Sysinternals to check for Non-Microsoft/Non-Windows explorer.exe extensions. Many programs sadly install file explorer extensions that can make explorer.exe unstable.

You can easily disable (uncheck the checkbox in autoruns) all extensions that are not from Msft and reboot. Test if the issue is resolved. If yes, re-enable single extensions and test again until explorer.exe begins to crash again.

You can download Autoruns here:


Which Windows 10 build/version are you using?

@HotCakeX 1909 Build 18363.657

Thanks, I see good troubleshooting methods suggested above, have you tried them?

@HotCakeX @dretzer 

Excellent suggestion!

I killed a couple of contextmenuhandler entries - MS ShellStitcher, Macrium Reflect, Intel Optane Rapid Storage Technology, Acrobat, and Nvidia - using autoruns and that seems to have fixed the issue. 

I tried to kill several other Acrobat-related entries but Acrobat is very persistent and recreates them. That's something that's ALWAYS bugged me about Acrobat, how much crap it creates in the context menu that are difficult to permanently get rid of.

Yeah, try Foxit reader, it's lightweight and feature rich, better than Acrobat
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Glad we could help.

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