[Guide] Different Ways to Close and Restart Explorer in Windows

This article is a collection of some of our exclusive tutorials which have helped you in learning how to restart Explorer in Windows operating system.

Actually many tips-n-tricks or troubleshooting guides posted on our website require you to restart Windows Shell so that Windows can apply the changes made by you. In such situations, you can either log off or restart your computer to take effects or sometimes we suggest you to direct restart Windows Explorer to apply the changes without any need of restarting the whole system.

Many people don't have any idea of restarting Explorer and they always ask us how to restart Windows Explorer. There are many different ways to restart Explorer and many methods are exclusive to particular Windows versions. So we always have to provide those readers a list of all previous tutorials in which we have mentioned the methods to restart Windows Explorer in different Windows versions.

That's why today in this exclusive tutorial, we are going to list each and every method to close and restart Explorer in all Windows versions. We'll try to include all our previous tutorials related to restarting Windows Explorer in this exclusive article for your reading convenience.

So without wasting time lets share all different ways to close and restart Explorer quickly and easily in all Windows versions.

Following are some possible ways to restart Windows Explorer:

  • Traditional way to restart Explorer in all Windows versions
  • Easy way to restart Explorer using Task Manager in Windows 8 and later
  • Restart Explorer using hidden secret options
  • Restart Explorer using automatic batch script
  • Restart Explorer using Desktop context menu option
  • Restart Explorer using freeware

Now let's discuss the methods in details:

Traditional Way to Restart Explorer in All Windows Versions

This is the traditional or you can say default way to restart Windows Explorer in all Windows versions. You'll need to use Task Manager program to restart Explorer in this method:

1. Right-click on Taskbar and select Task Manager option. It'll open Task Manager. You can also directly launch Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys together.

2. Now go to Processes tab and select explorer.exe process and then click on "End Process" button. You can also right-click on explorer.exe process and select "End Process" or "End Task" option. Or you can simply select explorer.exe process and press Delete key.


It'll close or exit Windows Explorer.

3. Now you'll need to start Explorer again. Click on "File -> New Task (Run...)" option in Task Manager.


Now type explorer in the text box and click on OK button.

It'll restart Windows Explorer successfully.

Also Read: Hidden Secret Trick to Open "Command Prompt" Using Task Manager

Easy Way to Restart Explorer Using Task Manager in Windows 8 and Later

If you are using Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, you can restart Windows Explorer directly from Task Manager. Its one of the easiest way to restart Windows Explorer.

Actually Microsoft has added a new option to restart Windows Explorer in Task Manager of Windows 8 and later OS.


Please check out following tutorial to learn how to restart Explorer using Task Manager in Windows 8 and later:

Windows 8 and Later Allow You to Restart Explorer Using Task Manager

Restart Explorer Using Hidden Secret Options

In the 1st method you can skip first 2 steps to close Windows Explorer if you take help of some built-in hidden secret features which are present in almost all Windows versions.

These hidden secret tricks allow you to directly exit Windows Explorer without going through Task Manager tabs. You can exit Explorer using right-click on Taskbar or Start Menu, etc in these secret tricks.


Check out following articles to learn more about these secret features:

NOTE: After closing Explorer using these hidden secret tricks, you'll still need to start Explorer again using the Step 3 mentioned in the 1st method.

Restart Explorer Using Automatic Batch Script

This is another easy way to restart Explorer in all Windows versions.

You can take help of our ready-made batch script given in following tutorial to automatically restart Windows Explorer:

Create Simple Script to Close and Restart Explorer Automatically in Windows

This batch script is basically a collection of some DOS commands to kill Windows Explorer process and then start it again.

You can create a shortcut of this batch file on Desktop or pin it to Taskbar or Start Menu/Start Screen and whenever you want to restart Explorer, just run the shortcut and it'll restart Explorer automatically.

Restart Explorer Using Desktop Context Menu Option

We also posted a tutorial to add a direct option to restart Explorer in Desktop context menu (right-click menu) of Windows. So whenever you need to restart Windows Explorer, just right-click on Desktop and select "Restart Explorer" option.

Check out following link to learn how to add option to restart Explorer in Desktop context menu:

Add "Restart Explorer" Option in Desktop and Explorer Context Menu in Windows

Restart Explorer Using Freeware

Another possible way to restart Explorer is using a software. We have released many exclusive free AskVG apps for Windows operating system and few of those apps allow you to restart Windows Explorer as well.

"Restarter" is a free and portable AskVG tool which allows you to access several useful options such as restart Explorer, restart Aero service, kill not responding tasks, launch Task Manager, Calculator, Notepad and log off, restart or shut down your PC directly from Taskbar notification area aka system tray.

You can download it using following link:

Restarter: Restart Explorer, Uxsms Service and Kill Not Responding Tasks in Windows

"Windows 8 Task Manager" is another free AskVG utility which brings Windows 8/8.1/10 look-like Task Manager program to Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. It also comes with a direct button to restart Windows Explorer.

You can get it from following link:

Get Windows 8 Look-Like Metro Task Manager in Windows XP, Vista and 7

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That's it. These are the easiest and safest ways to restart Explorer in all Windows versions. If you know about any other method, feel free to share it in your comment.

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Posted in: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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  • Now, this is useful info. Thanks a lot man!

  • Hey, thanks for the batch, script, it helped me restart my explorer when my laptop running windows infected with virus.

  • Hi Vishal, this article is really good i have tried the mentioned methods to open explorer and these were really easy and interesting. I like it very much!!

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