Windows cannot find explorer.exe [8 fixes that really work]

Photo by Digital Buggu

Sometimes you face an issue known as ‘cannot find explorer.exe’. Here are eight ways to resolve this issue in your Windows 10.

8 ways to fix cannot find explorer.exe error in Windows 10:

1. Scanning system for the virus:

One of the most common reasons for explorer.exe file to be not available is that some virus could’ve infected the system and disabled the explorer.exe file. So the first thing you should do is scan your system for any virus and immediately remove it if found. You can use the built-in feature or download antiviruses such as Norton, Avast, McAfee etc.

2. Run an SFC scan:

  • Press Windows key + X key
  • The command prompt window will open click on the run an administrator.
  • Now type in the following command.


  • Then press Enter
  • Then restart your computer.

3. Restoring PC to a restore point:

  • Press the Windows key + S key
  • Now enter system restore
  • The select create a system restore point
  • Now click on the system restore button
  • The system restore window will appear on your screen. Click Next
  • Now select the restore point of your choice and click Next to proceed
  • And follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process

4.Unplug the USB devices:

It is found that USB devices can cause hindrance with your system and cause errors like ‘explorer.exe error‘ so to fix that unplug any unnecessary USB devices.

5. Removing Explorer keys from registry editor:

  • Press Windows key + R key
  • The RUN dialogue box will appear
  • Type Regedit in it
  • Then head over to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options
  • Under this, you’ll find two files explorer.exe and iexplorer.exe
  • Delete both the files
  • Next, navigate to the mentioned path Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
  • In the right pane look for an entry named Shell
  • Double click and open shell
  • Under the data value, you’ll see an entry of explorer.exe. if you notice any other entry delete it
  • Close the editor and restart your computer

6. Manually start explorer.exe from task manager:

  • Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete key
  • Click on Task Manager
  • Now click on File and select Run a new task
  • Type explorer.exe and tick the box create this task with admin privilege and click ok
  • Let the explorer.exe process run and see if the issue is fixed

7. Perform a clean installation

If nothing else works for you, the cleanest way to fix explorer.exe issues is to perform a clean installation of Windows 10. Though it’s painful and seems like re-inveting the wheel, this could be the last solution.

8. Change file explorer options

Try changing the file explorer options because various processes may change the explorer settings.

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