Fix File Explorer if it won't open or start

Note: File Explorer is not the same tool as Internet Explorer. To open Internet Explorer, in the search box on the taskbar, type Internet Explorer, and then select Internet Explorer (Desktop app) from the results.

To open File Explorer in Windows 10, select its icon on the taskbar, press the Windows logo key + E on your keyboard, or select Start > Documents  (directly beneath your user icon).

Here are some things to try if File Explorer won't open.

Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & Security  > Windows Update  . Then select Check for updates. Install any available updates and restart your device if required.

Check for updates in Windows 10

Even if you don’t see updates that require restarting, doing so ensures that any pending updates are installed.

  1. On the taskbar, type control panel in the search box. Select Control Panel from the results.

  2. Select System > Advanced system settings.

  3. On the Advanced tab, under Performance, select Settings > Advanced.

  4. Ensure that Adjust for best performance of is set to Programs.

  5. Under Virtual memory,select Change and make sure that Automatically manage paging file sizes for all drives is selected.

  6. Select Apply.

  7. Restart your PC. This resets explorer.exe.

  1. On the taskbar, type disk cleanup in the search box. Select Disk Cleanup from the results.

  2. Select the check box by each type of file. (Make sure there’s nothing important in your Recycle Bin before emptying it.)

  3. Select OK.

    Run the Disk Cleanup utility

  1. On the taskbar, type control panel in the search box. Select Control Panel from the results.

  2. On the View by menu, choose Large icons or Small icons.

  3. Select Troubleshooting > View all > System Maintenance.

  4. On the System Maintenance troubleshooter, select Next > Try troubleshooting as an administrator and review the results.

Automatic Repair is a tools that attempts to fix registry corruption. To run it:

  1. Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & Security .

  2. Select Recovery  > Advanced Startup > Restart now > Windows 10 Advanced Startup.

  3. On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot. Then, on the Advanced Options screen, select Automated Repair.

  4. Enter your name and password.

Automatic Repair now begins. Your computer may restart during this process.

If File Explorer doesn’t work more reliably after trying these steps, please send feedback through Feedback Hub so Microsoft can investigate potential issues.  

Related topics

Help in File Explorer

Find your documents in Windows 10

See your OneDrive files in File Explorer

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