File Explorer Not Responding on Windows 11? How to Fix It

File Explorer might not respond due to file system errors

by Loredana Harsana
Loredana Harsana
Loredana Harsana
Managing Editor
Loredana is a passionate writer with a keen interest in PC software and technology. She started off writing about mobile phones back when Samsung Galaxy S II was... read more
Reviewed by Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Windows Server & Networking Expert
After moving away from the corporate work-style, Alex has found rewards in a lifestyle of constant analysis, team coordination and pestering his colleagues. Holding an MCSA Windows Server... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Many of our readers have constant complaints that File Explorer is not responding on Windows 11 or slowing down frequently.
  • Generally, File Explorer fails to respond due to corrupt system images and accumulated cache files in File Explorer.
  • Restarting the File Explorer process and resetting the cache are the quickest ways to resolve the issue.
File Explorer not responding Windows 11
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File Explorer is one of the most frequented apps of Windows, but sadly, it is not immune to bugs and issues. Several readers have reported that File Explorer is not responding on their Windows 11 PCs.

Sometimes, it fails to respond to the commands, and other times, the response is slow. If you are facing a similar issue, we have got you covered.

Why is File Explorer not responding on Windows 11?

Some of the most probable reasons behind the File Explorer not responding issue are as follows:

  • Corrupt or missing system filesCorrupt system files are a common reason why Windows File Manager is responsive to right-click.
  • Incompatible third-party apps – Recently installed third-party apps, if incompatible, can interfere with the working of the operating system and other apps.
  • Corrupt File Explorer cache – If the cached data is not expelled periodically, it can get corrupted and slows down the File Explorer app.
  • Outdated graphic driversOutdated system drivers can trigger various issues on your system and are likely to interrupt the File Explorer app as well.
  • Malware or virus infection – Malware and virus attacks lead to several system-level problems, including the File Explorer not responding issue on Windows 11.

In this guide, we have compiled a list of efficient workarounds to fix the File Explorer not responding issue on Windows 11.

What can I do if File Explorer is not responding on Windows 11?

Before implementing the complex troubleshooting solutions, make sure to perform the following actions:

If these simple fixes could not resolve the problem, implement the solutions below.

1. Restart File Explorer

1.1 Using Task Manager

  1. Right-click the Windows icon on the Taskbar and choose Task Manager from the Quick Links menu.
  2. Right-click the Windows Explorer process in the Apps section of the Processes tab and choose the End Task option.File Explorer not responding Windows 11
  3. Click the File option located on the top Menu bar and select Run New Task from the sub-menu.File Explorer not responding Windows 11
  4. Type Explorer or explorer.exe in the text field of the Create new task window and press OK.File Explorer not responding Windows 11

1.2 Using Command Prompt

  1. Press the Windows key, type cmd in the Search bar on top, and click the Run as Administrator option from the result section.File Explorer not responding Windows 11
  2. Press Yes on the User Action Control window.
  3. Type or paste the following command and press Enter key to end the File Explorer process. taskkill /f /im explorer.exeFile Explorer not responding Windows 11
  4. Next, type the following command and execute it to restart File Explorer on your Windows 11 computer. start explorer.exeFile Explorer not responding Windows 11

Restarting File Explorer using any of the two ways discussed above will eliminate the underlying technical glitch that is causing File Explorer not responding issue on Windows 11.

2. Run SFC and DISM scans

  1. Open the Start menu by pressing the Windows key, type cmd in the Search bar, and select Run as Administrator from the result section.
  2. Type or paste the following command and press the Enter key to initiate a full system scan. sfc /scannowPress the Windows key, type cmd in the Search bar on top, and click the Run as Administrator option from the result section.File Explorer not responding Windows 11 Press Yes on the User Action Control window.  Type or paste the following command and press Enter key to end the File Explorer process. taskkill /f /im explorer.exeFile Explorer not responding Windows 11 Next, type the following command and execute it to restart File Explorer on your Windows 11 computer. start explorer.exeFile Explorer not responding Windows 11
  3. After the SFC scan is completed, type or copy-paste the following command and press Enter. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealthFile Explorer not responding Windows 11

The SFC scan, along with DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management), scans your PC to find the corrupt and missing system images and restore them with the original version resolving the irresponsive File Explorer app.

Although the SFC and DISM scans are a safe solution, some users prefer to use third-party software like Restoro because it can automatically repair all corrupt or missing files by finding new parts as replacements.

3. Clear the File Explorer cache

  1. Use the Windows + E shortcut to launch File Explorer on Windows 11 PC.
  2. Click the Menu icon (three dots) on the right of the Menu bar and select Options from the drop-down menu.Open the Start menu by pressing the Windows key, type cmd in the Search bar, and select Run as Administrator from the result section. Type or paste the following command and press the Enter key to initiate a full system scan. sfc /scannowPress the Windows key, type cmd in the Search bar on top, and click the Run as Administrator option from the result section.File Explorer not responding Windows 11 Press Yes on the User Action Control window.  Type or paste the following command and press Enter key to end the File Explorer process. taskkill /f /im explorer.exeFile Explorer not responding Windows 11 Next, type the following command and execute it to restart File Explorer on your Windows 11 computer. start explorer.exeFile Explorer not responding Windows 11 After the SFC scan is completed, type or copy-paste the following command and press Enter. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealthFile Explorer not responding Windows 11
  3. In the Folder Options window, press the Clear button located next to Clear File Explorer history and then OK.File Explorer not responding Windows 11

Cache files pile up in File Explorer and if not cleared for a long time, slow down the app and can also be why File Explorer is not responding on Windows 11.

6. Uninstall the display driver

  1. Use the Windows + R shortcut to launch the Run dialog box, type the following command in the text field and press the Enter key. devmgmt.mscFile Explorer not responding Windows 11
  2. Expand the Display adapters category.
  3. Right-click the display driver and choose Uninstall device option.File Explorer not responding
  4. Click Uninstall on the confirmation pop-up.File Explorer not responding Windows 11

After the display driver is uninstalled from your computer, restart your PC to install the standard display driver available for your device. If the display drivers get corrupt, they can cause the File Explorer to malfunction and stop responding to commands.

7. Run the System Maintenance tool

  1. Press the Start button, type control panel in the Search bar, and select the relevant search result.File Explorer not responding Windows 11
  2. Set View by to Small icons and select Security and Maintenance category.File Explorer not responding Windows 11
  3. Expand the Maintenance section and click on Start Maintenance.File Explorer not responding Windows 11

The System Maintenance tool built into Windows 11 diagnoses underlying issues and optimizes the performance of the OS and Windows apps, such as Windows Explorer.

8. Clean boot your PC

  1. Launch the Run command window using the Windows + R shortcut. Type the following command and press Enter to execute it. msconfig File Explorer not respondiing
  2. Uncheck the box for the Load startup items and check the Load system services option in the System Configuration window.File Explorer not responding
  3. Switch to the Services tab, enable the Hide all Microsoft services option located on the bottom left, and press the Disable button.File Explorer not responding
  4. Click the OK button and restart your computer; it will boot in a clean boot state.

Now try opening File Explorer on your Windows PC. If you are successful, it means some third-party apps are interfering with the File Explorer functionality. You can refer to this guide to uninstall apps from Windows.

That’s pretty much it! You can try the solutions listed here if File Explorer is not responding on Windows 11, affecting your workflow. In case File Explorer crashes randomly on Windows, refer to the proven solutions provided in this guide.

If you have any questions or want to give suggestions, don’t hesitate to head to the comments section below.

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