How to fix System call failed Explorer.exe error in Windows

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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  • System Errors are not at all fun to deal with because they cause the operating system to no longer work as intended. Last, but not least, they are generally fatal.
  • A particularly common system error occurs on Explorer.exe - Windows' very own Program Manager. Did you happen to stumble upon System call failed error already?
  • If such is the case, there is no need to worry. There are a few things you can try in order to solve this and we have gathered all of them in the article below.
  • Eager to know more about Windows 10 errors and how to solve them? Find out everything there is to know in our dedicated section.
System call failed Explorer.exe error in Windows

Explorer.exe System call failed is one of the troublesome Windows niggles that can render your system virtually useless.

Before the error message is flashed on the screen, the icons disappear and when the user clicks on the Start button the Explorer.exe System call failed error is displayed.

Needless to say, one would mistake it to be a malware or a virus attack but in reality its none. Neither is it a case of Windows operating system gone bad.

Before we start with the actual troubleshooting, lets take some time to perform some basic checks. Try recalling whether you had done any changes to the system.

Also, try switching your account and see if its the same error persists. Try restarting the computer.

As observed in forums this error is usually suspected to be caused by drive errors. Bad sectors in your Primary hard disk will cause severe performance issues.

One can also try connecting an external drive and see it it’s being read.


We’ve written extensively about explorer.exe issues before. Bookmark this page in case you need it later.


Here’s how to solve System call failed error on Explorer.exe

1) Clean Boot

Clean Boot is somewhat similar to the safe mode. In the clean boot, the Windows is started with a minimal set of drivers and programs in the startup.

Since none of the software is opened automatically in the background the Clean Boot will let you avoid the software conflicts.

  • Go to start, search for msconfig
  • Select System Configuration from the results
  • Click on the Checkbox that says Hide all Microsoft Services (In case of Windows 10 CU select Diagnostic Startup)
  • Go to the Startup tab in the System Configuration and click on Open Task Manager
  • Select the programs individually and then click on Disable
  • Close the Task Manager and restart the computer

Windows won’t boot? Here’s how to fix the issue in no time!


2) Alternate method

Now in this step, you can troubleshoot each drive for errors and you can also check the computer’s primary hard disk for performance issues.

Also, consider comparing the same with the external hard disk.

  • Open the Windows File System
  • Right Click on the desired drive and then select Properties
  • Now go to the Tools tab>Error-Checking>Check now. Type in your admin credentials if asked for
  • Ensure that you check the Automatically fix file system errors so that the system will not only check the drive for disk error, but will also fix the issues if any
  • In order to perform a deep scan, select Scan for and then attempt the recovery of bad sectors. In this mode, the scan will attempt to fix the physical errors and will take longer to complete the task.
  • Select Automatically fix file system errors and Scan if you prefer checking both file errors and physical errors. That being said if any bad sectors are found on the hardisk the data will be lost.

Also, you can try out the EaseUS software which promises to fix your hard disk without causing any loss of data.

FAQ: Learn more about explorer.exe

What does explorer.exe do?

  • Explorer.exe is actually Windows’ Program Manager and it is in charge of managing the Windows Graphical Shell including the start menu, taskbar, desktop, and file manager. If you accidentally remove it, then you won’t be able to boot your PC and the graphical interface for Windows will disappear altogether.

How to restore explorer.exe?

  • If you ever need to restore explorer.exe, you will have to simultaneously press the Ctrl Alt Del keys to bring up the Task Manager and select it. As an alternative, you can simply press Ctrl Shift Esc to open the Task Manager directly. Then choose Run new task and type explorer.exe into the dialogue box. Validate your action by hitting the OK button.

How to pin explorer.exe to the taskbar?

  • All you need to do is hit the start menu and then type File. File explorer should appear right away in the search results. Right-click it, then choose Pin to taskbar.

If the Explorer.exe System call failed error still persists even after the scanner shows zero errors, it’s time you get the hard disk checked physically, but we hope you won’t have to. Do let us know if any of these solutions worked for you and if you happen to come across different workarounds, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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