Fix: Windows File Explorer Keeps Crashing & Main Causes

Your fastest option may be to use the netsh command

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Windows & Software Expert
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Editor-in-Chief
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • The File Explorer tool is probably the most used function in the Windows OS.
  • Why does File Explorer keep closing on its own? Issues such as improper system settings or incompatible third-party software can cause this issue.
  • How do I stop File Explorer from crashing Windows 10,11? Run netsh and winsock reset as we have shown in our second solution.
file explorer crashes

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Microsoft is planning to overhaul File Explorer in the future, but many issues still plague the current version of this file manager app. One of the most common and annoying problems is the frequent crashes users have complained about for a long time.

When users try to open a folder, the File Explorer window and Taskbar immediately close down and sometimes reopen after a few seconds.

If you’re experiencing File Explorer crashes, use the workarounds below to fix this bug.

Why does File Explorer keep crashing?

Microsoft has already rolled out a series of cumulative updates to fix this issue, but many users still report Files Explorer crashes.

Here are the most common causes of File Explorer crashes:

Many users reported that File Explorer freezes after creating a new folder, and this is usually a bug, so we encourage you to update your OS to the latest version.

This isn’t the only issue, and many reported that File Explorer crashes after right-click, which can interfere with your daily activities. To fix it, you might have to restore your system.

Unfortunately, this problem is present on all versions, and users reported File Explorer crashes in Windows 11, but there are ways to fix this issue.

Here are a few variations to Windows crashes that users have encountered:

  • File Explorer hangs in Windows 10 – One common problem with File Explorer is slowdowns. According to users, sometimes File Explorer crashes are preceded by frequent hangs.
  • File Explorer crashes in Windows 10 when unzipping/right-clicking/extracting-files/searching – One common variation of this problem is frequent crashes when right-clicking something. This issue usually appears due to third-party apps, but you can fix this problem with one of our solutions.
  • File Explorer Quick Access crashing – Another common problem with File Explorer is frequent crashes while using the Quick Access feature.
  • File Explorer keeps closing/crashing when opening folder in Windows 11 – According to users, it closes by itself in random intervals, which can be a big problem.
  • Windows 10 Explorer crash loop – File Explorer crashing Windows 10 – This is one of the more severe problems since File Explorer can keep crashing constantly. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll encounter a crash loop, and you won’t be able to use File Explorer.
  • File Explorer not responding, not working – In some cases, File Explorer can stop working altogether, and the only solution is to close it by force.
  • File Explorer won’t open – Windows Explorer keeps crashing on startup – Sometimes, File Explorer won’t be able to start at all. This can be a severe problem, but you should be able to fix it using one of our solutions.
  • File Explorer takes a long time to open – Many users reported that their File Explorer is rather slow. According to them, it takes a long time for File Explorer to open, which can be a big problem.

preview pane freezes explorer windows 10 – file explorer randomly closes
Windows 7 file explorer keeps crashing

Regardless of your specific situation, it would help if you tried our solutions below.

In this article

How do I fix File Explorer crashing?

1. Repair corrupted system files

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2. Run netsh and winsock reset

  1. Type cmd in the search box, right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator.
    File Explorer hangs in Windows 10
  2. Type netsh in Command Prompt and press Enter.
  3. Next, type winsock in Command Prompt and hit Enter.
  4. Finally, type reset in Command Prompt and hit Enter.
    File Explorer crashes

3. Give yourself full permission to access the folder content

  1. Launch File Explorer, right-click the folder where the files are stored, and select Properties.
    File Explorer keeps closing
  2. Go to the Security tab, then click the Advanced button.
    Windows 10 Explorer crash loop
  3. Next to the Owner label, click on Change, and in the new window, select Advanced.
    • If you already know which username you want to add, type it in the field Enter the object name to select.
      File Explorer not responding, not working
  4. If you clicked on Advanced, a new window would open; click on Find Now to see all the groups and users from your computer.
    File Explorer won't open
  5. Select the name or group from the list, click OK, then save the changes.
    File Explorer takes a long time to open
  6. Set full access to the file folder for your account. To do that, right-click on the folder and navigate to Properties > Security > Edit.
    File Explorer opens and closes immediately
  7. Lastly, set permissions to Full control in the Allow column for your account and click Apply and OK to save changes (Note that if your account isn’t on the list, click on Add button to add it).
    File Explorer hangs in Windows 10

This action is necessary because sometimes the Windows 10 Installer doesn’t correctly manage file permissions.

If you’re interested in how to take ownership of a file or a folder, check out this in-depth guide that will help you better understand how to do it.

4. Reinstall your graphics card driver

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open the Windows menu, then select Device Manager from the results lists.
    File Explorer keeps closing
  2. Locate your graphics card driver, right-click it and choose Uninstall device from the menu.
    Windows 10 Explorer crash loop
  3. Check Delete the driver software for this device and click on Uninstall.
    File Explorer not responding, not working

If File Explorer crashes, that might be due to your graphics card driver. To fix the issue, we recommend reinstalling your graphics card driver.

If you want to remove all files associated with your graphics card, you might want to use Display Driver Uninstaller.

After removing the driver, you need to visit your graphics card manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver for your device.

In addition to your graphics card driver, users recommend reinstalling both audio and Wi-Fi drivers, so you might want to do that.

Another great way to do it is to use a dedicated driver updater software, which will search for a working version and overwrite the faulty one. Usually, this type of software can choose which driver to install and which not.

This type of tool is beneficial when you are not sure about what version is needed. Instead of risking downloading the wrong version, and making things even worse, use one of the tools.

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5. Change your File Explorer Options

  1. Press Windows Key + S, enter folder options, and select File Explorer Options.
    File Explorer crashes Windows 10 right click
  2. Navigate to the View tab.
  3. Check Launch folder windows in a separate process and click Apply and OK to save changes.
    File Explorer Quick Access crashing

If File Explorer crashes on your Windows 10 PC, you might be able to fix the problem simply by changing its settings. According to users, you can fix this problem simply by enabling a single setting.

After doing that, you’ll have another Windows Explorer process related to your currently open directory. This is a simple solution, but users claim that it works.

Did you know that File Explorer folders have separate process windows in Task Manager? Take a quick look at our article to find out more.

6. Change the text size

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to the System section.
    File Explorer keeps closing
  3. Locate Scale and layout section and set the font size to 100% (Recommended). You can also use 200% if you like.
    Windows 10 Explorer crash loop

According to users, sometimes, File Explorer crashes if your font size isn’t correct. Windows allows you to adjust the font size in your apps, but occasionally, specific values can cause issues with File Explorer.

After making the changes to the text size, the issue should be resolved, and File Explorer will stop crashing.

7. Clean File Explorer history

  1. Press Windows Key + S, enter folder options, and select File Explorer Options.
    File Explorer crashes Windows 10 right click
  2. Navigate to the Privacy section and click the Clear button.
    File Explorer not responding

Sometimes you can fix File Explorer crashes simply by clearing your File Explorer history since Windows keeps a list of recently modified directories. Sometimes this can cause various problems.

After clicking the Clear button, the file history will be removed, and the problem should be fixed. This is a temporary solution; if the issue reappears, you’ll need to clear your file history again.

8. Don’t display recently used files and folders in the Quick Access section

  1. Press Windows Key + S, enter folder options, and select File Explorer Options.
    File Explorer crashes Windows 10 right click
  2. Locate Privacy section and disable Show recently used files in Quick access and Show frequently used folders in Quick access.
    File Explorer not working
  3. Finally, click on Apply and OK to save changes.

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File Explorer has a Quick Access section that lets you quickly access recently opened files or folders. However, due to specific issues, the Quick access feature can cause File Explorer crashes to occur.

One temporary fix you can try is to disable recent files and folders from appearing in the Quick Access section. After that, recent files and frequently used folders won’t appear in the Quick Access section, and the problem should be resolved entirely.

Several users suggest that you should also clear your File Explorer history after performing this solution, so be sure to try that as well.

9. Install the latest updates

  1. Open the Settings app and navigate to the Update & security section.
    File Explorer won't open
  2. Click on Check for updates button.
    File Explorer takes a long time to open
  3. Finally, if there are any updates, download and install them.

If File Explorer crashes on your PC, you might be able to fix the problem simply by installing the latest updates.

Windows downloads the updates automatically in the background, but sometimes you might miss an important update.

Windows will now check for available updates. If updates are available, Windows will download them in the background and install them once you restart your PC.

After updating Windows to the latest version, the problems with File Explorer will be resolved.

10. Disable preview panel and preview handlers

  1. Open any directory in File Explorer.
  2. Go to the View tab and ensure Preview panel option isn’t selected.
    File Explorer opens and closes immediately
  3. Now open the View tab once again and click on Options.
    File Explorer hangs in Windows 10
  4. Folder Options window will appear.
  5. Go to the View tab and uncheck Show preview handlers in preview pane.
  6. Finally, click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    File Explorer crashes Windows 10 right click

According to users, File Explorer crashes can occur due to the preview pane. Many users use the preview pane to preview files before they open them, but sometimes this feature can cause problems with File Explorer.

You must disable the preview pane and preview handlers to fix the issue. After turning these options off, the problem should be resolved entirely.

11. Set File Explorer to open This PC

  1. Press Windows Key + S, enter folder options, and select File Explorer Options.
    File Explorer crashes Windows 10 right click
  2. When File Explorer Options window opens, set Open File Explorer to This PC.
    File Explorer Quick Access crashing
  3. Lastly, click on Apply and OK to save changes.

By default, File Explorer will open the Quick Access section. This is the default behavior, but sometimes Quick Access can cause File Explorer crashes. In addition, users suggest changing File Explorer settings to open This PC instead of Quick Access to circumvent this problem.

After making these changes, File Explorer will open This PC instead of Quick Access by default. This is just a simple workaround, but many users reported that it works for them, so feel free to try it out.

12. Disable or remove your antivirus

  1. Open the third-party antivirus and access the Protection or Security menu. We offer Bitdefender as an example, but all antiviruses can be disabled from their menus.
  2. Click the Open button under Antivirus.
    File Explorer crashes
  3. Lastly, select the Advanced tab and click the switch to turn off Bitdefender Shield.

Antivirus software is essential if you want to protect your PC from online threats. Unfortunately, several users reported that their antivirus software caused problems with File Explorer.

According to them, your antivirus can cause File Explorer crashes, so we recommend disabling your antivirus to fix the problem. If disabling the antivirus doesn’t help, you might have to uninstall it.

If you’re a Norton user, we’ve got a dedicated guide on deleting it from your PC. There is a similar article for McAfee users, as well.

Remember that uninstalling the antivirus isn’t always enough, so you might have to remove all associated files and registry entries. So the simplest way to do that is to use a dedicated removal tool.

Almost all antivirus companies offer removal tools for their software, but sometimes even they leave behind registry files. Thus, it’s recommended to use dedicated uninstaller solutions that will do it for you.

So if you want the most effective service to remove your antivirus for good, choose the best uninstaller software for Windows 10.

After you remove your antivirus, install the latest version and check if that solves the issue.

Alternatively, you can switch to a different antivirus solution. For example, users reported that AVG, McAfee, and Malwarebytes cause this problem, but other antivirus tools can also cause this issue.

13. Remove or edit IDT Audio

13.1 Remove IDT Audio

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Apps section.
    File Explorer won't open
  2. A list of all installed apps will appear.
  3. Select IDT Audio from the list and click on Remove.
  4. Now follow the instructions on the screen to remove the application.

If you don’t want to use the Settings app, you can uninstall IDT Audio by doing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter control panel, then select Control Panel from the results list.
    File Explorer takes a long time to open
  2. When Control Panel opens, navigate to Programs and Features.
    File Explorer opens and closes immediately
  3. A list of all installed applications will now appear. Locate IDT Audio and double-click it.
  4. Finally, follow the instructions on the screen to remove it.

Many PC manufacturers, such as Dell and HP, use IDT Audio. This application usually comes preinstalled on PCs, which can sometimes cause File Explorer crashes. To fix the problem, you need to find and uninstall this application.

13.2 Edit IDT Audio

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Now enter the script below and hit Enter.
    ren IDTNC64.CPL IDTNC64.CPL.old
    File Explorer hangs in Windows 10
  3. After the command is executed, the problems with IDT Audio and File Explorer should be resolved.

Few users claim that you don’t even have to uninstall IDT audio; you can change the name of its Control Panel applet.

14. Disable problematic context menu items

  1. Download ShellExView and start it.
  2. This is a portable application, so you can run it without installation.
  3. When ShellExView starts, click on Options and choose Filter by Extension Type.
    File Explorer crashes Windows 10 right click
  4. Select Context menu and click on OK.
    File Explorer Quick Access crashing
  5. Now find a third-party application you want to disable, right-click it and choose Disable Selected Items.
  6. You can also select multiple items if you wish.
    File Explorer keeps closing
  7. A confirmation message will appear.
  8. Click on Yes to disable the selected application.
    Windows 10 Explorer crash loop
  9. After disabling the desired applications, you must go to Options > Restart Explorer.
    File Explorer not responding, not working
  10. A confirmation message will appear.
  11. Finally, click on Yes to restart Windows Explorer.
    File Explorer won't open

After Windows Explorer restarts, the disabled applications won’t appear in your context menu anymore, and the problem should be resolved. According to users, the following items can cause this problem to appear on your PC, so be sure to disable them:

  • SpyBoy Search & Destroy Shell Extension
  • Carbonite Context Menu
  • AVG antivirus
  • Format Factory
  • Nvidia’s OpenGLshExt Class
  • ConvertToPdf Class by Foxit Software
  • WinRAR

According to users, File Explorer crashes can occur due to certain context menu items. Usually, third-party applications will add their features to your context menu, causing this problem whenever you right-click something.

To fix this issue, you need to use ShellExView software. This is a freeware application that allows you to disable context menu items.

These are the common causes of this problem, but other third-party applications can also cause this issue.

15. Remove the malicious files

Sometimes File Explorer crashes can occur due to malicious files. Several users reported this problem because a specific .tmp file in C:/ProgramData/Microsoft/PerformanceMonitor/ was malicious. After removing the problematic file, the issue was resolved entirely.

There you have it; our top solutions for File Explorer crashes. We hope you managed to fix the problem by using one of our solutions.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in other File Explorer issues on Windows 10, you can check out our comprehensive guide with many great solutions for different Explorer problems.

In conclusion, if you have any other suggestions or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll be sure to take a look.