FIX: File Explorer Icon Missing in Windows 10 Start Menu

by Claudiu Andone
Claudiu Andone
Claudiu Andone
Windows & Software Expert
Oldtimer in the tech and science press, Claudiu is focused on whatever comes new from Microsoft. His abrupt interest in computers started when he saw the first Home... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • File Explorer replaced Windows Explorer from previous versions of Windows, and sometimes it's not visible.
  • Tabs and commands differ based on what folder is open, what file is selected, or what function is being used.
  • In this article, we’ll show you how to restore the missing File Explorer icon back to the Start Menu in Windows.

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In Windows 10, the File Explorer icon is available by default in the taskbar. Users can also access the File Explorer from the Start menu in the lower-left corner. File Explorer icon missing from Start Menu is an issue that you may encounter out of nowhere though.

The WIN + E shortcut keys are one of the simplest ways to launch the File Explorer in Windows 10, but most users prefer to launch it directly from the taskbar or Start menu.

Some Windows 10 users have reported that the File Explorer is missing from the Start menu. If you don’t see File Explorer in the Start menu, this article will show you how to restore it in Windows 10.

There are numerous methods for resolving the File Explorer icon missing from the Start menu in Windows 10 issue.

How do I fix File Explorer Icon Missing in Windows 10 Start Menu?

1. Verify Settings App

One can easily add or remove File Explore with the help of a setting that is available in the new Settings app of Windows 10. To verify the settings, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Start button and then click on the Settings icon available in the Start menu. Alternatively, you can simply press WIN + I keyboard shortcuts, to quickly launch the Settings app.
  2. Click on the Personalization > Start. On the left pane, scroll down to the bottom and click on the link which reads Choose which folders appear on Start.
  3. Now verify that the File Explorer option is On. If it is disabled, then enable it by moving the toggle, and File Explorer will definitely appear in the Start menu.

But for some reason, if you cannot change the setting for File Explorer or if the toggle is grayed out, then check out the next solution.

2. Manually add Missing File Explorer in the Start menu

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As discussed above, if the File Explorer option in the Settings App is grayed out, then you cannot enable it directly. Not to worry, you can still restore the shortcut easily, All you need to do is to manually add the File Explorer shortcut in the Start menu.

  1. Download the File Explorer file using this link. Now simply Extract the zip file to get the File Explorer shortcut.
  2. After that launch the RUN dialog box. For that, Press WIN + R keyboard shortcuts and type the following path in it and press OK. C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu Places
  3. Copy the extracted File Explorer shortcut and paste it into the folder. You will see the confirmation pop-up when trying to paste the file. Simply click on the Continue button.
  4. Launch the Settings app -> Personalization -> Click on Start tab. On the right side, choose which folder should appear on Start and enable the File Explorer option in the Settings.

Note: In the above location, you need to replace C: with the name of the drive on which you have installed the Windows 10.

3. Change File Explorer properties

  1. Launch the Run Dialog box by pressing WIN + R keyboard shortcut.
  2. In the RUN dialog box type the following location and click OK to launch the Start menu places folder. C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu Places.
  3. In the folder, make a right-click on the empty area of the folder and from the context menu select Properties.
  4. In the Start menu place the properties tab, and switch to the Previous Versions tab.
  5. Choose the earlier data, and then click on the Restore button.
  6. Now Launch the Settings app > Personalization > Click on the Start tab.
  7. On the right side, choose which folder should appear on Start and enable the File Explorer option in the Settings.

Now doing this, the File Explorer shortcut will start appearing in the Start menu places folder. If it appears in the folder, you can now enable the File Explorer toggle in the settings app.

4. Create a Shortcut to the File Manually

  1. Right-click on the empty space on the Windows 10 desktop. From the context menu, click on New Shortcut to launch create shortcut wizard.
  2. In the space provided for entering the location of the item, you need to type the path %windir%\explorer.exe and click Next.
  3. In the space provided, type the item name to be File Explorer. After that, click on the Finish button to create the shortcut of File Explorer on the desktop.
  4. Launch the RUN dialog box by pressing WIN + R keyboard shortcut and type in this path C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu Places.
  5. In this folder, you need to copy-paste the shortcut of File Explore which you have created previously on the desktop in step 3.
  6. When a confirmation pop-up appears, click on the Continue button.
  7. Now Launch the Settings app > Personalization > Click on the Start tab. On the right side, choose which folder should appear on Start. Here you should see the File Explorer settings.

Simply move the toggle to turn it on and the File Explorer icon will appear in the Start menu of Windows 10.

That’s all! We are confident that this method will resolve the File Explorer Icon Missing in Windows 10 Start Menu issue.

Why not give these methods a shot and let us know which one you used to resolve the missing File Explorer bug?

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