Easy fix: File Explorer crashes after right click

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • The File Explorer previously known as Windows Explorer enables users to easily organize and browse through the different files and folders stored on their PC.
  • Like any other app, the file manager can sometimes behave unpredictably, but when it crashes altogether on a simple click, you might find yourself in a troublesome situation. Fortunately, the solutions below are tested and sure to deliver you of this issue. Follow the enlisted steps to gain back control of your file management app in no time.
  • Looking for more in-depth infos on this topic? Go straight to the File Explorer page and get all the right fixes in one place.
  • Whenever you're ready, explore our Windows 10 errors hub and make sure to bookmark the page for future reference.
fix File Explorer

Some users are facing a problem with their File Explorer. Apparently, their File Explorer crashes when they click on the right mouse click. This problem could be caused by a bad context menu handler.

In case you didn’t know, a context menu handler is a shell extension handler whose job is to add comments to an existing context menu, like for example: cut, paste, print, etc.

What to do it File Explorer crashes when clicking right?

  1. Perform A Clean Boot
  2. Use ShellExView to Manage Context Menu Handlers
  3. Run SFC

1. Perform A Clean Boot

Clean Boot could be a solution for many problems, and it may fix ours as well. Clean Boot starts Windows with a minimal amount of drivers and software, in order to determine if some software conflict with each other, or prevent them from working.

Before you perform a Clean Boot, you need to login to your computer as an administrator. Here’s how to do it:

  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. Or, if you are using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.
  • Type msconfig in the search box, and then tap or click msconfig.
  • On the Services tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then tap or click Disable all.hide all microsoft services
  • On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click Open Task Manager.
  • On the Startup tab in Task Manager, for each startup item, select the item and then click Disable.disable startup programs
  • Close Task Manager.
  • On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box, tap or click OK, and then restart the computer.

Be aware that your computer may lose some functionality after you perform a Clean Boot. But, right after you start your PC normally, the functionality will return, so there’s no need to worry about that.

Also, you should be very careful when you’re performing a Clean Boot, because if you make certain errors, your computer could become unusable.

Windows 10 File Explorer won’t refresh? Check out this guide and have it fixed in no time.

2. Use ShellExView to Manage Context Menu Handlers

If a Clean Boot didn’t help, then your problem is definitely caused by a bad context menu handler. And below, you’ll find the best and fastest way to handle your bad context menu handlers.

You’ll need to install one third-party software in order to solve your problems with band context menu handlers.

ShellExView is a great tool to view and manage all installed shell extensions. If available, the software displays the description, as well as version details, company information, location, file name, and more.

You can also manually disable or enable any item, so you can choose which extension you want to run, and which you don’t.

After you download and run ShellExView, it will perform a complete scan of the registry in order to find all available shell extensions. After the scan is done, you need to spot the context menu handlers. Use Type to sort all the context menu handlers together.

Now, all you need to do is to disable non-Microsoft context menu handlers one-by-one, so disable one non-Micorosft context menu handler, and if the problem is still present, re-enable it and disable another menu handler, and so on.

To see which context menu handler isn’t Microsoft’s, just look for the information under the Company Name column in ShelExView.

Download Nirsoft’s ShellExView

3. Run SFC

If the issue persists after following these two solutions, you can also run SFC. This is a built-in tool that scans your system files and fixes corrupted or missing ones. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Launch Command Prompt from the Start menu > type sfc /scannowsfc scannow
  2. Hit Enter for the scan to start
  3. Wait for the scan to complete. Try to open File Explorer again to see if this solved the problem.

So there you have it, each one of these solutions should resolve your File Explorer issue when clicking right with the mouse. Do let us know which one was it in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about File Explorer

  • Can’t right click in File Explorer?

If you are unable to right-click on a file within the File Explorer, try restarting the app from the Processes tab. Check out more solutions in this complete guide.

  • Why is my file explorer crashing?

One of the main culprits for system or apps crashes is data corruption. In order to fix corrupted system files, try running a SFC scan or explore further fixes in this step-by-step tutorial.

  • Can I reinstall File Explorer Windows 10?

No, but you can update it via the global Windows update system. Here’s what you need to do if Windows Update won’t check for recommendations.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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