The explorer.exe process is a critical system process on the Microsoft Windows operating system. The process itself is responsible for Windows Explorer which allows users on the computer to browse through the file and document library on the hard drive. This process launches an application window and a graphical user interface to make browsing through directories clean and simple. When this process becomes overloaded or is using too much memory, various computing functions may be hampered as a result.

File name: Explorer.exe
Application: Windows
Publisher: Microsoft
Rating: 3 stars based on 458 votes
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Possible causes of Explorer.exe errors

These errors are frequently caused by conflicts with the file or installation profile, misuse of the file or respective directories, or a malicious attack on the system.

  • When conflicts arise on the profile or with the file, the application may be unable to transmit data between the necessary files.
  • When a file or directory is misused or damaged, the application as a whole may be unable to load.
  • Malicious attacks or infections on the system may render the entire system frozen or unable to perform any necessary computing functions.
Regardless of the cause, determining the best solution should be the first action step when noticing any system-related computer errors.

Is Explorer.exe a dangerous file (virus, malware, spyware)?

In most cases, the file is considered to be safe. However, files do become corrupt at times and some malicious files are disguised to represent known, secure system files. When that happens, they can be very difficult to detect and remove, but using a comprehensive system scan usually detects them and allows you to safely remove them.

Known Explorer.exe error messages

Explorer.exe error

Common error messages users may see include:

  • File not found: Explorer.exe
  • Cannot find file: Explorer.exe
  • Device not recognized missing Explorer.exe file
As the file is associated with USB connections to the computer, a keyboard, mouse, or other piece of hardware connected to the machine through a USB cable may be causing the error or may be unable to function properly due to the error.

Should I stop the Explorer.exe task or process within the Task Manager?

Unless you have experience managing the processes and tasks on your machine, it is best to allow a system scanner or registry scanner to handle those tasks. Many of the tasks are required for performing specific operations on your machine and removing them may cause your program or entire computer to malfunction or reboot.

Should I download a new copy of the Explorer.exe file?

The only time you should ever download a new version of a system file is when it comes through an application update or from the publisher directly. Be very cautious when downloading system files from third-party websites as they may contain additional software that you would install without knowing. This could cause an even larger issue than the error you are getting from this file!
WARNING: If you already downloaded a new file from an external site,
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Best way to fix Explorer.exe errors

When these errors occur, verify if any new hardware or software has been added. If so, simply removing the new hardware or software may resolve the issue. If not, follow the steps below.

  1. Scan for any driver updates for new equipment. If new equipment or programs have been loaded, they may require updated drivers. Download new, secure drivers and perform a clean system restart.
  2. Download and install updates for the operating system. Regardless of the operating system version you are using, it is always considered good practice to install the latest security updates.
  3. Use anti-virus and anti-malware applications. Most virus scanners will protect your machine from basic threats. To increase your protection, use a malware scanner as well.
If the above steps fail to resolve the issue, it may be due to outdated hardware or software.

More information about Explorer.exe

Another common issue with this file is that it may cause system freezing or rebooting. Because this can happen when you are in the middle of processing a file or document, it may result in data loss. A quick fix to avoid this from happening is to end or restart the process if you catch it in time. In some cases, ending this process will remove your ability to perform other basic computing functions and may result in data loss regardless.

Like many other files on your computer, if this file begins experiencing errors, it may result in damage to other system files too. One of the system files that may be affected is wuauclt.exe. When these files are both presenting errors, it is important to scan and remove these problems and quickly as you can. Failure to prevent these errors from occurring can result in further data loss and/or additional software and hardware failure.