If File Explorer keeps restarting on your Windows 11/10 PC, read this guide to know how to fix the issue. A few Windows users have reported that their File Explorer keeps restarting randomly on startup. This abrupt behavior sometimes causes the taskbar icons to refresh automatically (the taskbar goes blank and reloads the icons after a few seconds), which could be annoying. If you’re also experiencing the same issue, we will show you some effective solutions using which you can stop your File Explorer from restarting every few seconds.
File Explorer keeps restarting in Windows 11/10
File Explorer helps you browse files and folders on a Windows PC. It becomes very inconvenient when it didn’t function normally. If your File Explorer keeps restarting, use these solutions to fix the issue:
- Kill the explorer.exe process and restart the PC
- Disable Thumbnails
- Disable Preview Pane
- Clear File Explorer history
- Disable suspicious 3rd party shell extensions
- Modify BannerStore Registry Key
- Perform SFC scan
- Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State
Let us see these in detail.
1] Kill the explorer.exe process and restart the PC
Start by killing the explorer.exe process (and other unnecessary background processes) in Windows Task Manager and then restart the computer.
Right-click on the Start button icon and select Task Manager. Switch to the Details tab. Type ‘explorer’ in the Search bar on top. explorer.exe will show up. Right-click on the process and select End Task.
Once the process ends, reboot your PC. Press the Windows logo key + L. Click on the Power icon in the bottom-right corner and select Restart.
2] Disable Thumbnails
If the above solution won’t work, disable the thumbnails option in File Explorer. Thumbnails are small pictorial representations of files. If they’re corrupted, File Explorer won’t be able to retrieve them and begin crashing or restarting.
Open File Explorer. Click on the three horizontal dots on the right side of the toolbar in the Explorer window. Select Options.
Switch to the View tab in the Folder Options window. Check the Always show icons, never thumbnails option. Also, uncheck the Display file icons on thumbnails option. Click on the Apply button, then on the OK button. Now restart Explorer and see if it works.
3] Disable Preview Pane
The Preview Pane allows you to view a preview of the selected file on the right side of the File Explorer window. If the selected file is damaged, Explorer won’t be able to fetch its preview. This may cause the File Explorer to crash and restart. In such a case, turning off the Preview Pane feature can help fix the issue.
Open File Explorer and click on the View menu in the toolbar. Click on Show and deselect the Preview pane option.
4] Clear File Explorer history
A few users have been able to resolve the issue by clearing the File Explorer history, which may contain corrupt file records.
Open File Explorer Options (as explained above). Click on the Clear button next to the Clear File Explorer history option under the General tab.
5] Disable suspicious 3rd party shell extensions
Shell extensions are COM objects that extend the capabilities of File Explorer. They can be installed automatically by the OS or by third-party software. Third-party shell extensions can sometimes cause issues with File Explorer. You can use the freeware ShellExView or AutoRuns to view and disable suspicious 3rd party extensions on your Windows 11/10 PC.
6] Modify BannerStore Registry Key
Apparently, many users have been able to resolve the issue by renaming or deleting the BannerStore registry key. This key, if gets misconfigured or corrupted, could lead to a temporary buffer overrun, which may cause File Explorer issues in Windows (a buffer is a dedicated RAM space to store temporary data). Modify the BannerStore registry key and see if it fixes the issue.
Note: Create a system restore point before making any changes to the Windows registry.
Press Win+R and type ‘regedit‘ in the Run dialogue box. Press the Enter key and click on the Yes button in the UAC prompt.
Navigate to the following path in the Registry Editor window:
Rename the BannerStore folder to BannerStore_Bak. Reboot Windows; the issue should have disappeared now.
7] Perform SFC scan
Next, use the System File Checker tool to run the
sfc /scannow command. This command will scan your Windows system to identify corrupt system files and repair them automatically.
8] Troubleshoot in Clean Boot State
If everything else fails, try troubleshooting in a clean boot state to identify and resolve any software conflicts. Clean boot is a diagnostic mode where you have to manually disable all non-Microsoft services (services related to third-party software) to check whether the issue has disappeared. If it does, you can re-enable the services one by one and reboot until the problem reappears. This way, you can identify which background process is interfering with the File Explorer.
Also, run a virus scan to rule out any possibility of virus or malware infection on your PC. Go to Settings > Privacy & security > Windows Security. Click on Virus & threat protection. Then click on Quick Scan.
I hope the above troubleshooting steps help you resolve restarting issue with File Explorer on your Windows 11/10 PC.
Why does my File Explorer keep restarting?
The restarting loop of explorer.exe could be a result of corrupted system files, corrupted or misconfigured registry entries, corrupted file thumbnails, corrupted file records in File Explorer history, and conflicting third-party shell extensions. The issue may also be caused due to corrupted or outdated video drivers in Windows.
How do I fix File Explorer crashing on Windows 11?
To stop File Explorer from freezing or crashing on your Windows 11/10 PC, you should install the latest available updates, disable the preview pane and thumbnails view in the Explorer window, disable suspected third-party shell extensions, temporarily disable the UAC prompt, and update video drivers. If the issue continues to show up, you may use the System File Checker tool to repair corrupt system files.
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