File Explorer (known as Windows Explorer in all Windows versions prior to Windows 10) is a native file browser facility incorporated by Microsoft into the Windows operating system family.
It is a very neat and handy utility that enables users to browse through the file system easily. The explorer.exe crash is caused by any sudden interruption in the flow of the codes of File Explorer. This interruption is often caused by external factors. This guide explains the most common causes of the explorer.exe crashes, and how to fix them.
Solution 1: Update Graphics Driver
Graphics Driver is used to control and manage the display adapter which is often used by 3D applications to draw contents on the screen. Recent versions of Windows make use of the display adapter instead of the CPU to draw its interface (including File Explorer) to speed up the image rendering as well as reduce any stutters. This procedure is known as Hardware Acceleration. Even though it sounds great, but there is one small problem associated with it. It needs the Graphics Driver to be up-to-date at all times so as to avoid crashes. The procedure to update the display adapter is very simple. Here it goes then.
How to Find Currently Installed Display Adapter’s Name
The display adapter’s name can be found in the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.
- Open up the Run menu by pressing the Windows Key + R shortcut combination.
- Type in dxdiag and press Enter to launch the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.
- Now switch to the Display tab, and note the value in front of the Name field, to locate the display adapter’s name.
- Use one of the links posted below to download the driver.
Solution 2: Clean Thumbnail Caches
As reported widely over the Internet, after updating from Windows 10 Version 1511 to 1607, File Explorer may suddenly crash on its own. This is actually due to the old cache files that are incompatible with the newer version of File Explorer. Hence the old cache files have to be purged in order to fix this issue. Make sure to close “Windows explorer” (also known as “File Explorer) before proceeding.
- Search for Disk Cleanup in the Search Windows area and select it to launch it.
- Clicking on OK will launch a scan that will scan the whole hard drive for files to delete. Once the scan is over, scroll down the list of files detected until you come across Thumbnails. Select it and click OK to clean up all the old thumbnail files.
- Open Task Manager and click on More details.
- Scroll down to the Windows processes heading and locate Windows Explorer. Right-click it simply and select Restart.
Solution 3: Clear File Explorer History
Cleaning up the File Explorer history refreshes its cache and other related data such as frequently used files and the Quick access items. This helps in fixing certain unknown problems that pertain to File Explorer. This solution may or may not work for certain users, but there is no harm in trying it out in any case. It is known to be particularly helpful if the File Explorer crashes when the user opens the Quick access menu.
- Since the File Explorer opens up the Quick access menu at startup, the Command Prompt has to be used to change its startup position. Open Command Prompt through the Start menu and type explorer.exe c:\windows or any folder as seen in the following screenshot.
- Click the View button.
- Locate and click Options to open up the Folder Options window.
- Under the Privacy heading, select both the checkboxes for Show recently used files in Quick access and Show frequently used folders in Quick access. Now click Clear to freshen up the File Explorer.
- Now restart Windows Explorer as you did so in step # 4 of the last solution.