How to Turn on Explorer.Exe

by Robert Kingsley

Explorer.exe is commonly mistaken as the process for Microsoft Internet Explorer. The truth is, explorer.exe is the shell for the Windows operating system. This application contains the complete user interface that allows people to work with their computer and data. It provides the desktop environment including shortcuts, the taskbar and the Start menu. Explorer is also responsible for the allowing users to browse through the files on the computer. Occasionally, this important application fails to launch at startup, leaving you with you wallpaper and nothing else. If this occurs, you just need to give Explorer.exe a kick-start.

Hold "Ctrl" and "Shift" and press "Esc" to launch the Windows Task Manager.

Select the "Applications" tab and click "New Task..." from the bottom right corner of the window.

Type "explorer.exe" in the text box provided and press "OK." Be sure to omit the quotation marks. Windows will now launch Explorer.exe, providing you with the user environment you need to get working.


  • check If you begin to see regular failures of explorer.exe at startup, try uninstalling any new application you've configured to run at startup.
  • check Restarting the Explorer.exe process can be helpful to recover from a system freeze. Just end the process from the "Process" tab in Task Manager and then start it from the "Applications" tab.

About the Author

Robert Kingsley has been writing technical copy and procedural documents since 2007. He has years of experience with networking and hardware troubleshooting to help guide readers through their information technology-related issues. Kingsley received his associate's degree in computer networking systems from ITT Technical Institute in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Photo Credits

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