One problem that many end users tend to experience while installing or uninstalling an application is the PC either freezing or completely crashing. This also tends to occur when attempting to use the Windows Update component. However, the most important aspect of this is the error message that most users will encounter as their system crashes; which is the following:
Windows Explorer has stopped working
If you don’t know what Windows Explorer is, it’s basically a built-in component of Windows, also known by the name File Explorer. It was originally created by Microsoft as part of their Windows 98 operating system. It also works in tandem with other Windows components, such as Task Manager, Desktop etc, with a breadcrumbs feature designed to improve navigation.
The default file location for this component is:
Explorer.exe is a component that will start automatically during system boot up. Despite the importance of this program, it is just a program like any other, making it vulnerable to the same things, such as corruption, viruses, repeated use etc.
With that said, there are a number of reasons why you may be experiencing an error with this component. Below are some of the many solutions you can use to fix it.
Run a Virus Scan
Whenever a Windows component stops working properly, it’s usually because of corruption to important system files, this may be caused by a number of different things, with the main culprit being a virus or malicious file. Thus, as a first solution, you may want to try running a full virus scan of your system, assuming you have antivirus software installed on your computer.
If you don’t have any, then I recommend you download some immediately. There are many different solutions that you can try, I personally like AVG, but there’s also Norton which tends to be pretty decent, comes jam-packed with a lot of features, making it easier to use, especially for novices.
In addition to running a full virus scan of your computer, you may also want to run a registry scan. I recommend you download Ccleaner, which is a free computer maintenance tool, and scan the registry with it.
Update Your Drivers
Corrupt drivers are capable of causing a whole plethora of problems on your computer. Blue screen of death errors being the most common, but it’s also capable of prohibiting, preventing or corrupting certain Windows components. Thus, you may want to consider updating the drivers for all the components attached or installed inside your computer.
Simply visit the manufacturer website of all the various components connected to your computer and download the most up-to-date drivers, make sure the driver(s) is compatible with your operating system.
Alternatively, you can use a driver updater tool, which will update everything automatically. The solution you choose will depend on your level of expertise. For beginners, I recommend the updater tool.
A corrupted hard disc drive is capable of causing a number of different errors on your computer. If the Windows Explorer component is saved on a damaged sector on your hard drive, this would inadvertently cause the component to crash. To fix this problem, you would need to run a deep scan of your hard drive. To do that, simply do the following:
1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative rights.
2. Then press Windows Key + R, and type cmd into the Run Command box and click on OK.
3. When Command Prompt loads up, type chkdsk /r /f then hit the Enter key.
4. Lastly, restart your computer.
Note: If you’re denied access due to lack of privileges, then open My Computer, right click on your Hard Drive and select Properties. From the Hard Drive Properties applet, click on the Tools tab, and then click on Check Now, under Error-checking. Make sure to tick the box for Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors and click on Start.
If the solutions outlined above failed to fix this problem, then it means the operating system is corrupted and needs to be repaired through some other means. To repair the operating system, there are a number of different options you can take. Of these various methods, the quickest and simplest is to run the System File Checker.
This tool will scan the system files on your Windows operating system and replace where applicable. It’s an easy way of having all your most important files replaced without having to reinstall Windows.
Running this tool is fairly simple, just do the following:
1. First, boot into your computer with full administrative privileges.
2. Then press Windows Key + R, and type cmd into the Run Command box that loads up and lastly click on OK, when done.
3. Once Command Prompt loads up, type sfc /scannow and press Enter.
Note: You may be prompted to put your Windows CD into your CD ROM drive, so make sure to have it on hand before you start the process.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website Compuchenna.