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How to Restart Windows’ Explorer.exe (Along with the Taskbar and Start Menu)

If your Taskbar, System Tray, or Start menu acts up, you might be tempted to restart your PC. Instead, you can usually just restart Windows Explorer—and Windows makes it pretty easy.

Windows Explorer (Explorer.exe) is a program manager process that provides the graphical interface you use to interact with most of Windows—the Start menu, taskbar, notification area, and File Explorer. Occasionally, any of these pieces that make up the Windows graphical shell can start acting strangely or even hang. Just like you can close and restart an app that’s acting up, you can also close and restart Windows Explorer. Restarting Windows Explorer can also be handy if you’ve just installed a new app or applied a Registry tweak that would normally require you to restart your PC. Restarting Explorer doesn’t always work in those cases, but it’s easy enough to try it first if you want to avoid a full restart. Here are a few ways you can restart Windows Explorer.

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