‘Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working’ Error In Windows Vista

Just today I faced this error message and it was really cumbersome. Ultimately I was successful to solve it. Description: This error message box continuously comes even after you close it. So, except ‘Task Manager’ you can’t operate/open anything.

Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working

Root Cause:
One of the possible cause of this error is ‘Corrupt File‘ in any of the below scenarios,

  1. If your desktop is containing any corrupt file then you will keep getting this error continuously.
  2. If opened explorer is containing any ‘corrupt file’ then this error message comes, when you click ‘Restart Program’, opened window gets closed and error disappears.

Solution that will not work for above scenarios:
System Restore: After system restore, problem still persists.
Safe Mode: It keeps coming in safe mode also. :(

If you are in great hurry then login as different user and error will not come (In case of desktop containing corrupt file).
Anyhow you need to delete the corrupt file. There are number of ways. Let me describe one of them,

  • Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to start Task Manager
  • Click on ‘New Task’
  • Enter ‘cmd’ and hit OK to start the command prompt
  • Go to the path of desktop containing corrupt/suspicious file and delete it.
  • e.g. In Windows Vista, “cd c:\Users\<User Name>\Desktop\” and Then to delete file, “del xyz.avi”


  1. Antonis


    Nice solution.

    I was encoding a video when this problem appeared. searched lots of threads with lot of bla bla… however your solution is very effective, fast and straightforward.


  2. Maurice


    Your fix worked. My problem was caused when I followed instructions on another post somewhere that places all the microsoft system tool in a desktop folder called GodMode. If you stumble across this post I would not advise implementing it. It has just caused me three weeks of heartache searching for a solution to the “Windows explorer has stopped working problem”

    Chucking the Godmode folder in the recycle bin cured the problem in 3 seconds flat

  3. ivan


    I just increased the virtual memory of every volume, and my explorer works just perfect. (sorry for bad English) If you have some important video, that cannot be deleted, try to increase the virtual memory.
    System>Advanced system setting>(Advanced;Performance) settings> (advanced;virtual memory) change>Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box then click on a volume that contains video file(s) (I myself increased the size of all of my volumes. For example System volume [C]: initial size = 2000; maximum size 5000 ) and increase it. I hope this information was useful.

  4. Lucia


    THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I just spent HOURS trying to fix this problem, and it was all because of a single corrupted file. The problem occurred while I was downloading this file from the Internet onto my desktop. My computer suddenly stopped working and kept giving me the message “Windows explorer has stopped working…” The same happened every time I tried to restart the computer, restore, boot in safe mode, etc. Nothing helped.
    I followed your advice and went to Task Manager; New Task; cmd; then into my desktop folder ; listed all files using “dir”; found the bad file and deleted it!!! I appreciate your advice IMMENSELY!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!!

  5. Gaurang


    I am not sure but what I see is, you might be getting this error due to some different cause. Because increasing virtual memory might not work in case of corrupt file. Still give a try. I appreciate your suggestion anyways. Thanks.

    @All, Thanks for your responses.

  6. Paul


    I tried the above solution and have found the following information but how do I tell which is the bad file??

    Sorry but I am not technically up to scratch, Can you help???

    Like the others I have also exhausted all the very same processes to eradicate this nasty problem.

    C:\Users\Paul\Desktop> dir
    Volume in drive C is VistaOS
    Volume Serial Number is C20D-2EAE

    Directory of C:\Users\Paul\Desktop

    01/05/2010 18:01 .
    01/05/2010 18:01 ..
    25/11/2009 17:45 1,400 DivX Movies.lnk
    06/07/2009 22:31 2,087 Google Earth.lnk
    01/05/2010 18:02 51,426 sfcdetails.txt
    03/06/2009 10:28 1,537 Windows Explorer.lnk
    4 File(s) 56,450 bytes
    2 Dir(s) 163,810,586,624 bytes free


  7. Paul



    How long does it take to moderate comments, I desperately need help on this issue.

    Can you guys help or not?

  8. Gaurang


    Dear Paul,

    For time being, try the below solution,
    What we will do is like, we will move all the files from desktop to some other folder. In short, through command prompt we will make desktop corrupt file free (if any).

    E.g. MOVE “C:\Users\Paul\Desktop\*.*” “D:\abc\”
    (Command Usage: MOVE “Files to be Moved” “Destination Directory” )

    Just let me know whether it has worked or not.

    Now, question is how to identify corrupt file. For example, in my case, I was downloading one file from Internet and suddenly connection was lost. So, I got enough clues to find suspicious file and deleted it. Another reader, Antonis encountered this error when he was encoding some file. So, now you need to figure out that.

  9. Raz



    this app. solved the problem for me. Auto replaced the corrupt files from the command prompt, now no more explorer restarts :)

  10. foxy jacky


    I’m glad i found this page! I deleted the last few files I was working with and the error stopped. Luckily I was able to quickly delete the files before windows explorer crashed again.

  11. Matt Mckay


    THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOO MUCH! This worked i searched all over google for hours trying to find a solution!!!!!!!

  12. random guy


    can u give me more ddetails about how to delete the file the file is on my desktop and i tried everything

  13. andy


    when i type everything:
    c:\users\username\ etc.
    it says thaht the file is not recognized im stayed up the whole night to solve this but i dont get it. just moved the fil from my desktop to cmd.exe and typed “del xyz.avi” after it but it doesnt work

  14. Gaurang Patel


    @Random Guy,
    You could delete files by firing ‘del ‘ command.
    Optionally you could say ‘del *.*’ to delete all the files.

    Information you provide is little vague. In a nut shell, your desktop should not contain suspicious (or any file for safest bet.) Please give me further details or you may send some screen shots at goospoos [@] gmail [.] com

  15. gREY


    i dont get how to do this
    im at cmd prompt
    i c:\Users\\Desktop
    then idk what to do

  16. Gaurang


    What I have understood is, you have already reached to Desktop location in command prompt.
    Now, You may delete suspicious file by firing below command,
    del <file name>

  17. gRey


    but idk wat the suspicious file is o.0

  18. aO


    i have done the del command but it is telling me the process is being used therefore it cannot delete it ???

  19. aO


    And now it doesnt even let me access the command prompt ‘access is denied’

  20. Gaurang


    You please restart the PC and log in with administrator credentials. Then you should be able to start ‘command prompt’ and can perform necessary steps.

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