Have you ever been in the situation where your Windows task bar disappeared or your screen went blank because Explorer stopped / crashed? Whether you’re using Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 you’ll encounter this same error when Explorer goes down. One of the groovy new hidden features in Windows 7 is an elegant way to manually shutdown the Explorer service in an attempt to kick start Windows and get things running again. This crafty trick also comes in handy when you need to apply a certain registry change but don’t want to restart your entire system.
You’ve probably seen this in a few of our other How-To articles, so this may be a review for some. This is the method for elegantly stopping exiting explorer.exe in Windows 7. Then below we’ll look at restarting it.
How To Exit or Stop Explorer.exe In Windows 7
1. Click the Windows Start Menu Orb to open up the Start Menu.
2. Next Hold the Shift and Ctrl keys on your keyboard simultaneously, then Right-click an empty area on the start menu. A small context menu should appear, Click Exit Explorer.
Poof! No more taskbar, and all of your open Explorer (C: , My Documents, My Music.. etc) windows will all be closed. So now that it’s gone any changes you made the explorer will now be applied. Let’s start it back up again.
How To Start Explorer.exe In Windows 7 From A Blank Screen
3. On your keyboard Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc all at the same time.
4. In the Task Manager Click the File menu and then Select New Task (Run…)
A pop-up window should appear, in the Open text box Type explorer and then Click OK.
Poof! The taskbar and full Windows GUI is back up and running! That was a simple yet groovy trick to save you from rebooting when explorer crashes or during those time you need to apply certain changes.