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Unfreeze Windows 10 Computer by Restarting Windows Explorer

Unfreeze Windows 10 Computer by Restarting Windows Explorer post thumbnail

Have your Windows 10 computer ever freezed? How was the experience? Not delightful I assume. Well, I assumed this because, it does not give me joy whenever my Windows 10 computer freezes. But first, what causes a computer to freeze, lags or hangs?

Reason why Computers Freezes.

A computer uses what is called a RAM (Random Access Memory) to store all the active running processes. Active running processes refers to all the programs that is running either in the foreground or in the background.

The storage capacity of RAM is usually very small, because the technology used for building it is quite expensive. That is why a computer has a separate file storage device known as Hard Drive, which is usually larger.

When the active running processes becomes more than what the RAM can accumulate, the computer freezes, lags or start to hangs.

Unfreezing your Computer

To unfreeze your computer, the operating system (Windows 10) will have the hard choice of choosing which active process it should remove from the RAM and store in your computer’s Hard Drive.

This decision process is usually slow, because there are so many unexplainable variables that Windows 10 have to consider. This is where many users become irritated and then turn to restarting the computer.

Restarting your computer is a good move. But is not the best, because once you do, you might end up losing all your unsaved documents.

A better option is to restart the Windows Explorer process instead.

Why does Restarting Windows Explorer process Unfreezes a Computer?

Well, it is important that you know that Windows Explorer process is not the same with the Windows 10 File Explorer app. Though, the File Explorer app is the direct representation of the Windows Explorer process.

So now, back to the question. Why does restarting the Windows Explorer process stops a computer from hanging?

Virtually all built-in apps and features of the Windows 10 operating system is developed using the Windows Explorer as is core framework.

So, when you restart the Windows Explorer process, Windows 10 will restart all the none-essential built-in processes that is eating up the RAM. Thus, making your RAM temporarily free to accommodate the processes from apps that you have initiated.

I call the processes that will be restarted none essential because, restarting these processes will not crash your Windows 10 computer, neither will it cause you to lose any of your unsaved document. This does not mean that the processes are not important. They are. And as time passes, those processes will find their way back to the RAM memory of your computer.

So, restarting the Windows Explorer process is a temporary fix for unfreezing a computer. A permanent fix is to, get a RAM with a larger storage capacity for your computer. Or, after you have unfrozen the computer by restarting the Windows Explorer process, you close some applications you are no longer using currently, but are still open.

How to Restart the Windows Explorer Process.

Open the Windows 10 Task Manager utility. You can do this by:
1) Right-click on the Taskbar, then select Task Manager from the menu.
2) Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys in your keyboard.
3) Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys in your keyboard. Then choose Task Manager from the list of options.

Once the Task Manager utility open, the Processes tab will be the one selected by default. If it isn’t, then click on the Processes tab, to see all the active running processes eating up your device RAM.

For some users that are opening the Task Manager tool for the first time, they may need to click on the More details option at the bottom-left, before they can see these processes.

Screenshot showing the Windows 10 Task Manager when if Fewer details mode

When in the Processes tab, scroll down to the Windows processes section.
Locate Windows Explorer. Once you do, Right-click on it, and then click on Restart.

Screenshot showing how to restart Windows Explorer process from the Task Manager.

That is all.

After you have clicked on the Restart option, wait for some few seconds for your Taskbar to normalize. Once it has, you will notice that your computer will be free as a bird. Because you have just unfrozen it.


To locate the Windows Explorer process easily, just open the File Explorer app.

Once the File Explorer app is opened, the Windows Explorer process will be moved from the Windows processes section, up, to the App section.

You can open the File Explorer app in Windows 10 by pressing the Windows + E keys in your keyboard.


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