How to Resolve File Explorer Freezing Windows 11 PC

If your Windows file explorer freezes or hangs, or if you see an error message – Windows Explorer stops working and restarts – on your Windows 11 computer, this article will help you fix the freezing or hanging explorer.

Explorer in Windows operating system helps us to browse files, folders, and other data on our computer. At some point, you may encounter the problem of your Explorer freezing frequently. You may also get the following message:

What causes File Explorer to hang in Windows 11?

  • Windows needs an update: If Windows 11 is outdated, you expose yourself to annoying bugs and security threats. Some users report that a full Windows update prevents File Explorer from freezing.
  • Hard drive full: When your hard drive is nearing its capacity limit (more than 75% full), your computer becomes noticeably slower. This is especially noticeable when accessing the file system.
  • Changing display settings: If you have changed the font size or other display settings, this can cause the File Explorer application to hang.
  • Bloated File Explorer history: File Explorer saves the history of files you have accessed and searched for in recent searches. While this is a useful feature, a large history can slow down or freeze the application.

How do I fix File Explorer freezes in Windows 11?

Restart File Explorer

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Escape to open Task Manager.
  2. Find Windows Explorer in the list.
  3. Right-click it and choose Restart from the menu.

Hide hidden files and folders

  1. Press the Windows + S keys and type Explorer Preferences.
  2. From the list of results, select File Explorer Preferences.
  3. When the File Explorer Preferences window opens, click the View tab and select Do not show hidden files, folders, and drives.
  4. Click Apply and OK to save your changes.

Perform a reboot

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Then type MSConfig and press Enter or OK.
  3. Click the Services tab, select Hide all Microsoft services, and then click Disable All.
  4. Click the Autorun tab and then click Open Task Manager.
  5. A list of running applications will be displayed.
  6. Right-click the first entry in the list and select Disable from the menu.
  7. Repeat this step for all entries in the list.
  8. Once you have disabled all downloadable applications, return to the System Configuration window.
  9. Now click Apply and OK to save your changes.
  10. If you are prompted to restart your computer, select the Restart Now option.

Modify the scaling settings

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the System section.
  2. Set the size of text applications and other items to 100%.
  3. Check to see if File Explorer is working. If it does, zoom out and make it smaller than usual.
  4. Then return the scale to its original value.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Close File Explorer in the Task Manager and restart it manually.
  2. Clear the File Explorer search history.
  3. Check your display settings.
  4. Use a system file checker to find and repair corrupted files.
  5. Reduce the load on your hard drive by freeing up space.
  6. Create a new user account.
  7. Update Windows 11.

If you're having problems with File Explorer, such as it freezes, the problem may be related to file associations. However, you can easily solve this problem by resetting the file associations to default values.

  • The hard drive is full.
  • Changing display settings.
  • Windows needs an update.
  • File Explorer history is bloated.