TheÂ explorer.exeÂ process is the user shell for Windows, and is used by such items as the desktop, File Explorer, Start menu, notification area, and taskbar. Restarting the explorer.exe process is to stop and start it to effectively refresh explorer.exe. When the explorer.exe process has been stopped (aka: “end task”), you will see a blank black desktop with your mouse pointer showing until explorer.exe has been started again.
If you are having issues with the explorer.exe process (ex: hang), restarting the explorer.exe process may sort it without having toÂ restart the computer.
If you are applying a registry tweak, sometimes you can just restart the explorer.exe process to apply instead of having toÂ restart the computerÂ or sign out and sign in.
This tutorial will show you how to restart the explorer.exe process as needed in Windows 11.