My wife’s laptop started to have the problem that Windows explorer crashes again and again a few days back. The Windows will boot up OK for a few minutes and then all of sudden the task bar and all Windows Explorer windows will disappear.

The computer runs a Windows 10 OS updated from Windows 7. Before that day, everything was running fine even though it is a relatively older model (2 years old in today’s standard is kind of old).

A quick search for the symptom “windows 10 explorer crash” returns many web pages complaining about exactly the same issue. But the solutions given in the posts are very haphazard. Something like change the font setting from 175% to 150% (it is surely not the case for me), getting windows update (I can’t even getting the “ms-setting” to run in the task manager), uninstall “Inventor” (what exactly is that?), the list goes on and on. More importantly, these things do not work for me. So I decided to dig deeper into this issue myself to find a solution.

Fortunately, even though the explorer crashed (thus the start menu are not available), the task manager still works. You can try yours with “CTRL+SHIFT+ESC”. And you can run task from there. I tried a couple of things to fix it: such as “shutdown /r /o” to bring up the recover options. It didn’t fix the problem.

My break through comes from the observation that “windows error reporting” process is running when the explorer crashes. I thought I might be able to find some hint from the system log. And I did resolved the issue with the information from the log.

Here are the steps that solved the problem:

Step 1: Get in the “Control Panel”

You can do it by running the “control” task.  Just for your record, if you can run the control panel, you could also use that window to explore the files in your PC before you got it completely fixed (click the “browse” buttom).

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Step 2: Go to the “System and Security” settings

This setting is not directly accessible from “control panel” but if you click any of the group, you can find it at the left panel. In the screenshot below, I randomly picked the “Appearance and Personalization” group.

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Step 3: “Administrator Tool” / “View event logs”

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Step 4: Find the Application Error log

You can click the Event Viewer(Local)/Windows Logs/Application. Find the Event level with “Error”. For my case, the error was caused by a model “C:\WINDOWS\system32\IDTNC64.cpl”.

Now I have the target to fix!

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A simple google search of the IDTNC64.cpl revealed that it is a file used by IDT audio. And it should be safe to uninstall it (the software logo is  a small music symbol).

After uninstall and reboot, the problem is gone. It attested an aged wisdom “the hardest thing is to find where to fix”.




[Update:] An alternative route to get into the event viewer is try to run “eventvwr” from the task manager. It might be faster (without step 1 – 3). Give it a try first.

[Update April. 3, 2017 (Kudos to Dominic):] Several people mentioned the following comment left by Dominic helped. I think it is worth put here. “1 possible source of a explorer crash problem is moved files that “Quick access” is trying to find. If file gets moved and quick access cannot find it, it crashes explorer. Quick fix: windows symbol+R (run), enter c:\, File tab-Change folder and search options, and untick “show recently used in Quick access” or clear exporer history. Hope that helps someone.”

Hope you can use the similar method to fix your problem. Leave a comment below to let me know if it works for you.

How To Fix the Crashing Windows Explorer in Windows 10
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28 thoughts on “How To Fix the Crashing Windows Explorer in Windows 10

  • February 11, 2016 at 2:56 am
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    I was looking for the solution for this annoying problem for more thaan a month, this simple fix helped me,problem solver,thank you very much.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2016 at 11:36 pm
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      Glad to hear that it is helpful for you.

      Reply
  • March 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm
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    Thank you so much for making this post..
    Had the same problem like yours, explorer keep crashing, googling it, and keep finding the same guides and pretty much not useful for me at all. Until I finally found this one.

    Looking at the crash log, and found out one audio file that causing the crashes..
    move it somewhere else (just in case) and ’twas fixed.

    Thank you again 😀

    Reply
    • March 10, 2016 at 10:31 pm
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      Hey, it was great to know that it helped!

      Reply
  • May 7, 2016 at 8:18 pm
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    Hey, this worked great for me also….thanks very much!

    Reply
  • June 17, 2016 at 12:01 pm
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    Great great tuto!! thank you!!

    Reply
    • June 19, 2016 at 9:44 pm
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      Thanks for letting me know, hope it helped.

      Reply
  • July 29, 2016 at 10:11 pm
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    Fantastic information !!!

    Reply
    • July 30, 2016 at 1:25 pm
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      Good to hear that, Steven.

      Reply
  • July 31, 2016 at 8:29 am
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    Thanks for this post … helped me track down the cause of my explorer crashes. In my case, it looks like it IS “Inventor” … as in, Autodesk Inventor 2015 (3D modeling software for use with a 3D Printer). Hopefully there’s another solution other than to uninstall it, as I need to continue to use the software. But, at least now I know what to look into!

    Reply
  • August 29, 2016 at 2:07 pm
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    We have 3 Dell Vostro 1540 laptops with this problem and this fixed them all. Thank you.

    Reply
    • August 29, 2016 at 9:31 pm
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      Awesome!!

      Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 10:11 pm
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    Thanks for the info, it pointed me in the right direction. Unfortunately my “Faulting module” says this:
    “Faulting module name: unknown, version: 0.0.0.0, time stamp: 0x00000000” which makes it a bit harder to find what’s causing Explorer to crash initially, and then run fine on the second attempt.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2016 at 6:34 am
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    1 possible source of a explorer crash problem is moved files that “Quick access” is trying to find. If file gets moved and quick access cannot find it, it crashes explorer. Quick fix: windows symbol+R (run), enter c:\, File tab-Change folder and search options, and untick “show recently used in Quick access” or clear exporer history. Hope that helps someone.

    Reply
    • October 31, 2016 at 11:04 pm
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      Hey Dominic, Thanks for sharing. I am sure somebody reading this could benefit from it.

      Reply
    • April 3, 2017 at 2:24 pm
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      I was having the same problem (Explorer crashing). Your “Quick Access” change solved my problem. Thank You!

      Reply
    • April 7, 2017 at 9:27 pm
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      This was the solution to my problem. Once I followed your instruction and cleared file explorer history, NO MORE PROBLEM! Thanks a million

      Reply
    • May 31, 2017 at 10:44 pm
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      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I couldn’t access c:\ from the command prompt, which I ran from the task manager. So I ran my browser, used it to access my downloads folder, and then changed the settings. Rebooted and VOILÀ! This is about the fifth time I’ve had to fix something that should not be a problem on windows 10.

      Reply
  • December 18, 2016 at 5:40 pm
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    This was bugging the crap out of me. Works perfectly now, just had to uninstall OneDrive and restart the computer and it works flawlessly.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2017 at 9:55 am
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    Lifesaver! Thank you for writing this, I was going insane.

    Reply
    • January 3, 2017 at 10:54 pm
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      So glad it helped you. Happy new year.

      Reply
  • February 21, 2017 at 8:11 am
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    Thanks bro. This helped.

    Reply
  • February 28, 2017 at 3:29 am
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    Dominic. Your hint about “Quick access” solved my problem. Thanks.

    Reply
  • May 26, 2017 at 9:36 pm
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    dominic. holy shit. thank you! computer is a computer again.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm
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    My system is crashing every 3 seconds. Not a lot of time to type. While the task manager will survive and I could get to the event viewer. I see I’m having problems with the exact same IDT file. but I cannot figure out how to uninstall or clear the quick cache.

    Reply
  • July 9, 2017 at 6:33 pm
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    Figured it out… run appwiz.cpl to get the Programs control panel to uninstall the IDT device driver.

    Reply
  • August 17, 2017 at 1:44 pm
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    The Quick Access fix worked for me!

    Reply

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