When the desktop shows nothing even the taskbar is not showing, the problem is not with the entire operating system but the Explorer.exe process. The Explorer.exe makes the UI components visible. It is very necessary to restart the Explorer.exe process before blaming the OS and restarting the system. With Windows GUI Task Manager provides all the running processes and make it possible for the users to find, restart or kill any process.

Restarting Explorer.exe Using Task Manager

  1. Open Task Manager from Task Bar Context Menu by right-clicking on it or use the hotkeys i.e. “Ctrl + Shift + Esc”.
  2. Open Processes Tab and find Explorer.exe or Windows Explorer in Windows 10.
  3. Right click on the Windows Explorer Process and choose the Restart option or click on the Restart button to restart the Explorer.exe process.

Restarting Explorer.exe Process in Windows 10

In the case when you don’t have access to the Task Manager by “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” or “Ctrl + Alt + Del” hotkeys, then the best possible way is to restart the Explorer.exe using the command line.

Restarting Explorer.exe Using Command Prompt

There are few simple steps to restart the Explorer.exe using the Command Line which is as follows:

  1. Run the Command Prompt using Administrator Rights.
  2. Use the Start Menu to open CMD or use hotkeys i.e. “Windows Key + R and type cmd” and “Windows Key + X and press A for running as Administrator”.
  3. Type “taskkill /f /im explorer.exe” to kill the Explorer.exe Process.
    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
  4. Now type “start explorer.exe” to start the killed Explorer.exe
    start explorer.exe
  5. All the items on the desktop will show again.

Restart Explorer.exe using Command Prompt

It is a reliable solution to figure out the desktop items not showing issue using the Command Line or Task Explorer.


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