Some Windows users are encountering the DDE Server Window: Explorer.exe whenever they attempt to open File Explorer on Windows 10. In most cases, the pop-up returns when the user closes is but disappeared as long as FIle Explorer is closed.
As it turns out, there are several different causes with the potential to cause this error. Here’s a shortlist of potential culprits:
- Realtek Audio Driver Conflict – As it turns out, on Windows 10 this issue is often associated with a conflict facilitated by the 3rd party HD Audio drivers supplied by Realtek. If this scenario is applicable, you can fix this issue by uninstalling the conflicting 3rd party audio drivers allowing the generic equivalents to take over.
- Bad Data Block or Logical Error – If you’re dealing with an old storage device (traditional HDD), there’s also a chance that you’re seeing this error pop up because of a failing drive. In this case, you can either replace it or you can attempt to prologue the life of it by running a CHKDSK scan.
- Automatic Taskbar hiding is Enabled – Under certain circumstances, you can expect this error to be caused by the feature that automatically hides your taskbar while you’re using your PC in desktop mode. Several affected users dealing with the same issue have managed to fix the issue by disabling this feature.
- Underlying system file corruption – Under more severe circumstances, you might see this error popup appearing if your system is dealing with some type of underlying corrupted instances that end up affecting explorer.exe. In this case, refreshing every Windows component with a procedure like clean install/repair install should allow you to fix the problem.
Now that you know every potential scenario that might be responsible for the apparition of the DDE Server Window: Explorer.exe, here’s a list of methods that other affected users have successfully used to fix the problem.
Method 1: Uninstalling Realtek Audio Drivers (if applicable)
Audio drivers supplied by Realtek used to be all but mandatory on older Windows versions. But nowadays, they seem to cause a lot of conflicts including the DDE Server Window: Explorer.exe error on Windows 10. Several affected users have confirmed that the issue was finally fixed after they uninstalled the suite of Realtek drivers from the Programs and Features screen.
Keep in mind that as soon as you do this, Windows will switch over to the generic drivers included by default on Windows 10, so your computer will still have sound.
If you find yourself in this scenario and you’re actively using the Realtek Audio Service, follow the instructions below to uninstall the audio drivers and switch over to the generic drivers.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ inside the text box and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features menu.
- Once you’re inside the Programs and Features prompt, go ahead and scroll down through the list of applications and locate the entry named Realtek HD Manager.
- When you locate the Realtek suite, right-click on it and choose Uninstall from the context menu that just appeared.
- Inside the uninstallation screen, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation, then restart your computer.
- At the next startup, your computer will automatically switch over to the generic audio drivers. Once this happens, open File Explorer once again and see if you’re still seeing the same error code.
In case the same problem is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 2: Running a CHKDSK scan
As it turns out, this particular DDE Server Window: Explorer.exe error can also be related to a logical error rooted in your HDD or SSD. Sometimes File Manager will throw these kinds of errors when there’s a block inconsistency that cannot be read.
If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to fix this problem by running the CHKDSK utility to fix or replace bad sectors with unused equivalents.
In case you haven’t done this already, you can initiate a CHKDSK scan using the Check Disk Utility
Note: To maximize your chances of success, you should ensure that the CMD window you use to run the command is opened with admin access.
After the CHKDSK scan is complete, restart your computer and see if the problem is fixed once the next startup is complete.
In case you’re still encountering the same DDE Server Window: Explorer.exe, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 3: Turning the Taskbar in desktop mode
If none of the potential fixes above have allowed you to fix the issue, there’s one workaround that a lot of affected users have successfully used to hide the apparition of new instances of the DDE Server Window: Explorer.exe.
But keep in mind that this is not a fix as it only hides the issue rather than resolve it. So if you’re content to be using a workaround to resolve the annoying popups, you should be able to fix the problem by accessing the Personalization tab of the Settings app and disabling the Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode.
Several affected users have used this method successfully to treat the symptoms of this issue.
If you’re looking for step by step instructions, follow the instructions below:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Inside the text box, type ‘ms-settings:taskbar’ and press Enter to open the Taskbar section of the Personalization tab inside the Settings app.
- Once you’re inside the Taskbar menu, move over to the right-hand side menu and switch the toggle associated with Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode.
- Restart your computer and open File Explorer once the next startup is complete to see if the issue is now resolved.
If you’re still encountering the same DDE Server Window: Explorer.exe error, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 4: Refreshing every Windows Component
If none of the other potential fixes above have worked in your case, the last thing you can do is to ensure that every component used by your Windows installation is refreshed so that every corrupted instance is removed. A lot of affected users have confirmed that this was the only thing that allowed them to fix the problem.
So when it comes to resetting every Windows component, you really have 2 viable options:
- Clean installing – If you’re looking for a quick fix and you already have your data backed up, this should be the option in your case. Keep in mind that a clean installation procedure will not require you to use compatible installation media, but the major drawback is that your C:/ drive along with every bit of personal data will be wiped.
- Repair installing – This should be the approach if you want to keep your personal files, applications, and other user preferences. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to use an installation media of your Windows version plugged in via USB or inserted via DVD.