After upgrading to Windows 10 from an older version of the Operating System, many users complain of the File Explorer (explorer.exe) crashing on them whenever they right-click anywhere on their Desktop to display a context menu. This problem seems to be localized to affected users’ Desktops as it does not present itself when an affected user right-clicks somewhere other than their Desktop.
The root of this problem, in almost every single case, is a third-party shell extension. Shell extensions are little buggers that create context menu entries for all of the programs and applications on your computer. Since this issue can’t be caused by a shell extension for a built-in program or application (that just isn’t how Microsoft rolls) this issue is almost always caused by a shell extension for a third-party application or program on your computer that is clashing with Windows 10 and is not really compatible with it. If you are affected by this issue and you right-click on your Desktop, your computer will try to display the context menu, and when it fails to do so because of a faulty third-party shell extension, the File Explorer will crash.
Thankfully, all you need to do in order to fix this problem is get rid of the culprit shell extension, which you can do using ShellExView. ShellExView is a free third-party application that can be used to manage, disable and enable all of the shell extensions that you have on your computer. Here’s what you need to do in order to resolve this problem:
Click here to download ShellExView.
Unzip the ShellExView .ZIP folder to a new folder using a compression program such as WinRAR.
Open the freshly uncompressed ShellExView
Launch ShellExView by right-clicking on the application named shexview and clicking on Run as administrator.
You will be met with a list of all the shell extensions installed on your computer once the program is done compiling it. Once you see the list, click on Options > Filter by Extension Type > Context Menu.
In the newly compiled list, you will see entries that have pink backgrounds. All of these entries are shell extensions installed on your computer by third-party applications.
Hold down the Ctrl key and click on each of the “pink background” entries to select them.
Once all of the “pink background” entries have been selected, right-click on them and click on Disable Selected Items to disable all of them.
Click on Options > Restart Explorer. Try right-clicking on your Desktop, and File Explorer should no longer crash.
Once you have fixed the problem, next comes identifying the culprit and disabling it for good. To do so, you are going to have to:
Right-click on any one of the “pink background” shell extensions that you disabled and click on Enable Selected Items to enable it.
Click on Options > Restart Explorer, right-click on your Desktop and see if File Explorer
If File Explorer does not crash, keep on repeating steps 1 and 2, enabling a different third-party shell extension every time, until File Explorer crashes and you start experiencing the problem again.
The third-party shell extension you enabled just before the problem returned is the culprit. You can go ahead and enable all of the “pink background” shell extensions you disabled except for this one as this one is the culprit. Keep this shell extension disabled for good – in fact, it is recommended that you uninstall the third-party application that installed this shell extension on your computer altogether.