Fix: File Explorer Randomly Opens on Windows

File explorer, if you don’t already know, is the window that lets you access your drives and various other files on Windows platform. Recently, a lot of users are complaining about File Explorer randomly opening up on their Windows. For some, it opens up randomly on its own whereas others have noticed a pattern where the File Explorer will open only at startup or while closing a full-screen game etc. Although this doesn’t prevent users from performing a task on Windows but it certainly is quite annoying to see a popup after every few minutes.

File Explorer Randomly Opens on Windows
File explorer randomly opens Fix

What causes the File Explorer to randomly open?

Here are a couple of things that can cause your File Explorer to pop up:

  • File Explorer Misbehave: Sometimes software misbehaves on their own. It’s just a random thing that causes this and there isn’t anything that you can do about it except restart the application. Simply ending the task via Task Manager and restarting File Explorer fixes this issue.
  • AutoPlay: If you are experiencing the issue after connecting an external drive then the issue might be caused by the AutoPlay feature. AutoPlay lets you select a default action for a specific type of media. So, it might be that your AutoPlay is turned on and it is by default selected to open File Explorer to show the contents of your external drive. And the constant popping up of your File Explorer might be because your external drive has a loose connection and it disconnects/connects which forces your system to open File Explorer every time your drive re-connects.

Method 1: End Task File Explorer

Sometimes the issue isn’t as deep as we think it is and the problem can be solved simply by restarting the problematic application. This can be the case with File Explorer as well. If File Explorer is just misbehaving then simply closing it via Task Manager fixes the issue. A lot of users resolved the issue by ending the File Explorer task via Task Manager. So, lets start by ending the File Explorer task and move to the next methods if this doesn’t work.

  1. Hold CTRL, SHIFT, and Esc (CTRL + SHIFT + ESC) keys simultaneously to open the Task Manager
  2. Look for the File Explorer in the list of process
  3. Select File Explorer and click End Task. Keep in mind that it might be named Windows Explorer depending on the version of Window you are using. Windows Explorer and File Explorer are the same thing. Note: Depending on your Windows version, you might see a Restart button instead of End Task. If you do see a Restart button then simply click that and you don’t have to perform the next 2 steps.
End Task File Explorer to Restart File Explorer
  1. Once done, click File from within the Task Manager and select New Task
  2. Type explorer.exe and press Enter
  3. Now restart the system

This should fix the issue for you.

Method 2: Remove AutoPlay

This solution is for people who are experiencing this problem whenever they connect a USB stick or an external hard drive to the system. If you are seeing File Explorer constantly popping up after connecting a USB then you can turn off the AutoPlay feature of the Windows. AutoPlay is a feature that lets you select an action for a specific type of media in a drive. So your AutoPlay might be set to open File Explorer to show the contents of your inserted drive and disabling AutoPlay will fix this issue. Follow the steps given below to turn of AutoPlay

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type control panel and press Enter
Type Control Panel and Press Enter to Open Control Panel
  1. Select small icons from the drop-down menu under View By (top right corner)
Switch to Small Icons in Control Panel to Access AutoPlay
  1. Select AutoPlay
Select AutoPlay
  1. Uncheck the option Use AutoPlay for all media and devices
  2. Click Save
Uncheck AutoPlay Option to Disable AutoPlay and Click Save

That’s it. This should turn off AutoPlay and you won’t see File Explorer every time you insert a USB device.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.