File Explorer

Windows Explorer crashes due to the Quick Access View

The Quick Access feature in Windows Explorer is a really useful tool for accessing your recently used files and folders. However it does not seem to be intuitive enough to remove items from it's list that may have been deleted or renamed. 

Recently a client of ours reported that Windows Explorer would keep crashing. Once we invetsigated it further it became apparent that Explorer would crash due to the files or folders listed in the Quick Access view. These items may have been renamed or deleted at source so the network path that the Quick Access view was trying to use is now invalid or does not exist.

If you can open Explorer for a moment without it crashing there is a quick fix - right click on "Quick Access" and select "Options". Under the "General" tab click on the "Clear" button to remove all items from the Explorer history. This will remove all links to recent folders and files including any links that are no longer valid and causing Explorer to crash. 

In addition you can untick "show recently used files in Quick Access" and "show recently used folders in Quick Access" to avoid this issue occuring again - but of course you will lose the functionality of the Quick Access view. 


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Two of my clients (at the same company) has the same problem. They're a big Office 365 user. I think turning off recent items is a workaround but not a very acceptable one. They've recently gone through the anniversary update and the fault is still there. I'm amazed this bug is still present. I try to like Windows 10 and the more rapid update & release schedule but I get the impression that some important bugs are being pushed back.

Yup, the cause is due to a mapped network drive and a file path near the max path length default. It looks like it tries to read outside of its expected range then crashes because it thinks there is a memory heap corruption. Interestingly you can use a unc path instead of a mapped drive path to the same file and not get the crash as a workaround. The bug also happens in the file explorer search as well.

Brendan, I have experience this very thing now going on 11 months. Dell's Pro-Support have no answers, and everyone else seems to think I need every virus cleaner under the sun. System is Win-7 64 (Office 2010) and when I say I keep a clean house, I mean nothing is automated. I get my own "Important" only Windows Update, if going to a web site Flash or anything else is "Always Ask", and stay away from the, Al Bundys words, 'Nudie Bars', as I have over 22 years of business clients lists and pictures to protect. Although, as of last March Windows Explorer would crash regularly. Remove a thumb drive, drag a folder to one of four monitors, more than one instance of Explorer open, 'Open With' W-Media Player, crash! After reading this Sep 08, 2016 from you my heart damn near leapt (Akin to 'offt') from my chest. However, I see nothing mentioning my Win7 2010 Office Windows Explorer. I see no Quick Access in my variety. Any suggestions?

I have the exact same problem and by now it is 2018. Have they still not found a solution for this?

I could not even open File Explorer to change this setting. I did find another way to change the File Explorer Options: 1. Open the Start Menu, and click on the Gear to go to Settings 2. Type File Explorer in the Search. You should then get an option to select File Explorer Options. 3. Click on File Explorer Options. Change the "Open File Explorer To" dropdown to "This PC". 4. Click Apply, then OK.

Thank you so much for posting this work around. Explorer was crashing on me far faster than I could right click on it.

I agree totally with Mike. This saves what is left of my hair (and patience).

good one, it solves my problem

Just want to add that this whole thing continues to be a problem in Windows 10 (at least some versions) as of April 2019, and clearing/deselecting add folders/files to Quick View helped some but still crashed eventually - this method, setting Explorer to open to "This PC" instead of "Quick View" seems to have finally fixed the problem. Will post again if the problem somehow comes back but this is the first fix that actually seems promising. Thanks!

Nothing has worked for me and mine only does it one folder. Also if I do a search for a particular file type and after search is complete as I'm scrolling through the results, it crashes and never let's me see all the results.

Great help! I was strugling with this problem for several days. It was very weird, because Windows Explorer crashed only in Quick Access File Explorer location, I could go to any other location and File Explorer would work fine. I tried almost everything (sfc scann, dism scan, chkdsk, safe boot), but the solution was much easier :) Thanks again!

"If you can open Explorer for a moment without it crashing there is a quick fix - right click on "Quick Access" and select "Options". Under the "General" tab click on the "Clear" button to remove all items from the Explorer history." Press windows key + r on keyboard: type in c: and hit enter. Should work every time.

Thanks, I woke up to this issue this morning. A brand new computer, latest W10 release. I have been using Windows since day one. Window's hairball architecture will prevent it from ever working right. Microsoft just is not competent enough to make windows reliable. Thanks mush for posting.

Thanks a lot - this solved my problem.

I'd like to let you know that this simple solution has eluded the Microsoft customer support team for years! This worked like magic. Thank you immensely.

This fixed my issue, thank you!

Thanks Eric. Really good useful fix!

For me the solution was to disable the Spybot S&D shell extension. See this page for instructions:

Looks like there's a new bug going around because all the sudden there's a bunch of activity on this thread. This is the first time this happened to me and the posted fix resolved my issue. I was able to turn the features back on and now it all works. Yeah!

This will work every time... problem is the issue keeps coming back, so it isn't really a solution, it is a temporary band-aid.

after 3 hours figure it out and got nothing from 4 or 5 method, its just a simple and cure perfectly. thanks !

I'm just trying to drag a maximized File Explorer window from my laptop screen to an extended desktop on a flatscreen. FE drops down in size to a basically the golden ratio with the long size vertically. The X gets a red box around it and the X itself goes white. FE goes Not Responding. I tried clearing recent files from Quick Access but no dice. I have a mapped drive but the location is about 25 characters, all slashes considered. I cleared that from Quick Access, still no dice.

Thanks a lot. I've had this problem for a while and finally decided to investigate it. This page had the solution.

Thank you anonymous on 15/05/18. That helped - I was able to open on this pc. Then I checked-off the see recently and frequently used items in quick access. I can pin folders to quick access when I want to.

Tried this advice on clearing Quick Access eight times. Q.A. stubbornly refuses to clear my 35 files & folders! I see the hourglass to suggest it's working, then nothing. Also tried unticking both boxes, then apply & OK and it ignores that too! Win 10 Home current release, no external / network drives or long paths. I don't suffer crashes, but Explorer has been absurdly slow. Have now managed to unpin the folders from Quick Access one by one using option via right-click.

Same problem here, clearing the list seemed to resolve, could open explorer but the quick access would crash it, launched explorer through command line to a specific folder location, that allowed me to change the settings.

Have used W file explorer for long time and today this occurred. Tried all solutions multiple times no luck. I never use quick access. How can i get rid of it and keep the ordinary file explorer?

didn't try to launch explorer through command line to specific folder. How do I do this? Read windows help re disabling quick, but at the end it sounded just like a hide - not a true disable.

Thank you!! worked perfectly!

Another way seems to be to search for a specific file you know exists from the start bar then right click and open file location. This allows explorer to open for me without crashing. Then you can change the settings. I also can't believe this is still a bug. I guess it was looking for files on a network drive that was disconnected. Thanks for the tip!

Change the settings to what? Once we are allowed into the folder then what?

Thanks...that fixed my issue!

Thanks for the true solution. Found the work around of disabling the frequent and recent views, I'm not interested in work arounds. Good catch!

Gonna try this method when i get back later, for those who can't open the explorer window, you can go to control panel and click the up arrow in the left address bar, or you can use other tools to clean your quick access history such as CCleaner,

The issue is still there (6th Feb 2019). For me, it is almost certainly because I use Onedrive and files get moved around/changed offline. Quick Access can't keep up with this. I have found that Explorer works if you open it straight into any folder other than Quick Access. Once open, click File > Change Folder and Search Options, then clear the Quick Access cache. This fixes it temporarily (until another "invalid file" makes its way onto the Quick Access cache. You can, of course, turn off Quick Access but then you lose its functionality. Come on, Microsoft. Sort this one out!!!!!

If you have trouble opening Windows Explorer for even a moment before it locks up, go to Start Button->Windows System->Run, and enter c:\ for the path. That will open Windows Explorer to the root c: drive rather than the locked up Recent Files view, and enable you to follow the steps in this article, which fix the problem.

Thanks a lot , this worked for me .

Did not solve the problem. Cannot find shell::::{52205fd8-5dfb-447d-801a-d0b52f2e83e1} It would by nice to have a plain english error message Microsoft!

Go to Folder Options and look for Launch Folder windows in a separate process. This is below hide protected O/S system files.

Thank you, worked perfectly!

Worked like a charm, thanks!

This worked. Thanks :)

Hey Worked. Thanks

Unfortunately, all of the tips - changing views in Quick Access, changing opening settings to "This PC" work great -- for a few months. I did all of the different work arounds, and they all worked for a short while. Now, nothing works, and I still have the same problem. The only thing that seemed semi-permanent was turning off navigation pane view -- but if you are a heavy user of your work computer, and use that to navigate between multiple drives, that really is an unacceptable work around.

I did the "this PC" move. Now it's the same, it's frozen ("working on it") on "this PC" bar.

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