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Add Restart Explorer Context Menu in Windows 10

Windows provides several secret ways to exit the Explorer shell. They can be useful when you make Registry changes that affect Explorer or for shell developers when testing shell extensions. To save your time, you can add a special "Restart Explorer" command to the Desktop context menu. This will allow you to restart the Explorer shell with one click.

ExitExplorer and RestartExplorer – two tools to exit and restart the Explorer shell properly

My friends at MDL forums asked me to code two simple tools, one of them, to exit the Explorer shell in Windows 10 and the second one to restart the Explorer shell. Both tools are designed to be used in batch files and scripts, as requested. I would like to share them with you and explain why they are different from the usual ways people use to restart Explorer.

How to properly restart the Explorer shell in Windows

Windows provides several secret ways to exit the Explorer shell. They can be useful when you make registry changes that affect Explorer or for shell developers when testing shell extensions. In case you didn't know them, today I am going to share them with you.

Why you may want to restart Explorer

There are several reasons when you may want to exit the Explorer shell and start it again, such as:

  1. You are trying to uninstall some software with shell extensions, e.g. WinRAR. If you leave Explorer, all shell extensions will be unloaded from the shell and will be cleanly deleted by the uninstaller. All files that are locked for use by the Explorer.exe process will be released.
  2. If you applied some tweak which requires you to log off and log in back, in most cases, it is enough to only restart the shell.

Let's see how this can be done.

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