What is explorer.exe?

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the explorer.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

Click to Run a Free Scan for explorer.exe related errors

Explorer.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with explorer
Explorer.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Windows Explorer or Win or Explorador de Windows or Windows Verkenner or ams60_launch or AutoPlay Application or Security Key Relauncher or Install

belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or Windows Updater or Project1 or Sistema operativo Microsoft Windows or Win or Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows or Projekt_Neu or Projekt1

by Microsoft ( or xxxx or PRIVAT or Cybersamurai INC or Dritek System ( or aaaa or Home or air.

Description: The original explorer.exe from Microsoft is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. Explorer.exe is located in the C:\Windows folder. Known file sizes on Windows 8/7/XP are 1,032,192 bytes (30% of all occurrences), 1,035,264 bytes and 334 more variants. 
Explorer.exe is a Windows core system file. The program has a visible window. Explorer.exe is a Microsoft signed file. Explorer.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 2% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Recommended: Identify explorer.exe related errors

Viruses with the same file name

Is explorer.exe a virus? No, it is not. The true explorer.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called "Windows Explorer". However, writers of malware programs, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection. Viruses with the same file name are for example TSPY_ARDAMAX.CM or TROJ_GEN.R72C3LI (detected by TrendMicro), and MonitoringTool:Win32/Ardamax or Trojan:Win32/Malagent (detected by Microsoft).
To ensure that no rogue explorer.exe is running on your PC, click here to run a Free Malware Scan.

How to recognize suspicious variants?

External information from Paul Collins:
There are different files with the same name:

Important: Some malware disguises itself as explorer.exe, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows folder. Therefore, you should check the explorer.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

I got it when i downloaded a File from the internet... My virus scanner said it was the famous FBI Moneypak virus!!! The money pak virus asks for money and locks your computer!
Strange, When I log off (or shutdown) the computer, there is a non-responding that says "End Program: explorer.exe" something is very suspicious.
It's rather irritating when trying to open Windows Explorer and I'm told I don't have permission because of explorer.exe
this is a system program to display icon and other stuff if u do not believe then go to taskbar and end the process explorer.exc and then see it randi ko chora
It's ESSENTIAL to showing the task bar, and is included in the installation package of every Windows OS I know of (Windows XP, Vista, and 7).
Just a microsoft process. Killing it is fine, you just have to re-launch it by starting new task "explorer.exe". Re-launching it will reload your taskbar.
I went to task manager and saw this file was using almost 90,000 K of memory, did a google search and ended up here. I did a "search" on my computer and 5 files, 4 were similar to each other and last modified in 2008. ONE was modified on 4/1/2013 at 3:53 pm. That's really close to the time I lost access to the internet for 2 days! I was on the phone with Internet provider for 1 hour Monday evening and 45 minutes Tues. morning, they couldn't figure it out, so sent a tech. When he got here this morning it was working fine. Weird. Oh, also, as I was running a search for files containing explorer.exe the memory usage kept going down. It's now at 8,840K.
Never kill or end the "explorer.exe" process in windows. Because after that you cannot recover the task bar and Desktop icons and you will be screwd. Fortunately, I had a KVM console attached to my server and had to reboot the server to retrieve my desktop :-)
More comments can be found here:
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Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of explorer.exe: based on 360 votes with 9 reviews. 186 users think explorer.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 14 users think it's probably harmless. 75 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 24 users suspect danger. 61 users think explorer.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 55 users don't grade explorer.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving explorer issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with explorer. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using cleanmgr and sfc /scannow, uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using msconfig) and enabling Windows' Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off doing a repair of your installation, or in the case of Windows 8, executing the DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the explorer.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: Security Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

explorer.exe [all]