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 ams60_launch or AutoPlay Application or Utforskaren or Windows Verkenner or Security Key Relauncher

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

by Microsoft ( or PRIVAT or xxxx or Dritek System ( or aaaa or air or JADSHGAGAG or re e56iurtfg hdfkg kgfhdfhd.

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 (23% of all occurrences), 1,033,728 bytes and 346 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_HIDEFIL.BMC (detected by TrendMicro), and MonitoringTool:Win32/Ardamax or TrojanSpy:Win32/SCKeyLog.O (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

Crashed my computer! Will not even start up
though you end your "explorer.exe" process from task manager you can get it back just log off and log in to you pc you don't need to shut down.
this explorer.exe is not a virus but the EXPLORER.EXE is a virus
It's a process that allows you to run files
It might be a virus.
When you think about it, explorer.exe is the same as my computer. Cause is you open explorer.exe and my computer it opens the same stuff. Like if you open my computer, in opens the main hard drives on win. XP. And also on XP, if you open explorer.exe it pretty much does the same. On windows 7, if you open explorer.exe and the documents icon on the task bar, which is my computer at the same time it's exactly the same. So it shouldn't be removed at fricken all! It's that important
  Christopher Robinson  
This application keeps crashing on me and I don't know how to fix it. Makes my desktop unusable. Any suggestions? It is not a virus.
  Mary Beth  
It's the System UI. It's crucial, that's why it needs that much RAM. A part of Windows.
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of explorer.exe: based on 369 votes with 9 reviews. 190 users think explorer.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 14 users think it's probably harmless. 79 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 24 users suspect danger. 62 users think explorer.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 56 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]