Earlier this week, my Windows 10 computer started to show an error “Microsoft Windows is not responding” with two options – “End Process” and “Cancel”. Both of these options lead to system hanging in the middle without any working desktop and all the Windows shortcut keys not working. After some examination, I found out it is because Windows File Explorer is unable to load which in turn happens because of an incompatible File Explorer extension that was installed by either a rogue software or by an older software that does not work well with the new versions of File Explorer.
One simply way to fix this error and bring your Windows 10 system back to normal state is to remove the offending software that has installed a bad add-on for File Explorer. Here is how:
- Since nothing else is working, you have to launch Task Manager to work around. Use Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager.
- In the Task Manager, click on More details and switch to the detailed view.
- Select File Run → New task in the Task Manager.
- Type appwiz.cpl in the “Create new task” window and click on the OK button.
- In the “Programs and Features” window select the offending program that you recently installed after which the problem appeared. Click on the Uninstall option to remove it from your system.
- After the offending program has been removed, go back to the Task Manager, select Windows File Explorer and choose to Restart it.
- If step 6 fails to load Windows desktop normally, you have to select File Run → New task in the Task Manager and then type shutdown /r /t 0 in the “Create new task” window in order to reboot Windows.
I have experienced this problem when installing PDF-XChange Viewer (free version) along with the shell extensions (File Explorer extensions). This installed version was not compatible with Windows 10 and resulted in this error after system reboot. If this solution does not work or you do not remember the offending program, then you will have to restore your Windows back to a working condition using Windows System Restore.