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I have a very unusual situation in which I am remote desktoping to my Windows 7 PC from my laptop. The Explorer.exe process has been killed so therefore the Start menu etc isn't available. So there fore there is very little I can do with my PC. So I need to restart my PC. How can I restart my PC after the Explorer.exe process has been killed?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You could go into Task Manager within the remote desktop session by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC.

  1. Click File
  2. Click New Task (Run...)
  3. Type explorer.exe and click OK

That will instantly restart the Explorer shell without the need to restart your PC.

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Will CTRL+SHIFT+ESC work when explorer.exe is not running? – firedfly Jan 8 '11 at 15:24
Definitely, yes. You can test this by manually killing the explorer.exe process from Task Manager itself. Close Task Manager... CTRL+SHIFT+ESC... voila. – Kez Jan 8 '11 at 15:25
Right click no the task bar and you will find the option : show task manager , follow kez's instruction after that – Shekhar Jan 8 '11 at 15:32
@Shark - You've kind of missed the point... – Matthieu Cartier Jan 8 '11 at 15:49
@neurolysis- yup i guess i did :) – Shekhar Jan 9 '11 at 6:11

If you can send a ctrl-alt-del to the remote computer, then you should be able to launch the task manager. From there you can click File->New Task. Launch the command prompt (cmd.exe).

From there, you can restart the computer with a 1 second delay with the following command:

shutdown /r /t 1

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There are situations where the desktop background is visible and the mouse pointer works, but Explorer is dead and ctrl-alt-del and shift-ctrl-esc don't do anything, even though the keyboard is active and can be used to exit the screensaver. Remote Desktop is functional but doesn't help or provide any more functionality than at the host computer.

I believe this happens when Windows Update / Microsoft Update has initiated a reboot, but something is preventing the final shutdown. If the power button is configured for sleep or hibernate, there's apparently no way to recover from this; upon wake or return from hibernation, you end up right where you were. I usually end up just pulling the plug so on my next boot I'd be prompted whether to start Windows normally.

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Sometimes I've found that I can't even use Ctrl+Alt+Delete or Ctrl+Alt+End, so I've found another workaround:

  1. Open Remote Desktop
  2. Before you hit connect, click the options drop-down
  3. Go to the Programs tab
  4. Check the box that says "Start the Following program on Connection"
  5. Enter 'explorer' (without quotes) into the Program Path and File Name Box
  6. Connect Normally

I've had a similar issue with one of our work VM instances and it's a pain to have to get I.T. to reboot it all the time, and I couldn't seem to open Task Manager when the instance was in this state.

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