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In Windows 7, I could terminate the explorer.exe process by Ctrl+Shift-right clicking the Start menu and clicking Exit Explorer.

How can I do this in Windows 8?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

Now, you need to Ctrl+Shift-right click the taskbar:

enter image description here

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Huh, never knew this. Why would you need to do this? – Caleb Jares Oct 29 '12 at 17:57
If you needed to do some registry changes related to the explorer. For example if I wanted to enable the watermark when its disabled I would need to restart the explorer.exe as it relates to the Desktop. – Matthew Wong Oct 29 '12 at 18:01
@CalebJares: To unload a shell extension DLL. – SLaks Oct 29 '12 at 18:03
I remember in 2000/XP one had to press Control+Shift+Alt and click on Cancel in the "Turn off computer" dialog. BTW, while the above method (via the menu) is cleaner, it will only close the Explorer process that managed the Desktop, so if you've enabled "Launch folder windows in a separate process" you still have to manually close the other Explorer process via Task Manager. – Karan Oct 29 '12 at 18:18
@Karan The 2000/XP method still works in Vista and 7. – kinokijuf Dec 28 '12 at 19:21

Thought I'd give an alternative as well:

  1. Win + R
  2. taskkill /IM explorer.exe /F

To restart explorer:

  1. Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start Task Manager
  2. File, Run new task
  3. Type explorer and hit enter
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This would not be a clean exit though. Killing the process from the command line or Task Manager may result in changed settings not being being saved etc. The only clean way I know of is the one SLaks mentioned. – Karan Oct 29 '12 at 18:19
Would it be if you removed the /F? – Caleb Jares Oct 29 '12 at 18:20
@RakibAnsary Thanks, will edit – Caleb Jares Oct 29 '12 at 18:21
I think it would still not allow a proper close even without the /F. – Karan Oct 29 '12 at 18:21
What is the advantage of a clean close? I've never used Slaks' method before. – Caleb Jares Oct 29 '12 at 18:23

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