Maybe this belongs on another site... but I was just wondering if anyone knows why windows explorer sometimes decides to go into the "not responding" state.

This isn't a huge deal as I can just open another file explorer and kill the other process... but I am just curious as to the likely cause.

The weird thing is that this seems to be totally random. I cannot pinpoint an action that causes this.

Using Task Manager:

I tried "Debug", which opens visual studio, but it just shows the same performance info you see in task manager --- just for the individual process.

I tried "Analyze Wait Chain", and this tells me the thread numbers, but nothing more.

I looked in services and there are none associated with the PID.

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    What OS are you on? Is your pc joined to a domain?
    – LPChip
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:31
  • This is a bit broad, as a number of things could be causing File Explorer to misbehave. Any details or even patterns that you could provide would help. Alongside any details of the device itself regarding software (OS and such) Oct 6, 2017 at 14:33
  • Win 10, but I think this was an issue for me with win 8 and 7 as well. It occurs on multiple pc's, both connected to a domain and alone Oct 6, 2017 at 14:33
  • 2
    When this happens to me it is usually either network problems on a mounted network drive, or read problems with a connected disc (CD or pendrive). A failing hard disc will also cause this problem, so you should check the SMART data, and I've also experienced it with a highly fragmented page file.
    – AFH
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:33
  • I experienced this because of group policy updating in the background, which happens every 90 minutes with a random interval of 30 minutes. You will want to ask your network system administrators. If this is you, look into the drive mappings GPO and/or the settings for applying GPO in general and in the background.
    – LPChip
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


"Not Responding" means one primary thing: Windows is asking for the current status of the application, and the application is "Not Responding" to that status request.

The reason WHY the application is not responding varies widely, and doesn't usually mean the program has hung or crashed. Generally, when your program is flagged as Not Responding, waiting is the best thing to do. Only if it remains in this state for an extended period of time is it OK to end the task and restart it.

Common reasons why Explorer shows as Not Responding are that it is busy trying to contact something or it is waiting for responses to a scan of resources.

Making sure these resources and the things Explorer may be waiting for are generally well available is the best way to stop Explorer from going into this state.

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