I want to see how many FPS I'm getting on my desktop.
As I understand it, in Windows it's just a program called Explorer.exe.
How can I see how many frames per second it is displaying?
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explorer.exe doesn't really control the whole visual presentation of your desktop, per se. It runs the shell (things like the start menu and task bar, file and folder icons, etc), but it doesn't have much to do with video rendering. The closest thing to that would probably be dwm.exe -- the Desktop Window Manager that composites the graphics of all the programs running on your desktop together and sends them to the video driver.
I'm not actually sure of a way to look at the framerate of the desktop in Windows, but you don't need to -- it is basically always running at the refresh rate of your monitor, ever since the Desktop Window Manager was introduced in Windows Vista. The design of this is basically that all the programs update off-screen copies of the screen as fast as possible, and the DWM copies the current changes to the video driver once per screen refresh. Because this drawing process works differently from the way discrete video frames are generated in most games, there isn't really an "FPS" number you can associate with it, at least not in a sense that would be comparable to what we think of when we think of FPS in games.
This was something that I ran into when I bought a 144 Hz G-Sync gaming monitor - I noticed that Explorer was still running at what appeared to be 60 Hz despite having this monitor plugged in. Fortunately, my monitor also came with the solution: in the front panel settings, I could turn on a frame counter that shows the FPS at the top right of the screen (and sure enough, it was only running at 60 Hz).
Fortunately, you can also change the target refresh rate that your desktop runs at. Here's a link with pictures, but the basic idea is that you want to change the properties of your display adapter by going into Settings -> Display -> Advanced display settings -> Display adapter properties for display (whichever one is your monitor) -> Monitor. There's a drop-down with all the refresh rates your monitor supports (provided "Hide modes that this monitor cannot display" is checked) - pick the one you want, click OK, and enjoy your new buttery smooth 144/240 Hz Windows desktop.