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On my Windows11 (Build 22621) Windows explorer keeps opening randomly, sometimes 4 times in 20 seconds and sometimes a few hours of working go by without any new window opening. It either opens 'My Pc' or 'Home' location, whatever option I've chosen between the two, from inside 'Folder Options'.

I'm using some 3rd party utilities, but they don't seem to be the culprit: one simple ahk script on my pc since this problem wasn't there. I also use Open-Shell (windows start menu customization utility) and EP: Explorer Patcher. Another utility I'm using is Xmouse Button. But I've tested by exiting all 4 utilities (exiting all 4 together, but have not rebooted after exiting all these), and still the problem remains.

After some experiments, I've found that in 90% of this problem occurs, when I Alt+tab from some windows app to another app, particularly from Telegram Desktop window to any other window. And sometimes I think that some mouse movement did that, but sometimes I feel not. Edit a year after: Today the problem resurfaced after I updated my Windows with 3 latest KB updates and then uninstalled 2 of them, and found that this problem resurfaced with full intensity.

I don't understand what more can I do to further analyze/diagnose the problem. I've found one two similar questions (and answers) here on superuser, but they didn't help.

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    I do not see that problem here on my own Windows 11 machines. Try DISM / SFC as the initial repair. (1) Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator. (2) DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /StartComponentCleanup (3) DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth (4) SFC /SCANNOW (5) Restart when all the above is complete and test.
    – anon
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 10:54
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    If @John's comment doesn't resolve the issue, it's not an OS issue and is third-party software related - does booting in Safe Mode result in the same? If not, it's almost certainly third-party software related. Generally, the only way Explorer gets launched is something is executing explorer.exe (first invocation at boot starts the Windows Shell, with all subsequent invocations starting Explorer - when you're done on the PC, kill all explorer.exe instances, thereby killing the Windows Shell - does the Windows Shell get relaunched?)
    – JW0914
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 12:11
  • @john I've done all 4 steps told. Although 3rd steps' result did show that some repairs were made, but problem didn't go away. Next, as jw0914 told, I'm in Win11 Safe Mode, and problem hasn't reappeared yet for the last 45 min. Worth noting that the one Win Store app (telegram desktop) which seem to cause more openings of Explorer (8 out of 10 times, win exp opened when I moved away from telegram desktop to any other window), doesn't open/didn't open in Win Safe Mode. Though the 4 third party apps, that I told before, are being used even now. If I end Explorer task, it restarts. What now? Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 6:41
  • I've now rebooted to normal mode. And problem hasn't reappeared for past half hour. You're great. But I didn't understand (just in case need be) @john 's statement regarding Windows Shell and 'When you're done on the pc, kill all instances of explorer'. Because whenever I end the task of 'Win-explorer', it restarts. Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 7:40

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As told by @John in the first comment above, my problem was solved after I performed these 4 steps and REBOOTED (reboot is imp):

  1. Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator.
  2. Run or copy paste from here: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /StartComponentCleanup
  3. Then: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth
  4. SFC /SCANNOW
  5. Test in Safe Mode once (I did this steop after doing above repairs, I don't know if it helped or only last 3 steps did the job).

Its been several days now, but the problem hasn't reappeared even once. Edit after an year: Problem reappeared after I installed 3 Win11 KB updates and doing these steps immediately eliminated the probem.

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