In Windows 7 64 bit, I killed explorer.exe, and then via the task manager do file->run "."

This method has always caused the start menu to reappear, but right now it doesn't.

After killing a rogue explorer.exe process, what's the best way to restore the start menu?

1 Answer 1


Via the Task Manager go File -> New Task (Run...) and enter "explorer.exe" ("explorer" by itself may also work.)

This will start a new instance of the explorer process (and therefore restore your Start Menu.)

  • So, what does running "." do? It always used to be equivalent to running "explorer.exe" - did this change sometime?
    – ripper234
    Jul 23, 2011 at 0:16
  • Did doing it work in Win7 ever or was this something you used to do under XP? Under Windows 7 (maybe Vista too) running "." or just . brings up a Windows Explorer window at the System32 folder. I believe (and someone can correct me if I am wrong) that under Win7 explorer.exe and "Windows Explorer" can work independently of each other, were as in XP they may have been linked so starting Windows Explorer would also start an explorer.exe process. Again, just speculation on my part, specifying explorer.exe works regardless.
    – Windos
    Jul 23, 2011 at 0:47
  • I didn't even know the "." worked. Since 96, you've been able to simple use "explorer.exe" from the taskman to restart explorer.
    – surfasb
    Jul 23, 2011 at 1:20
  • 3
    (duh) c:\windows\explorer.exe did the trick Aug 6, 2013 at 10:42
  • 3
    This worked perfectly. In case you do not have a task manager open, ctrl alt del and start task manager.
    – jay
    Sep 15, 2017 at 21:16

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