The Explorer.exe file is responsible for displaying most Windows applications/utilities, such as File Explorer, Task Bar, Start Menu, and the action center. To accomplish these tasks, the Explorer.exe file loads a few DLL (Dynamic Link Library) files. As a result, when these DLL files become corrupted or missing, the error message “Explorer.exe class not found” appears.
Utilities such as the Start Menu and File Explorer use standard methods. However, we may occasionally encounter a black screen with an error message. If that’s the case, we won’t be able to click anything.
Fortunately, this article has methods to bypass the black screen and perform the required steps to fix the problem with the Explorer.exe file.
What Causes Explorer.exe Class not Registered Error Message?
Although a corrupted or missing DLL file is one of the possible causes for the error message, it can also be caused by a number of other factors:
- Explorer.exe missing or corrupted
- Outdated Windows
- Corrupted Hard Drive Sector
- An issue with Third-party application
- DLL files not registered
How to Fix Explorer.exe Class not Registered?
According to the list mentioned above, we have gathered some methods that can help you fix the issue.
Restart Windows Explorer
Sometimes, running the explorer file for too long can cause the process to crash. When Windows Explorer crashes, the “class not registered” error message may appear. If the operating system fails to respond and displays an error message, we can restart the Windows Explorer process from the Task Manager.
You can follow these processes to restart Windows Explorer.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. If this does not work due to Explorer.exe error, Press Ctrl + Alt + Delt and select Task Manager.
- If you cannot see all that tasks including background tasks, click on More details.
- Scroll down and click on Windows Explorer under Windows Processes.
- Click on Restart.
This will restart the Windows Explorer process resolving any issues with Explorer.exe.
Run SFC and DISM
The SFC (System File Checker) command will check and repair the system files, and the DISM (Deployment Image & Servicing Management) utility scans, checks, and repairs the system image. Both these commands will fix any corrupted system files inside
If you have a black screen and the error message that says Class not Registered, you won’t be able to open Command Prompt. If so, the following steps will help you run the Command Prompt as Administrator.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
- Under Windows Processes, right-click on any Service Host process and select Open file location.
- Windows Explorer should open. Here, search for cmd.
- Right-click on
cmd.exeand click on Run as administrator.
Once the computer runs the Command Prompt as administrator, follow these steps to run the sfc command.
- Type “sfc /scannow” without the quotation mark and press Enter.
- Wait for a few minutes for the process to complete.
After the process is complete, restart your computer to check if it fixed the issue.
There are three commands we need to run to perform a DISM. Please follow these steps in order to run the DISM commands
- Open Command Prompt as administrator.
- Now type the following command. Press Enter after each command.
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /restorehealth
CheckHealth command checks for any corruption in Windows 10 image. ScanHealth performs a detailed scan of your Operating System image. Then finally, RestoreHealth scans and repairs any issues with the system.
Run Internet Explorer Service
Sometimes, when a certain service named “Internet Explorer ETW Collector Service” does not run, we may get the error message “Explorer.exe class not registered“. However, running this particular service can fix this issue.
Please follow these steps to run Internet Explorer ETW Collector Service.
- Press the Windows + R key to open Run dialog box.
- Type “services.msc“ without the quotation mark and press Enter.
- Here, you will see all the services that runs in the background.
- Search for “Internet Explorer ETW Collector Service“ and double-click on it.
- Under Service Status, click on Start.
- Click on Apply, then OK.
Some Windows version may not have Internet Explorer ETW Collector Service on Services. If so, you can try other fixes.
Replace and Re-register ExplorerFrame.dll
Explorer.exe uses ExplorerFrame.dll when it is executed. If this DLL file gets corrupted or missing, we can get the error message saying Explorer.exe Class not found.
We need to replace and re-register the DLL file to fix this issue. Download the DLL file and once the download is complete, follow these steps to replace and re-register the DLL file.
- Extract the downloaded file to the desktop.
- Copy the extracted file and paste it in C:\Windows\System32.
- Click on Replace file in the destination.
- To register the DLL file, open Command Prompt as administrator and type the following.
- Once this process is complete, restart your computer.
Reset Default Applications
When we open a specific file, Windows checks the application extension that can open the file. If we set a default application to run those files, Windows will automatically run the file type with said default application. Due to reasons unknown, when these application launches, we get the error Explorer.exe Class not registered.
Resetting the default application will reset all its settings and solve the issue we face. Please follow these steps to reset the default application.
- Press the Windows key + I to open Settings.
- Go to Apps > Default Apps
- Under Related settings, click on Reset.
Change Default Application
If any application still gives us the error “Explorer.exe class not registered“ even after we reset the default application, we can try changing the default application to fix the issue.
To change the default application, you can follow these steps.
- Right-click on the file that is causing the error message.
- Click on Open with, then select Choose another app.
- Check Always use this app to open (file extension) files.
- Now, select the a different application and click on OK.
This will change the default application for the selected type of file extension only. For example, if we change the default application for a file with extension .png, the OS will use the selected application every time we open .png file.
So if we face errors while running some files, we can use another application to open them.
Change Default Browser
Similarly, if we face this error when the OS tries to open the certain browser, we can change the default browser to fix this issue. To change the default browser, please follow these steps
- Open Setting by pressing the Windows + I key and go to Apps > Default apps.
- Here, search for the browser you want to make default.
- You will see all the file extension and the application the OS uses to open these file extension.
- Click on the application listed under the file extension.
- Under Other options, select your browser (Google Chrome, Firefox or Edge).
- If you cannot locate the specific browser, click on More apps.
- Scroll down to Look for another app on this PC.
- Here, search for your browser executable (.exe) file.
Update/Roll Back Windows
An outdated Windows has a lot of issues with its Operating System and its drivers. Similarly, if we do not update our Windows every now and then, its internal components and software will start to malfunction. Therefore, it is always ideal to update Windows to prevent such error messages.
- Press the Windows key and open Settings.
- Go to Windows Update (Update and security > Windows update in windows 10).
- Here, click on Check for Updates or Install Updates.
- Wait for the installation/ download to complete.
- Once completed, restart your computer to apply these updates.
Although it is highly unlikely, Microsoft updates can sometimes malfunction and cause errors to the Operating System. If the computer starts giving the error message Explorer.exe Class does not register after a Windows update, It is most probable that it is the one causing the error message to pop up.
Fortunately, there are simple ways we can uninstall recent Windows Update.
- Press the Windows Key and press I.
- Go to Windows update (Update and security > Windows update for Windows 10)
- Scroll down and click on Update history.
- Click on Uninstall updates.
- Here, right-click on the latest Windows update and select Uninstall.
Once the uninstallation process is complete, restart your computer.
Check Hard Drive Status
If the hard drive has a corrupted sector, we also may get the error message. To verify this, we can run the following command in Command Prompt as administrator and press Enter.
wmic diskdrive get status
Once the process completes, it should say Status OK.
Under Status, if it says anything other than OK, it is probably causing the error message.
Disable iCloud Services
iCloud services are also known to cause issues with the system file named Explorer.exe. So if the system has iCloud installed, you may want to disable this service. We can check this by ending its process from the Task Manager.
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
- In the Process tab, search for iCloud Services.
- Click on it and then select End Task.
Now, check if it fixes the problem. If so, we need to disable this service. Follow these steps to disable iCloud Services.
Open Task Manager and go to the Startup tab. Here, right-click on iCloud Services and select Disable.
Repair Microsoft Photos
If we get the error message when opening Microsoft Photos, we can use the repair utilities to fix this issue. Follow these steps to repair Microsoft Photos.
- Press the Windows + I key to open Settings.
- Go to Apps > Apps and feature.
- Scroll down and click on the three vertical dots on Microsoft Photos.
- Select Advanced options.
- Scroll down to Reset and click on Repair.
- If the issue still persists, click on Reset.
Perform System Restore
The System Restore utilities in Windows lets the user roll back all the Windows settings back to a certain point (Restore Point). A Restore Point is like a snapshot of a computer system’s settings. When using System Restore, the system uses the restore point to revert all its settings.
However, we need to have set a restore point when the computer has not given this error message in order to fix this problem.
To perform a system restore, you can follow these steps.
- Press the Windows + R key to open Run.
- Type “rstrui.exe” and press Enter.
- Click on Next.
- Select a Restore Point and click on Next.
- Confirm your Restore Point by clicking on Finish.
- Click on Yes to start the System Restore process.
If none of the above solutions work, it is best to reset your windows. Resetting windows will perform a clean install and all its system files. As we cannot open any Windows utilities that require an explorer-like TaskBar and the Start menu, the system becomes pretty much useless.
However, backup personal data from the C drive before performing a system reset.
You can follow these steps in order to perform a system reset.
For Windows 11,
- Press the Windows Key + I to open Settings.
- Go to System > Recovery.
- Again Under Recovery options, click on Reset PC.
- Click on Keep my files.
- Select Local Reinstall.
- Windows will give you a warning. Click on Next.
- Then, click on Reset.
For Windows 10,
- Open Settings and go to Update & Security > Recovery.
- Under Reset this PC, click on Get Started.
- Now, follow the above steps for Windows 11 from step 4.