Solved! Windows file explorer window in my PC doesn't show and pop up anymore

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#1
The Windows file explorer window in my PC doesn't show and pop up anymore in my Windows 10 computer. It does highlight on the Windows taskbar where I can see that that window is opened and also, I can hover over it with my mouse cursor and then its little explorer window icon pops up on the task bar but that's it, the big window itself doesn't show up or is accessible anywhere.
I have all latest updates of Windows 10 installed. What I tried already: I uninstalled a couple of apps which I think I had installed around the time this problem started happening. And I also updated all my drivers with my paid driver update tool. But all with no success.
I never had this kind of problem before and I don't know what else to do.
I could uninstall all remaining apps on my PC one by one and see if that fixes it but those are still quite a lot of apps and then I would need to re-install them later again. Not sure if I should do that.
 

Sgt. York

Senior member
Mar 27, 2016
294
75
71
#2
What is a 'paid driver update tool'?

Maybe I'm just behind times.
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#3
What is a 'paid driver update tool'?

Maybe I'm just behind times.
It's a premium or paid software for updating my drivers. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention it's name.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#4
Click the File Explorer icon on the taskbar, then hit ALT+SPACE, M, then use the arrow keys to move the window back on-screen.
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#5
Click the File Explorer icon on the taskbar, then hit ALT+SPACE, M, then use the arrow keys to move the window back on-screen.
Tried this a couple of times, the arrow keys show up, then I try to click and drag the file explorer icon to the middle of the screen but it doesn't show up.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
27,214
42
106
#6
Can you go to the source file in Windows and create a shortcut to it on your desktop or Start Menu? (%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe)
 
Aug 25, 2001
43,587
535
126
#7
Tried this a couple of times, the arrow keys show up, then I try to click and drag the file explorer icon to the middle of the screen but it doesn't show up.
No, you're NOT trying to drag the taskbar icon.

Instead of clicking the taskbar icon, use ALT+TAB until the File Explorer window is the front-most window, then hit ALT+SPACE, M, then use the arrow keys, to move the actual window on-screen. Not the icon.
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#8
No, you're NOT trying to drag the taskbar icon.

Instead of clicking the taskbar icon, use ALT+TAB until the File Explorer window is the front-most window, then hit ALT+SPACE, M, then use the arrow keys, to move the actual window on-screen. Not the icon.
Tried it but when I use ALT+TAB all open windows show up next to each other (incl. file explorer) in a row, and when I click it enough times so that file explorer is the highlighted one, it doesn't become front-most window. So then without releasing the ALT key I click SPACE and M too but now the arrow keys don't show up. If I release the the ALT+TAB keys all windows dissapear and I can't move the actual window on-screen even if the arrow keys had appeared.
 
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Aug 25, 2001
43,587
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#9
To use ALT+TAB properly, you HOLD DOWN ALT, then tap TAB until the window that you want is highlighted. Then RELEASE ALT. (That window for File Explorer MAY NOT SHOW ON-SCREEN. Rest assured that as long as you don't click any other window with the mouse, it will remain the selected/front-most window.)

Then, hold down ALT, and hit SPACE. Let go of ALT. Hit "M". Then use the arrow keys to move around.

I have no idea what you are talking about with arrow keys visible. There should be no visible arrows on-screen. You are probably hitting some sort of ALT+<arrow> combination, for window-splitting/placement. That's not what I'm talking about.
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#10
Can you go to the source file in Windows and create a shortcut to it on your desktop or Start Menu? (%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe)
I created a shortcut to it on my desktop, clicked it but still it doesn't show up. Only another small icon of it on the taskbar was added next to the other one.
 
Aug 25, 2001
43,587
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#11
I guess, the question is, when you click the taskbar icon, does it actually start File Explorer (*show up in the Processes list in Task Manager)?

My "trick" is assuming that it DOES start, and it just happens to be OFF-SCREEN. (Can happen, for a multitude of reasons.)

Can you try selecting the active window of File Explorer by ALT+TAB (hit tab repeatedly while holding down ALT, then let go of both when it is selected.).

Then let go of all keys, then hold down ALT, and tap SPACE, then let go of all keys. Then hit your "X" key. Does File Explorer go full-screen maximized?

Do you have multiple monitors, by any chance, or a TV connected via HDMI, or a monitor connected via DisplayPort, that is "OFF"? Did you recently?
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#12
To use ALT+TAB properly, you HOLD DOWN ALT, then tap TAB until the window that you want is highlighted. Then RELEASE ALT. (That window for File Explorer MAY NOT SHOW ON-SCREEN. Rest assured that as long as you don't click any other window with the mouse, it will remain the selected/front-most window.)

Then, hold down ALT, and hit SPACE. Let go of ALT. Hit "M". Then use the arrow keys to move around.

I have no idea what you are talking about with arrow keys visible. There should be no visible arrows on-screen. You are probably hitting some sort of ALT+<arrow> combination, for window-splitting/placement. That's not what I'm talking about.
OK, this did show the arrows mouse cursor but before that when I did let go of ALT all visible small windows dissappeared, so the one of Windows file explorer too and I can't click it to move it to the foreground, or whatever you mean I should do.
 
Aug 25, 2001
43,587
535
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#13
OK, this did show the arrows mouse cursor but before that when I did let go of ALT all visible small windows dissappeared, so the one of Windows file explorer too and I can't click it to move it to the foreground, or whatever you mean I should do.
Edit: When ALT+TABing, you don't click the windows that appear in the middle with the mouse cursor, you continue to cycle through them with TAB, until the one you want is highlighted. DON'T CLICK ANYTHING WITH THE MOUSE.

If you got the little cross-hair arrows, as a mouse cursor, that is actually correct. You just then need to hit your arrow keys on the keyboard (hold them down), to move the window around, it may be off-screen quite a bit, or the wrong direction. Try zooming it around with the arrow keys until it is on the visible portion of the screen.
 
Aug 25, 2001
43,587
535
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#14
Try it on a visible window. Open another program, like Task Manager, it should show on-screen.

Then hold down ALT, press SPACE, let go of both, hit "M", then use the arrow keys, you should be moving the window around the screen.

If the window you want (File Explorer), is off-screen, this technique can be used to bring it back.

"Blind" keyboard shortcuts may be a bit hard to handle for some users.
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#15
Edit: When ALT+TABing, you don't click the windows that appear in the middle with the mouse cursor, you continue to cycle through them with TAB, until the one you want is highlighted. DON'T CLICK ANYTHING WITH THE MOUSE.

If you got the little cross-hair arrows, as a mouse cursor, that is actually correct. You just then need to hit your arrow keys on the keyboard (hold them down), to move the window around, it may be off-screen quite a bit, or the wrong direction. Try zooming it around with the arrow keys until it is on the visible portion of the screen.
I think I know what you mean but and think I did that but it doesn't work as I think you mean. Perhaps it doesn't work because of the problem itself. I shall try again tomorrow, thanks all!
 
Aug 25, 2001
43,587
535
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#16
Oh, once you have the window on-screen, I think that you can hit ENTER, to lock it to that position.
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#17
Edit: When ALT+TABing, you don't click the windows that appear in the middle with the mouse cursor, you continue to cycle through them with TAB, until the one you want is highlighted. DON'T CLICK ANYTHING WITH THE MOUSE.

If you got the little cross-hair arrows, as a mouse cursor, that is actually correct. You just then need to hit your arrow keys on the keyboard (hold them down), to move the window around, it may be off-screen quite a bit, or the wrong direction. Try zooming it around with the arrow keys until it is on the visible portion of the screen.
You're right, your directions are very clear but I still couldn't do them as you've pointed out. But today I went back to your first reply, did that and now it worked and the problem is gone! I somehow read your "arrow keys" as the mouse cursor that turns into the cursor that has arrows pointing N, S, E and West. So today I used the normal arrow keys on my kb and moved the window back on-screen. :)

And you were also right that the window somehow was OFF-SCREEN. And yes, I have a second monitor attached to my PC via DVI and had as settings in Windows to use it as a second screen whereby my screen is expanded. But I had not enough space on my desktop so I moved the second monitor to the back and turned it off. Does this mean windows still thinks that space is available and keeps using it so you can drag open windows on to it, even though the monitor itself is OFF?
 
Aug 25, 2001
43,587
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#18
Congratulations, you did it! :)

Arrow keys for the win.

Anyways, yeah, this can happen with multi-monitor. The thing is, apps often remember their last window position, and if it was off-screen (on another monitor, with an extended desktop), and then you shut down, remove the second screen, and try to use that program, YES, it will still "appear" in the position that it was in, on a now-phantom screen.

That little "trick" using the keyboard shortcuts to the System Menu of the Application, and then using the Arrow keys on your keyboard, isn't too well-known, unless you happen to intimately aware of your keyboard shortcut options.

Glad I could help.

Edit: Oh yes, and to answer your final question, VGA and DVI-D monitors, in Windows, generally retain their desktops, even when shut off, after you initially extend your desktop to that monitor.
DisplayPort monitors, once shut completely off, lose their desktop, generally, and HDMI, it could go either way, depending on the drivers.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#19
Microsoft should really implement a sort of "off-window Peek Mode", for applications. The idea is, that if you open an application, who's window is off-screen on the current display, then it shows a little mini-window of that app's window, near the edge (top, bottom, left, right, etc.) approx where that application window is, so that you can maneuver it back on-screen, if necessary.

This would require being able to detect if a monitor / desktop area is "active", but not "enabled". (Monitor extended to that desktop, but not currently generating raster interrupts, or whatever it uses to tell if the monitor is powered on or not, maybe DDC data channel.)
 

PCtoreno

Junior Member
Apr 4, 2019
15
0
6
#20
So happy this problem got solved. Thanks VirtualLarry! Do you also use an extendend desktop with one or more monitors?

I had also posted this problem to Windows' official support forum but I only got quite difficult and not usefull replies there compared to what I got here.

Why would it be that the official support forum didn't come up with better replies like I got here?
Here is the link to it if you want to check it out:
https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us...-4caf850ea4ac?tm=1554403421228&auth=1&lc=1043
 
Aug 25, 2001
43,587
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#21
Why would it be that the official support forum didn't come up with better replies like I got here?
LOL. Because, they don't have me advising over there.

I basically "knew" what your problem was, exactly, and how to fix it, because I've run into it a few times myself. Experience helps, when you're a tech.

If your problem had been, with actually launching File Explorer, and having it create a window on your desktop (albeit off-screen, in this case), then their solutions would probably have been more correct. (Edit: In-place Repair Install would probably work there, not the most time-efficient solution, but probably the most simple and straight-forward one for the user.)


I've got a thorny problem myself, with one of my Win10 mining PCs, it won't let my type into the WIN+S search box. Keyboard works otherwise, in browser URL bars, and Notepad.exe. Wired keyboard does same thing, so it's not the wireless dongle.

Seems like a software problem. Found a "Fix" video on YT, tried both solutions. While they worked in the video, they didn't work for me. I've also noticed, that some of the Win10 app icons on the taskbar aren't there, so I need some sort of PowerShell command to re-install all of the default apps, probably. I'll do some more searching and diagnosis, surely someone has that command documented.

I may be good at some things, but in this field, there's always more to learn!
 
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