This tip shows you how to restart the Windows Vista Explorer Shell without restarting Windows Vista. This tip also applied to Windows XP, though the screens vary a little, the steps are basically the same.
1. Next time you find yourself in this scenario with a desktop freeze and becomes unresponsive, press Ctrl+Alt+Del. If you get the Task Manager window proceed with step 2.
2. Click the Start Task Manager button, as shown here
Right-click on explorer.exe and select End Process.
6. A Task Manager warning pop-up is displayed asking you to confirm that you really want to end the process. Click Yes to end the process, which should make the desktop clear itself.
7. In Task Manager still open, click on the File menu, and select New Task then chose Run, as shown here
8. Lastly type explorer.exe, and click OK. The Windows Explorer Shell restarts and should make the desktop, along with applications you had open, reappear.
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