Windows 11 hangs when entering Downloads folder

AG 491 Reputation points

Windows 11 hangs when entering Downloads folder and "Working on it..." is displayed.
When trying to close the window I am receiving the message "Windows explorer is not responding"

I have already tried

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

sfc /scannow

Full Disk Cleanup with system files.


Windows 11
Windows 11
A Microsoft operating system designed for productivity, creativity, and ease of use.
8,367 questions
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Accepted answer
  1. AG 491 Reputation points


    Clearing file explorer history did not solved the problem for me.
    I was forced to delete all files in Downloads folder using CMD.

    3 people found this answer helpful.

5 additional answers

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  1. Jen A 10 Reputation points

    I had this exact problem! I'm not very tech savvy so I really wanted to look for the simplest solution before I started messing with any of the more complex solutions recommended here. Somehow I did manage to do something really simple that let me access the Downloads folder again.

    1. Right Click on Downloads folder and hit Properties
    2. Go into the Location tab
    3. Restore Default

    In my case my PC is really new so I haven't messed with many things yet (purposefully), so I figured whatever the Default is can't hurt. And just like that I had access to the Downloads folder and all the files inside again.

    2 people found this answer helpful.

  2. Buster D 6 Reputation points

    Solution #3: Change the Folder Settings worked for me


    1 person found this answer helpful.

  3. Limitless Technology 39,416 Reputation points

    Hi there,

    The most effective method to fix Windows Explorer not responding is to clear file explorer history. You can open on Control Panel, set view by large icons and click File Explorer Options from the interface. Then click Clear button and OK to clear Windows Explorer history. Then try opening Windows Explorer again.

    If the issue has been occurring for a month or more, it may be better to perform an In-Place Upgrade and restore Windows to the original installation. Performing an In-Place Upgrade will not damage files and applications that are currently installed on your computer.

    You can also try the troubleshoots as per this link

    --If the reply is helpful, please Upvote and Accept it as an answer--

    0 comments No comments

  4. Marten uivesteyn 0 Reputation points

    I moved the actual download folder ( to my desktop) WINDOWS asked if I wanted to copy all the items from the old download folder to the new one and presto ... hello files ... then to a surprise old location started to work ... go figure