Microsoft is working on important Windows 11 Stability improvements

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 27, 2022
Windows 11 News

Windows users who run Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system for the first time will notice the visual changes right away. The centered Windows 11 taskbar and the revamped Start Menu (which is still barely usable) are just two of the changes that most users will notice immediately after firing up the system for the first time.

explorer.exe process Task Manager

While most users are aware of the visual changes, only a few may be aware of the under-the-hood work of Microsoft. One of Microsoft's development goals is to improve stability of the Windows 11 operating system.

The Explorer process is a prime target for these optimizations. Most Windows users may associate Explorer.exe with File Explorer, the system's default file browser. Termination of the process using the Task Manager or other process managers reveals that other components, for example the desktop, are somehow linked to the Explorer process. When an administrator terminates explorer.exe on a Windows machine, it is taking the entire taskbar and desktop with it into Nirvana.

This is a major source for reliability issues on Windows. If the explorer.exe process hangs or crashes, it is causing other core elements of the operating system to crash as well. Even though it is usually possible to restart the Explorer process to bring everything back to life, it is a huge nuisance and instability issue.

In recent Windows 11 Insider Preview builds, Microsoft has started to unlink Immersive Shell from the Explorer process. First spotted by the makers of Start is All Back, a third-party Start Menu replacement for Windows, the change attempts to split Immersive Shell from Explorer. This step moves some core components into their own process, which in turn means that they won't go down with Explorer anymore or hang when Explorer hangs.

The change is in active development at this point in time and not working properly right now in the latest Insider builds. It is too early to tell when it will land in stable versions of Windows 11. A potential candidate is the next feature update for Windows 11, which is expected to be released at the end of 2023.

Microsoft plans to release several Moments update, feature drops, in the meantime, but it seems unlikely that such a major change is introduced as part of one of those updates.

In any event, the change could improve the stability and also performance of the Windows 11 operating system significantly.

Now You: what is your take on this development?

Microsoft is working on important Windows 11 Stability improvements
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Microsoft is working on important Windows 11 Stability improvements
Recent development builds of Windows 11 feature changes that decouple core operating system components from the Explorer process.
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  1. Quilt said on December 30, 2022 at 9:10 am

    The Metro / Modern / Whatever is called today API is a total trainwreck since Windows 8 times and it is only getting worseat each revision, incapable to deliver a single non-trivial applicataion which is at least on-par with what exists since 25 years ago.

    Forcing it on Windows it is the nail of the coffin of this venerable old pal, each piece rewritten in that d*mn API (file manager, context menu, task bar…) does not fail to impress users negatively for lack of performances, scalability, stability, compatibility, extensibility by external developers.

    Talented developers had long time retired from MS, and new talents never even started to replace them as the money now is in mobile / cloud / social / web rather than desktop API development.

    Whoever is in charge of Windows division today clearly has no clue how an API needs to be, and after 3 major iterations trying to kill off Windows I’m no longer surprised this is fully functional to the vision of a company which now lives milking users with Saas a cloud licenses.

    Maintaining the OS we knew in last 25 years is just a waste of money for today’s Microsoft, and next iterations will increasingly resemble an increasingly locked down Xbox for the sole market and purpose let to Windows, being a glorified premium-price gaming console.

  2. Anonymous said on December 28, 2022 at 10:42 am

    This is bad news because it will break any third-party taskbar, start menu, and workaround that makes Windows 11 usable.

  3. ilev said on December 28, 2022 at 7:55 am

    “Microsoft is working on important Windows 11 Stability improvements”

    You mean the Microsoft has released a whole year of unstable Windows 11 OS ?

  4. VioletMoon said on December 28, 2022 at 3:09 am

    Yes, if the programmer knows the consequences if he/she splits Immersive Shell from Explorer. I don’t know, but chances are it will make Windows 11 less stable or necessitate a number of other changes. I think I would leave it alone.

    All these negative comments about Windows 11. A few tweaks here and there, and I haven’t had any problems that weren’t easily found and fixed. Hmmm . . . .

  5. Stupid games = Stupid prizes said on December 28, 2022 at 1:16 am

    That “modern” skin they just slapped on explorer and the context menu made everything laggy. Imagine if Microsoft actually had skilled developers/programmers/designers that could create a new explorer/UI from scratch instead of having to resort to cheap hacks and wonky workarounds. Imagine that..If they only had the funds to make that happen.. Or the will. Windows 11 is now basically just like using some resource heavy Stardock Windowblinds program to change the UI. Or like installing the latest Ubuntu on a 2009 netbook with 1GB RAM. Yeah, it “works” and it’s pretty but very painful. Ironically I bought (yes ME the sworn pirate actually spent money on software..) Start11 and could not be happier, I refuse to use that garbage Microsoft calls a Start Menu.

  6. yanta said on December 27, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    How long has WIndows 11 been available? And they are only now working on “stability improvements”? That should have been the first thing to be addressed as soon as it was released.

    I thought Windows 8 looked bad, but Windows 11 is next level bad.

    There are a multitude of sites for the “basics”, quite often peddling bad advice, or regurgitating the same old stuff. This site should not follow that model. I too am put off by the standard of the articles here over the last couple of months.

  7. Tsami said on December 27, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    I wonder how this change will affect rebuilding the icon cache in Win 11.

    In Win 10, sometimes icons can’t be changed, and ending Explorer in Task Manager is one of the steps necessary to rebuild the icon cache. Ending Explorer leaves a desktop that permits deletion of the cache which is rebuilt after signing out (

    1. Cornelius said on December 30, 2022 at 2:27 am

      Good point. We can also rest assured this has not entered the simple minds at Redmond. Refactoring this thing will result in a bug-tsunami and we all know it. But let’s be positive: maybe in 30-40 years windows CAN be a somewhat functional pre-alpha OS of some obscure use to some brave/stupid user somewhere.

  8. Tachy said on December 27, 2022 at 5:34 pm


    With the site being flooded by posts from “Shuan” (which I am convinced is a bot) I am loathe to open any link to stories relating to windows now.

    I’m glad I took a chance this time but overall, I’m usually no longer inclined to do so.

    1. Anonymous said on December 30, 2022 at 9:59 pm

      Just block Shaun using uBlock Origin:

      ##:is(.home-posts,,.home-category-post):has-text(“by Shaun on”)

    2. John G. said on December 27, 2022 at 7:40 pm

      Please do respect @Shaun, he is only doing his work and deserves to do it without these innecesary comments against him! :[

      1. Robert said on December 27, 2022 at 8:04 pm

        With all respect for @Shaun efforts, and not talking about him personally – just in Ghacks context – his articles tends to be on very basic level. It’s ok – maybe Ghacks also should have ‘Basics’ section. But they are also greatly biased towards Microsoft products – “Almost everyone uses Microsoft Outlook.”. Really?

        In the past Ghacks has variety of interesting articles, but it tends to change. And I’m here for few year now.

      2. Ray said on December 28, 2022 at 12:34 am

        Shaun’s posts are primarily written for SEO purposes to link back to Softonic and other Ghacks articles.

      3. Please raise your personal standardown standard said on December 27, 2022 at 9:44 pm

        You ARE disrespecting Shaun. doing it in a condescending way doesn’t make it right.

        Reading articles is voluntary. Your Newsreader knowledge may be lacking. Please learn to filter by author so the rest of us don’t need to read your comments about Shaun or any other author you think doesn’t achieve your belief of Ghack’s standard.

        Content oversight is ultimately the boss’s job. It follows your are also disrespecting Martin.

    3. HoofHearted said on December 27, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      Shaun isn’t a bot. I think he’s new and is keep to post

  9. Ubetcha said on December 27, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    They are probably working day and night on making explorer.exe to function only with a Microsoft account.

    1. Christian said on December 27, 2022 at 8:04 pm

      The irony is that M$ is desperate for people to make accounts and they are the worst abuser in locking M$ accounts without a phone number. You create an account and in 2 days max it is locked unless you give them your phone number. They are far worse in locking accounts than Amazon, Apple and Google.

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