Windows 10 File Explorer Bugs Cause Concern

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is to fix some major problems with the Windows 10 File Explorer. But the delay has raised some serious questions about its testing process.

The problem first arose with Windows 10 version 1909, otherwise known as the November 2019 update. That version added a new feature to the File Explorer's search tool, which meant you can now preview documents stored remotely on OneDrive (cloud storage), rather than just locally on the computer itself. (Source:

Somehow adding that feature managed to add three major glitches:

  • Many users found using the search tool would freeze File Explorer for a long period. This most likely has to do with a timeout in contacting the OneDrive service, though the specifics have not been made public.
  • Right-clicking a file or folder within File Explorer has stopped working for some users. This meant that programs could not be launched with administrative rights, and zip files could not be created from File Explorer (for example).
  • Some users found that the right click menu within the search bar no longer works. Oftentimes the right click menu is used to select "Paste" in order to paste text from the clipboard, for example.

Task Manager Offers Workaround

It doesn't appear that Microsoft has comprehensively fixed the first problem yet. One reported workaround is to open Task Manager, go to the "Processes" tab on the far left, then left click to select the "Windows Explorer" process (not File Explorer) and then click "Restart".

The other two problems have been fixed in versions of Windows 10 currently only available to people in Microsoft's test program. It appears that these fixes will be included in the big twice-yearly update of Windows 10, likely due April, 2020.

Problem Known When November 2019 Update Shipped

What's really raising eyebrows is how long it took for Microsoft to release the fix for the right-click issue in the search box. It appears this fix went out to beta testers several weeks before the November 2019 update was released to the general public.

At best, this suggests a serious lack of communication within the company. At worst, Microsoft purposely released the public update knowing that it would cause a problem for some users, rather than pull the new feature until the fix was tested and in place for the November 2019 update.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you experienced any of these problems? Should Microsoft have pulled the feature rather than send it out? Does Microsoft's testing program work properly in an age of frequent updates, where Windows is never "finished" and continually updated twice a year?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I noted that on one of my machines running Windows 10 1909 that the right-click in the File Explorer search box does not produce a menu. This is despite the fact that I've uninstalled OneDrive from the system. A quick fix that allows you to paste is to use a keyboard shortcut, namely CTRL-V or Shift + Insert rather than relying on the dialogue menu. To cut text in the File Explorer search box, use CTRL-X or CTRL + Insert.

llampron_13072's picture

the culprit is kb4517245 - if you uninstall this update - you can again search your folders like before. I did this and it works (now let's hope the update doesn't try to re-install) At least this saves a lot of trouble until Microsoft comes out with a real fix

llampron_13072's picture

I have been looking for an answer to this very problem for months. Now I know it isn't fixable till they fix it. Thank you! I cannot put my cursor in the search box of any folder after using that feature once or twice - it just stops. The cursor or copy paste into that area doesn't work. I have a job where I need to find reports in folders and this is a real pain now. It used to work fine. So all I can do right now is use the main search on the task bar. I have other computers with Win 10 and not all of them have this problem. Weird.

randyh2's picture

Better yet, roll back to 1903. I have none of these problems (that I know of!)
I have Win 10 Pro, so I don't update right away to avoid initial bugs like this.
So before you update.... backup, backup, backup!