System Call Failed

How To Fix Explorer.exe "System call failed" Error?

Explorer.exe is an integral part of Windows operating systems, the user shell for Windows which is used by the desktop, File Explorer, Start Menu, taskbar etc. The explorer.exe was initially used to navigate or browse files, however, in newer versions of Windows it has evolved and now it is a task-based file management system. Simply said, explorer.exe is a system process that is requires for your Windows computer to work properly. Without it you would need to open programs and perform various other tasks using Command Prompt (or Task Manager).

If you are reading this, then most most probably you have encountered the explorer.exe "System call failed" error. This error occurs in both newer and older versions of Windows and usually the symptoms are these: users are unable to use their desktop icons, they cannot access the contextual menu when right-clicked the desktop, the Start menu is not working and so on. In other words, this error prevents you from performing some of the most commonly used tasks and it makes it very difficult for you to use your Windows operating system. This "System call failed" error may occur due to errors on your hard drive, malware or viruses, corrupted or faulty system files or hardware drivers, or there may be some third-party software that is interfering with your Windows operating system and you may need to uninstall it.

In this guide we are going to show you how to how to check your disk (or disks) for errors, how to run a System File checker, how to perform a Clean Boot, how to restart the Windows Explorer process and how to check for updates for your graphics card. Read the guide below, follow our described steps and hopefully one of the methods will fix the explorer.exe "System call failed" error.

system call failed

Table of Contents:

Restart Windows Explorer Process

The first thing we recommend you to try out is to simply restart File Explorer. Restarting File Explorer (which is called Windows Explorer in Task Manager) might fix the explorer.exe "System call failed" error. To restart File Explorer (Windows Explorer), open Task Manager by pressing the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on the keyboard or right-click Start menu (if it is working and select Task Manager from the contextual menu. Once Task Manager is open, find "Windows Explorer" under the "Processes" tab and select it. Then locate the "Restart" button in the bottom-right corner and click it. See if you are still getting the "System call failed" error while trying to access Start menu, background contextual menu and so on.

restart windows explorer process

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Perform A Clean Boot

If the first method could not solve the problem, then you might want to perform a Clean Boot. When you start Windows using a normal startup operation, several applications and services start automatically, and then run in the background. These programs include basic system processes, antivirus software, system utility applications, and other software that has been previously installed. These applications and services can cause software conflicts. A clean boot is performed to start Windows using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This helps eliminate software conflicts that occur when you install a program or an update. It is possible that some installed software is causing the explorer.exe "System call failed" error and performing a clean boot will help you to find out if that is the case. To perform a clean boot, type "system configuration" in Search and click on the "System Configuration" result.

perform a clean boot step 1

If you are unable to use Search, then press Windows key + R to open Run dialog box and type the "msconfig" command. Press Enter and follow the steps described below.

perform a clean boot step 2

In the System Configuration window, click on the "Services" tab and then mark the "Hide all Microsoft services" checkbox. Then, click on "Disable all".

perform a clean boot step 3

Click the "Startup" tab and click "Open Task Manager".

perform a clean boot step 4

Under the Task Manager's Startup tab, select the first application and click "Disable" to disable it. Disable all applications one by one, repeating this step. Once all programs are disabled, close Task Manager and click "OK" in the System Configuration's Startup tab. Restart your computer and see if the "System call failed" error occurs when you are trying to access Start menu and other Windows features. If the error got fixed, then you will know that one of the programs that is launched at she system startup is causing the problem. Find out which one by enabling them one by one and then uninstall it.

perform a clean boot step 5

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Check Your Disk For Errors

There is a built-in tool in Windows tool to check the integrity of disks. It examines disks and corrects many types of common errors. You can run this tool from the command line or through a graphical interface, in our guide we are going to show you to run it through Command Prompt. To run it from the command line, open Command Prompt, type "command prompt" and right-click on the "Command Prompt" result, select "Run as administrator" from the drop-down menu.

check your disk for errors step 1

In Command Prompt window type the "chkdsk C: /f" command and press Enter on your keyboard. Replace "C" with the letter of your hard drive if it is not the C: drive you want to scan (or your Windows operating system is on another drive) on your computer. The "chkdsk C: /f" command detects and repairs logical issues affecting your drive. To repair physical issues, run the "chkdsk C: /r" command as well. You can run both commands at once by typing "chkdsk C: /f /r" Windows will need to restart your computer to finish the scan.

check your disk for errors step 2

If you will see a message saying that Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process and you get asked if you would like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restart, simply press "Y" key on your keyboard and press Enter. You disk will be checked for errors after the restart.

If you are unable to use Search, then open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys or by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys, click "File" and select "Run new task".

check your disk for errors step 1-2

In Create new task window type "cmd" and tick the "Create this task with administrative privileges" checkbox. Then execute the previously mentioned command (or commands).

check your disk for errors step 2-2

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Scan Your System For Malware

Is it possible that malware or viruses are the reason behind this "System call failed" error. We recommend you to scan your system using Windows Defender (built-in antivirus program) which protects your computer against viruses, spyware, other malicious software. Or you can run any other third-party antivirus if you have one installed. To run full system scan using Windows Defender type "virus" in Search and click on the "Virus & threat protection" result.

scan your system for malware step 1

If you are unable to use Search, press Windows key + R to open Run dialog box and type the "C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MSASCui.exe" command (without quotation marks). Press Enter and Windows Defender Security Center will be open. Click "Virus & threat" protection and follow the steps described below.

scan your system for malware step 2

In the Virus & threat protection window find and click "Run a new advanced scan" option.

scan your system for malware step 3

You will see a list of advanced scans. We recommend you to choose the "Full scan" which will check all files and running programs ion your hard disk but it will take some time, usually it takes more than one hour to complete. To start Full scan click "Scan now" when the "Full scan" option is selected.

scan your system for malware step 4

If you want you can choose virus and malware scanner from our Top anti-malware list. The list consists of well known top spyware removers and will help you choose the right software for your computer's protection. You can find the list by clicking this link

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Run System File Checker

If there are some corrupted or missing system files that are causing the "System call failed" error, then you might be able to fix this error by running the System File Checker. System File Checker is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files. If there were any driver files corrupted then this tool could possibly fix this problem. This guide describes how to run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to scan your system files and to repair missing or corrupted system files. The "sfc scannow" option is one of the several specific switches available in the sfc command, the Command Prompt command used to run System File Checker. You must run an elevated Command Prompt in order to be able to perform SFC scan. Open Command Prompt using administrative privileges again. Type "command prompt" in Search and right-click the Command Prompt result, select "Run as administrator". If you are unable to use Search, then use Task Manager to the Command Prompt. Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys or by pressing the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys, click "File" and select "Run new task". Then enter the "cmd" command and tick the "Create this task with administrative privileges" checkbox.

run system file checker step  1

Now type the "sfc /scannow" command. Press Enter on your keyboard to execute this command. System File Checker will start and it should take some time to complete the scan. It should take about 15 minutes. See if the "Sytem call failed" error is now fixed.

run system file checker step  2

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Update Graphics Driver

Some users reported that updating graphic card drivers fixed the "System call failed" error for them. Open Device Manager by right-clicking the Start button and selecting "Device Manager" result from the contextual menu or type "device manager" in Search and click the "Device Manager" result. If you are not able to use Search, then press Windows key + R and type the "devmgmt.msc" command and press Enter.

update graphics driver step 1

In Device Manager you will see a list of devices connected to your computer. Expand the Display adapters category and right-click the graphic device, select "Update driver" from the contextual menu.

update graphics driver step 2

You will be asked if you want to search for updated driver software automatically or to browse your computer for driver software. If you select the first option, then Windows will search your computer and the Internet for the latest driver software for your device. If you select the second option, then you will have to locate and install the drivers manually. Using this option requires having downloaded driver on your computer or USB flash drive and it is a longer process, because you will have to download all the latest drivers for all the devices manually by visiting the device manufacturer's official website. Select the option you prefer and follow the instructions. See if updating graphic card drivers solves the problem. If not, then try to update other drivers as well.

update graphics driver step 3

If you want, you can use third-party software to update your drivers automatically. In this case we would recommend you to try our the Snappy Driver Installer. it is a powerful free driver updater tool for Windows that can store its entire collection of drivers offline. Having offline drivers gives Snappy Driver Installer the ability to have access to fast driver updates, even if there is no active internet connection. Snappy Driver works with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Drivers are downloaded through Snappy Driver Installer in what are called driverpacks, which are just collections (packs) of drivers for various hardware like sound devices, video cards, network adapters etc. It can also show duplicate drivers and invalid drivers and it separates the updates that require you to restart your computer so it would be easier to distinguish them from the rest. You can download Snappy Driver Installer here

If none of the methods solved the problem and the error still persist, and if it occurs when you are trying to open a particular app or program, then force quit it using Task Manager and if this makes the error to go away, then uninstall that particular problem. And, if you know any other method that fixed the explorer.exe "System call failed" error for you and it is not mentioned in our guide - do not hesitate to share it with us and with the others by leaving a comment in our comment section below.

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