I keep trying variety of registry tricks everyday, and install and uninstall numerous applications that demand a restart whenever I install them. To get away with boring restart process I normally kill Explorer.exe from the task manager and wait for it to restart automagically. But the problem is that the Task Manager method is like forcibly killing the process instead of terminating it cleanly.
Luckily there is a hidden option in both Windows XP and Windows Vista Start Menu that will allow you to terminate and restart Explorer.exe cleanly. As you can see in the screenshot above there’s a hidden option in the start menu to cleanly terminate Explorer.exe. Follow these steps to get that option visible and cleanly terminated Explorer.exe.
Click the Start button. Press and hold the CTRL and SHIFT keys, and right-click on an empty area in the Start menu. You’ll see a Popup menu containing the two options namely Exit Explorer and Properties. Alternatively you could get the above Popup menu by holding the CTRL and SHIFT keys and then right-clicking on the Start menu power button itself.
After selecting the Exit Explorer command, the shell (Start menu, Taskbar and the Desktop) will exit and the other applications will continue to run normally. You need to manually start a new Explorer.exe process by launching Task Manager. Use the CTRL+SHIFT+ESC key sequence to launch Task Manager. From the File menu of Task Manager, choose New Task (Run’), type Explorer.exe and press ENTER.
And you should now be looking at a clean shiny new Explorer process running at full speed. This way of restarting Explorer is a much safer process and has been recommended by Microsoft itself. Please let us know how this works for you in the comments.
If you are a Windows XP user there is a similar hack described by Microsoft employee Jeff. Have a look at that as well.
Credit : Aaron Margosis