It’s always fun to find those little hidden tricks whenever a new operating system comes out. In this case, the same trick that worked back in the Windows 7 and Vista days also works in Windows 8 and 10, but it’s been improved.
Note: You might be wondering why you would want to close Explorer instead of just rebooting. The answer is that sometimes you either install new software that needs to integrate with Explorer, or change settings, or it just starts acting buggy. In that case you can quickly restart it without rebooting.
Originally you could close explorer by holding down the SHIFT and CTRL keys and right-clicking on the empty space on the Start Menu, and the Exit Explorer option would show up.
Starting in Windows 8, and now in Windows 10, you can just hold SHIFT and CTRL and right-click anywhere on the Taskbar to get the menu option to show up.
Once you’ve closed Explorer, sometimes it’ll open right back up again. When it doesn’t, use the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keyboard shortcut to pull up Task Manager, and then use File -> Run to run explorer again. (If you are using Windows 8 or 10 and the Task Manager doesn’t have the file option, you’ll need to click to show all the details first.
Starting in Windows 8, you can also just find Windows Explorer in the Task Manager and then click the Restart button.