If you’re an experienced Windows user, you’re aware that File Explorer is linked to several operating system processes and functions. Even though explorer.exe should only be associated with file management, it is also associated with other aspects of the Windows experience, such as the Taskbar, which is not exactly a performance boon.
Microsoft has taken steps to decouple File Explorer from features such as the taskbar and notification center (explorer.exe). Integration between the desktop and explorer.exe is one of the operating system’s bottlenecks, as resource-intensive file operations can render unrelated features inactive, such as the taskbar.
Worse, if the explorer.exe process crashes, the desktop and several other features also crash. This can be resolved by restarting the process, but it’s possible that Windows 11 desktop crashes can be reduced significantly if features are decoupled from explorer.exe.
Microsoft has begun separating “Immersive Shell” and File Explorer.
For those unfamiliar with Windows development, Windows 8 introduced Immersive Shell, which was initially responsible for features such as the Charms Bar. Immersive Shell is associated with the ShellAppRuntime.exe process, which is associated with explorer.exe.
Microsoft has experimented in recent preview builds with removing the Immersive shell from File Explorer.
Developers of “Start Is All Back” were the first to notice: “Interesting feature in dev 25252: ImmersiveShellInShellAppRuntime” (id:39319758). Explorer’s immersive shell is removed. Does not yet launch ShellAppRuntime.exe, but this Metro jumble may be a bit more reliable.”
Previously, Windows was unable to launch ShellAppRuntime.exe, but this issue appears to have been resolved in recent releases.
In newer builds, it is now possible to independently launch ShellAppRuntime.exe. ShellAppRuntime.exe, which was formerly linked to explorer.exe, new launches and functions independently without Explorer.exe. Search UI will not launch until ShellAppRuntime has also been initiated.
The experience is flawed, and other aspects of the operating system are still tightly integrated with the file management procedure.
Shortly, Windows 11 features will reside in a separate software process, allowing Windows to run the features without relying on File Explorer. It should also reduce system crashes and accelerate the operating system. For instance, File Explorer failures will not bring down the entire desktop.
It is essential to realize that the “decoupling of features from explorer.exe” is in its infancy and that users will not notice or experience any changes shortly. In addition to enhancing performance, this action paves the way for a significantly accelerated and simplified development process.