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How To Fix "Element not Found" Error?

How To Easily Fix "Element not found" Error On Windows 10

explorer.exe is a regular file found on Windows operating systems and located in the C:\Windows folder. This is an important file present in most Windows versions, starting with Windows 95. Explorer.exe refers to the user shell of your computer. This process controls the Task Bar and Desktop of your computer, as well as other graphical interfaces. Another term for explorer.exe is the Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface) shell.

explorer.exe is an executable file largely responsible for supporting the GUI, allowing users to conveniently access file systems. Although controlling the computer without explorer.exe is possible, any malfunctions in this process might cause serious issues. If explorer.exe crashes, the process can be terminated or restarted through Windows Task Manager. Nevertheless, such an error can signify other problems and even require removal of explorer.exe

If you receive the "Element not found" error on Windows 10, it is an explorer.exe error. It usually results in users being unable to open apps, images, or even Windows Settings. It is often an indication that there are corrupted files on the Windows system, driver problems, etc. Fortunately, it is possible to fix this error and some methods are outlined in this guide.

how to fix element not found error on windows 10

Table of Contents:

Update Your Drivers

A device driver is software that informs the operating system and other software how to interact with particular hardware. It is rather like a translator between software and hardware, since they often are created by different manufacturers, companies, or people. The driver facilitates smooth communication between hardware and software. In most cases, computers are unable to send and receive data correctly without drivers. If the appropriate driver is not installed, the device might not function properly, if at all.

A common reason for the "Element not found" error is faulty/corrupted or unsupported drivers on Windows. Therefore, check and update Windows drivers regularly. It is sometimes difficult to determine which diver is causing this error, but checking the video driver is a good place to start. To update your video driver (and other drivers), go to Device Manager by typing "device manager" in Search and click the "Device Manager" result to open it.

update your drivers step 1

Expand the video hardware device section, select the driver, and right-click on it. Then choose "Update driver". You can also choose "Uninstall device". Ensure that you mark the "Delete the driver software for this device" checkbox before uninstalling the device - Windows will then reinstall the drivers the next time Windows starts.

update your drivers step 2

If you chose "Update driver", you will be asked how you want to search for drivers: search automatically for updated driver software or browse the computer for driver software. Select your preferred option and follow the instructions.

update your drivers step 3

Another way to update or install new drivers for video hardware (and other drivers) is to use third-party software such as Snappy Driver Installer. You will need a computer with a working internet connection in order to download it. Snappy Driver Installer (SDI) 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 from here.

update your drivers using snappy driver installer

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Uninstall Recent Windows Updates

The latest (recently-installed) updates can cause this "Element not found" error. These updates are necessary for the system to run properly, but they might also cause problems. If this is the case, uninstall the latest Windows 10 updates from the Windows operating system. To uninstall updates, go to Settings and click "Update & Security".

uninstall recent windows updates step 1

In the Update & Security menu, ensure that you are in the "Windows Update" section and click "View installed update history".

uninstall recent windows updates step 2

You will see a list of installed updates. Select the update you wish to uninstall and click "Uninstall".

uninstall recent windows updates step 3

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Restart The Explorer.exe Process

To restart the process you need to use Task Manager, which is a system monitor program used to provide information about the processes, programs running, and general status of a computer. Some implementations can also be used to terminate processes and programs, as well as change processes' priorities. To open Task Manager, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete or Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard. You can access Task Manager by right-clicking on Start and selecting "Task Manager". Once Task Manager is open, click the "Details" tab and find "explorer.exe" in the list. Right-click on it and select "End task" from the drop-down menu.

restart the explorer.exe process step 1

The screen should now be completely black. Do not worry - at  this point, the explorer.exe process has ended and the black screen is normal. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard and the Task Manager will appear. To start Explorer again, click "File" and select "Run new task" from the drop-down menu.

restart the explorer.exe process step 2

Type "explorer" (or "explorer.exe") and press Enter on your keyboard or click "OK", and Explorer will start again.

restart the explorer.exe process step 3

See if this helps you to eliminate the "Element not found" error when performing various actions such as opening apps, etc.

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Run A SFC Scan

System File Checker is a Windows utility that allows users to scan for corruptions in system files and restore them. This guide describes how to run the System File Checker tool (SFC.exe) to scan system files and repair any missing or corrupted ones. If a Windows Resource Protection (WRP) file is missing or corrupted, Windows may not behave as expected. For example, some Windows functions might fail or Windows will crash. The "sfc scannow" option is one of several specific switches available for the sfc command, the Command Prompt command used to run System File Checker. To run Command Prompt, type "command prompt" in Search, right-click on "Command Prompt", and select "Run as administrator" from the drop-down menu to run it with administrator privileges. You must run an elevated Command Prompt to perform a SFC scan.

run sfc scan step 1

In the Command Prompt window, type "sfc /scannow" and press Enter on your keyboard to execute this command. System File Checker will start and should take some time to complete the scan (about 15 minutes). Wait for the scanning process to complete and restart the computer to see if you still receive the "Element not found" error.

run sfc scan step 2

If the SFC scan did not fix the "Element not found" error, or for some reason you could not run it, try to run a DISM scan and then try the SFC scan again.

DISM stands for Deployment Image Servicing and Management and can be used to repair and prepare Windows images, including the Windows Recovery Environment, Windows Setup, and Windows PE. To run a DISM scan, open Command Prompt as administrator and type this command: "DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth". Press Enter on your keyboard to execute it.

run sfc scan step 3

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Reset The Application

If you receive the "Element not found" error when opening a Windows app or using an app to open files, try to reset the app. In fact, you can reset all installed Windows apps if required. To do this, go to Settings and select "Apps".

reset the application step 1

You will be automatically directed to the "Apps & features" section on the left pane. Scroll down to find the problematic app, select it and click "Advanced options".

reset the application step 2

In the advanced options window, find and click the "Reset" button. See if this helps to solve the problem with the "Element not found" error while using a specific app.

reset the application step 3

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Use Other Viewer For Images

If the "Element not found" error appeared when you were trying to open a picture, image or photo, we suggest you to try to use a different image viewer. Simply go to Settings and select "Apps".

use other viewer for images step 1

Click "Default apps" on the left pane and then find and click "Photos" under "Photo viewer". You will see a list of applications - select the app that you want to use as a default Photo viewer and click it.

use other viewer for images step 2

You can download other Photo viewers from the Internet and assign that program as the default to view photos, images etc.

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Reset Your PC

We suggest you to use this method as a last resort only. It is perhaps not as drastic as it may sound, since this process maintains personal files whilst deleting installed programs/applications. "Reset This PC" is a repair tool for serious operating system problems and is available from the Advanced Startup Options menu in Windows 10. The Reset This PC tool can retain your personal files if you need them, removes any software you have installed, and then completely reinstalls Windows. To reset your PC, go to Settings and select "Update & Security". Remember to backup your files, just in case.

reset your pc step 1

Click "Recovery" on the left pane. Click "Get started" under "Reset this PC" and then follow the instructions to reset your PC.

reset your pc step 2

We hope that at least one of the solutions above helps you to fix the "Element not found" error and you are able to perform actions on Windows 10 (such as opening photos and images) without any problems.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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