The Windows 11 release started yesterday, and while many people are eager to update as soon as possible, there are plenty of others who want to wait a little longer. The list of known issues recognized by Microsoft may be short, but users who have upgraded to Windows 11 are experiencing other issues.
One of those problems causes File Explorer to use a lot of RAM. The problem is attributed to a memory leak and was initially reported a couple of months ago, but now more people have access to Windows 11, more reports are coming in confirming the problem.
In a Reddit post titled “Windows Explorer Memory Leak (IMPORTANT) PLEASE VOTE FOR SALE REVIEWS ON THE COMMENT HUB”, a user named gyrohan269 explains the problem. The post has garnered over a thousand upvotes, with a large proportion of them coming in the hours after Windows 11 was released to the masses.
The problem causes memory usage to increase every time File Explorer is closed and reopened, eventually leading to a system performance hit or even crashes.
gyrohan269 He says:
Every time you open Windows Explorer and close it, the RAM it uses increases by a few MB without decreasing when you close it. For example: when I turn on my PC, Windows explorer uses 60MB, and then when I open a random folder, it reaches 80, and when I close the same window, it only drops to 70MB, not 60. and after opening and close a folder several times, it reaches 1 GB !! Even after closing everything! The only way to get it back to normal is by restarting Windows Explorer from the task manager or by restarting the computer. It gets close to being unusable due to excessive RAM usage if you don’t know this error exists. This even drives fans crazy too. I have attached 3 photos as an example. Image 1 is when you open File Explorer for the first time after a boot, Image 2 is after you open it 2 or 3 times and close it, Image 3 is when you open and close it multiple times. As you can see, you are stuck at 700MB even with all windows closed.
Here is the link to the comments I provided to Feedbackhub. Vote the comments to solve this problem as soon as possible.
Microsoft has yet to take care of the apparent bug, so there is no official fix or workaround. However, it is useful to reboot the system or use Task Manager to restart File Explorer.