Windows File Explorer is one of the best File Managers compared to all the other operating systems. It comes with a left pane, which makes it easy to navigate through the Quick Access area, network, and even your partitions. You can access the partitions or any other location shortcut you have set from this left sidebar, no matter where you are in the File Explorer. 

It sucks when the left pane goes on, the File Explorer goes missing and is nowhere to be found. This is certainly a glitch many people encounter when accessing File Explorer. If the File Explorer left pane is missing in Windows, and you are not able to bring it back, then this article will help you with it. Let’s go through all the ways to fix this issue. 

Fix File Explorer Left Pane Missing in Windows

1. Enable Navigation Pane

If the navigation pane has been disabled, you won’t see it when you open File Explorer. You will have to check whether it is enabled, and if not, enable it. You can do this by following the steps given below-

  1. Open the File Explorer by clicking the File Explorer icon on the taskbar. Open the File Explorer
  2. Click on the View button at the top, and then hover over Show
  3. See if the Navigation Pane is checked. If not, the navigation page is disabled; click on it to enable the Navigation Pane. See if the Navigation Pane is checked

2. Restart Windows Explorer

The issue is generally encountered as a glitch and can be fixed by restarting Windows Explorer.

When you do so, none of your files and apps that you are working on will be closed; it will only restart the elements like File Explorer, taskbar, etc. Here’s how you can do so-

  1. Open the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  2. Look for Windows Explorer here. Click on this process and click the Restart Task button. restart windows explorer windows 11

3. Restart Windows

If restarting the Windows Explorer didn’t work, a complete system restart should do the job. Save all the files you are working on and close all the applications.

Once done, restart your PC. After the restart, see if the File Explorer left pane is still missing or if the issue is fixed. If you still don’t see the left pane, then move to the next step in this article. restart computer windows 11

4. Repair Corrupted System Files

The issue can occur if the system files are corrupted. Try running the SFC and DISM scan to scan for and fix the corrupted system files. First, start by running the SFC scan; if that doesn’t solve the problem, you can move ahead to the DISM scan. Below are the steps to do so-

  1. Press the Windows + R key combo and type cmd in the Run Dialog Box. Now press Ctrl + Shift + Esc key combo to run Command Prompt as administrator. 
  2. Type and execute the following command to run the SFC scan-
    • sfc /scannow
  3. Restart your PC and see if the issue is fixed or not.
  4. If you still face the issue, then execute the following commands one by one in the Command Prompt-
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth 
  5. After executing the above commands, restart your PC. 

5. Clear File Explorer History

Another common reason behind the missing left pane on File Explorer is the corrupted File Explorer history. You can clear the File Explorer history to fix this issue. These are the steps to do so-

  1. Press the Windows key, search for File Explorer Options, and open it. Files Explorer options
  2. Under the General tab, click the Clear button to clear the history. General tab, click the Clear button
  3. Once done, close the File Explorer Options window. 

6. Re-Register shdocvw.dll

Try re-registering the shdocvw.dll file to fix this error. You can do this through the steps we have mentioned below-

  1. Open the Start Menu, and from here, run Command Prompt as administrator. 
  2. Execute the command listed below-
    • Regsvr32 /i shdocvw
  3. After executing the above command, close the Command Prompt and restart your PC. 

7. Re-Register System Apps

Another troubleshooting step to help you fix the File Explorer left pane missing in Windows is re-registering the system app. To do so, follow the steps given below-

  1. Press the Windows + X keys together and then click on Terminal (Admin)
  2. When the UAC prompt appears, click on Yes to continue. 
  3. Type the following command in the Terminal and press Enter to run it-
    • Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers |Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like "SystemApps"} | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
  4. Restart your PC after executing the above command. 

8. Perform System Restore

The issue can be encountered after installing a Windows update, installing some drivers, installing an application, or doing some changes that have a direct impact on Windows.

You can perform a system restore to undo all the changes you did to the system to fix the issue. Follow the steps given below to perform a system restore-

  1. Click the Start icon on the taskbar, search for Create a restore point, and press Enter. Create a restore point
  2. Under the System Protection tab, click on the System Restore button. System Restore button
  3. In the System Restore window, click on the Next button. 
  4. Select the restore point from the list, and click on Next
  5. Next, click on the Finish button to perform a system restore. 

9. Reset PC

If you have tried all the steps mentioned above, but nothing seems to help fix the issue, then you should continue resetting your PC. The steps to reset the PC are as follows-

  1. Press the Windows + I key combo, and under the System tab, click on the Recovery option. system recovery
  2. Under the Recovery Options, click on the Reset PC button. reset pc
  3. You will now be asked to select two options, i.e., Keep My Files and Remove Everything
  4. After this, select whether you want to Cloud Download or Local Reinstall Windows. 
  5. Now, follow the on-screen instructions to reset your PC. 

Bottom Line

If you are troubled by the File Explorer left pane missing in Windows 11, then the troubleshooting steps mentioned should fix this issue. Resetting your PC, as mentioned above, should be the last resort you should follow if all the other steps discussed in the article are of no use in troubleshooting this problem.