Are you restricted from accessing applications and viewing files on your PC due to the “Element not found” error? This is an annoying issue that is common among most Windows 10 users.

However, in this guide, you will learn the various methods to solve the “Element not found” error on Windows 10.

What Does the “Element not Found” Error Mean in Windows 10?

The Windows Explorer File, Windows GUI Shell, which is found on all Windows computers in the C:\Program Files subfolder, is the root cause of this error. What’s more, most programs will only function properly if the file is accurately executed.

If the Windows Explorer File malfunctions, there may be errors in the file drivers. Also, existing issues in the architecture of software programs or problematic system updates can terminate initiated processes. You may experience issues in launching an application, viewing an image, and modifying settings in the Windows menu.

The “Element not found” error occurs in almost all Windows OS versions, but Windows 10 is the most vulnerable to this problem.

Methods for Fixing the “Element not found” Error on Windows 10

There are several methods below, which are uniquely suited to what may cause the problem on your computer. In each method, we will outline the steps to take to resolve the issue on your computer at once.

Before that, try the quick fix below:

  • Go to Settings, and click on Updates and Security.
  • Click on Troubleshoot, then select Windows Updates Troubleshooter.After troubleshooting, test to see if the issue is fixed.
  • If that didn’t work, try the following methods.
  1. Undo Recent Updates

On Windows 10, you don’t have to accept every notification for an update on your computer. In some cases, upgrading your PC causes more harm than good. That said, check if you recently updated your computer before the issue surfaced, and then follow the steps below to reverse it.

  • Press the Windows Start button and then click on Settings to access the settings window.

On the popped-up dialog box, navigate and click on Updates and Security.

Click on View update history and Uninstall updates.

Highlight any update from the list of completed updates; right-click and then select Delete or Uninstall to undo.

Note: Be careful when deciding the updates you want to delete, mainly because some are vital for the smooth running of your computer. An example is the system’s device driver updates, which facilitate communication between software and hardware.

The issue should be fixed already after following through the steps. However, if it persists, try the next method.

  1. Install Device Drivers Update

Unstable or damaged device drivers can cause the “Element not found” error. In that case, the hardware and GUI controlled by the explorer.exe file will not display images and other graphic files as desired.

You can update your computer’s device drivers manually or automatically. Follow the steps below to upgrade your drivers manually:

Upgrading Drivers Manually

  1. Type “Device Manager” (no quotes) in the Search box next to the Start button.
  2. Click on Device Manager from search results to launch it.
  3. From the list, select a device driver to update by right-clicking it after it is highlighted.
  4. From the context menu, select Update driver and hit OK.
  5. Restart your computer to effect the changes.

Upgrading Drivers Automatically

It is quicker and more convenient to upgrade your device drivers automatically. Doing it manually may be tedious and complicated unless you are quite conversant with the process. Also, you may make costly mistakes that can affect your PC’s performance.

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With the free version, you can update all your computer drivers. The only limitation is the free version allows you to perform only one update per hour.

  1. Disable Your Anti-Virus Program

An unstable antivirus program can also cause the “Element not found” error. This happens when the app interacts with the file systems to detect viruses and malware.

However, if the program is corrupted or unstable, it ends up causing more damage to the system than preventing it from harm.

Try the steps below to disable an unstable antivirus program on your computer:

  • Locate the antivirus program using the Task Manager
  • Right-click it and select Disable
  • Re-launch the application that invoked the error.

If the error no longer occurs, uninstall the antivirus program or leave it disabled. If the error still occurs, go to the next method.

  1. Re-Launch the Explorer.exe File with the Task Manager

If the explorer.exe process is not started correctly, it can also lead to the “Element not found” error. To address this, use the Task Manager to stop the process and restart it.

Follow the steps below to do that:

  1. Go to Security Options by holding the Ctrl + ALT + Del keys together.
  2. Double-click the Task Manager from the options list.
  3. Enlarge the Task Manager window using the Maximize button at the top-right corner.
  4. From the drop-down menu, right-click Windows Explorer and select End Task.
  5. From the same window, right-click and select Run New Task under File.
  6. Type explorer and hit Enter to Create this task with administrator privilege.
  7. Click OK.

You can also try these steps:

  1. Type “Task Manager” (no quotes) in the search box to run the program.
  2. From the list under the Details tab, locate explorer.exe.
  3. Select and right-click on the explorer.exe file to see the options in the drop-down menu.
  4. Select End Task and hit Enter
  5. Use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut to reopen the Task Manager.
  6. Click File from the Task Manager menu, then select Run New Task.
  7. Type “explorer.exe” (no quotes) and tick the ‘Create this task with administrator privileges’ box.
  8. Click OK.

Test the fix by invoking several activities. Was the problem fixed? If no, you should try the next method.

  1. Scan with the System File Checker (SFC)

If the above methods didn’t work, there might be missing or altered files in the system memory. The System File Checker is a Windows program for scanning and fixing such altered or missing files in the system, such as Windows Resources Protection.

To implement this fix, follow the steps below:

  1. Type “command prompt” (no quotes) in the search bar on your home screen.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt from the results, then select Run as Administrator.
  3. Type “sfc/scannow” (no quotes) on the Command Prompt window and hit Enter.
  4. Wait for the scan to complete, and then restart your PC.

You can also try the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) scan before running an SFC scan.

  1. Type “command prompt” (no quotes) in the search bar.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt, then select Run as Administrator.
  3. Type the following command and hit Enter to execute:


Was this method useful in dealing with the issue? If no, try the sixth method:

  1. Delete Lenovo’s Onekey Program.

Windows 10 users using Lenovo preinstalled applications such as OneKey and CAPSOD may experience the “Element not found” error.

Uninstalling these applications should resolve the problem. To delete, follow these steps:

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+R to launch the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “appwiz.cpl” (no quotes) in the Run dialog box and hit Enter.
  3. Locate each application from the programs list.
  4. Right-click and select Uninstall from the drop-down menu.

Apply the next method if you still see the error on your Windows computer. This should only be a last resort after all other methods have failed.

  1. Reset the Operating System

Resetting your computer deletes every installed program or application in the system, but it preserves crucial files. The “Element not found” error may occur if malicious programs corrupt your OS.

Follow the steps carefully to do this:

  1. Go to Settings and select Updates and Security.
  2. Under Update and Security, click Recovery.
  3. Double-click Get Started on the left side and then follow the instructions to reset your PC.

Note: It helps to do an external backup of personal files before starting this process.


We hope you were able to resolve the “Element not found” error with this guide. If the issue persists, please reach out to us with more details, and our experts will attend to you. Leave a comment if this guide was helpful. You can also visit our blog for more tips on resolving everyday Windows 10 issues.