Windows 11 bug: Windows Explorer opens spontaneously in the foreground

Windows[German]Microsoft is working on Windows 11 23H2, in which the Explorer provides some new features. But the old Explorer in Windows 11 still seems to be buggy. A German blog reader reported a bug in Windows Explorer back on September 11, 2023. The problem is that the Explorer window focus suddenly steal the focus the while working in Windows 11.


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German blog reader Tobias has send me an email and described a Windows 11 issue problem that has annoyed him again and again, because Windows Explorer windows seem to come to the foreground "out of nowhere". The focus changes to Windows Explorer while working, without the user having done anything himself. Windows Explorer obviously steals the focus out of the blue.

Tobias first had an external software in his sights. But a search on Google shows that this effect has been making the rounds on Windows 11 since January 2023. For example, I found this, this and this post about it on reddit.com. Also on Microsoft Answers there is this post from January 2023 where the problem is described. There are quite a few confirmations in this thread, but it seems no official statement has been released by Microsoft yet.

A colleague of Tobias then came up with that he can replicate the behavior similarly, if identically: You have to open two new Windows Explorer and then trigger a gpupdate via CMD. The behavior can be replicated by most Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise users according to this forum thread.

Tobias writes that, strangely enough, this can only be recreated with two Explorer windows. According to Tobias, this also works "in the wild" with a single open Explorer. For Tobias, the problem always occurs when his PC updates the GroupPolicys, he can track it well in the event log. I just got the feedback on Twitter that it can be reproduced (EventID 1501).

However, in the MS Answers forum it is also pointed out that there are Windows 11 Home users who suffer from the same bug, but cannot recreate the problem with gpupdate. Tobias suspects another trigger and asks if some of the other reader can contribute more to the solution? I only know this post from Windows Latest from January 2023, where it is described that the Explorer opens randomly.


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2 Responses to Windows 11 bug: Windows Explorer opens spontaneously in the foreground

  1. Nicolas says:

    I'm using Windows 11 Pro, and I can confirm that this bug occurs to me several times a day, driving me crazy!

  2. Matt says:

    This is fixed in the update KB5032288 currently available as a Cumulative Update Preview.

    This update addresses an issue that affects File Explorer windows. When you do not expect them, they appear in the foreground.

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/december-4-2023-kb5032288-os-builds-22621-2792-and-22631-2792-preview-538fbe4a-e9de-4312-85cd-d870444341d0

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