How to fix “File Explorer does not highlight selected files and folders” issue.

File Explorer is a reliable tool for viewing, organizing and managing all the files stored on your Windows computer’s hard drive. Microsoft recently introduced the icons feature to File Explorer, which is a must-have addition for most of us. However, some users share that File Explorer does not highlight selected files and folders.

After selecting files, the number of files in the status bar increases, but the files are not highlighted as they should be. If you have the same problem, don’t worry! We will list several solutions to restore File Explorer to normal operation.

1. Restart File Explorer

File Explorer can have problems and stop behaving properly. However, you can restart the system without completely restarting it using the Task Manager. Here it is:

  1. click on Ctrl + Alt + Del to launch the task manager.
  2. Go to screen process and find the tab Windows explorer in the list.
  3. Right-click on the Windows Explorer process and select the option To start again in the context menu.
  4. This will close all active instances of File Explorer and refresh the taskbar icons.
  5. Now launch File Explorer and try to select multiple files. If they are still not highlighted, go to the next method.

2. Perform a complete shutdown of the system

Windows doesn’t shut down completely every time I turn it off. This is due to the fast boot feature, which preserves the system state of system/kernel-level processes using hibernation. So, you need to perform a full shutdown to restart all services, including Windows Explorer.

Repeat the following steps to perform a complete shutdown:

  1. click on Win + R to open the Run command box.
  2. Kind CMD and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run the utility with administrator privileges.
  3. enter the code ” shutdown /s /f /t 0“and press Enter. This will take longer than usual, as it is a complete shutdown of the system.
    Perform a complete shutdown of the system
  4. Restart the system and launch File Explorer. Select a number of files and check if the highlighting problem still occurs.

3. Disable fast startup

If you encounter the problem again after a normal shutdown, disable fast startup in the power plan settings. It will not save the system state of system/kernel-level processes and perform a complete shutdown every time.

To disable fast startup in Windows, repeat the following steps:

  1. click on Win + R to open To realize control box. Kind powercfg.cpl in the text input box and press Enter.
  2. The Control Panel Power Options window opens. click the button Choose what the power buttons do in the upper left corner.
  3. Then click on the option Change settings that are not currently available choice.
  4. Scroll down and remove the mark the Quick Start choice. click the button Save changes and exit the power options window.
    Turn off fast startup
  5. Shut down and restart the system. Check if File Explorer correctly highlights files and folders after selection.

4. Change the background color

Sometimes you cannot see the files and folders you selected because the selection color is the same as the background color. So, follow the steps below to change the background color and hopefully you will be able to see your options:

  1. click on Win + R run to launch the command box. Kind control office in the text box and press Enter.
  2. choose Wallpapers and click on the option Customize your wallpaper choice.
  3. Expand the list and select an option solid color choice. Now click on any solid color in the color picker.
    Use a plain colored background
  4. Apply system fixed color background and quit settings app.
  5. Start File Explorer and try to select multiple files. Check if the problem persists.

5. Perform a Clean Boot

A background program or service can interfere with Windows File Explorer and cause GUI problems like these. You should perform a clean boot and isolate the service or program in question.

How to Clean Boot Your Windows PC:

  1. click on Win + S and type MSConfig. Click on the first search result to launch the System Configuration Utility.
  2. Go here services and tap the icon Hide all Microsoft services choice. This will prevent you from accidentally disabling key system services.
  3. Then press the button Close all and go Getting started badge.
    Perform a Clean Boot-2
  4. click the button Open the task manager button. Disable it close all startup programs and Task Manager.
  5. Now tap on the icon ok and close the System Setup utility. To start again your system.
  6. If File Explorer can now highlight the files, re-open MSConfig and re-enable some of the services in the list.
  7. Repeat the process until you isolate and disable the dangerous service.

6. Try the High Contrast mode

High Contrast mode makes it easier to distinguish borders, highlighted sections, buttons and links. Press the button Left Alt + Left Shift + Print Screen To enable high contrast theme in Windows. A pop-up window appears to confirm your selection. Press Enter to activate the high contrast theme on your system. Select a few files on your system and check that they are highlighted correctly.

Try a high-contrast theme

7. Update the GPU driver

Malicious and outdated GPU drivers can cause all kinds of graphics related problems. You need to update the drivers through the device manager or download them from the manufacturer’s website.

Repeat the following steps to update the GPU drivers using Device Manager:

  1. click on Win+X to launch the user menu. click the button Device manager choice.
  2. Expand the selection Display adapters and right-click the discrete GPU.
  3. Choose an option Update the driver in the context menu.
    GPU-1 Driver Update
  4. click the button Automatic driver search and wait for the utility to download and install the latest GPU drivers for your system.
  5. Now close Device Manager and reboot your system.
  6. Launch the file manager and check if the problem still occurs.

8. Roll back the latest Windows update

If you are experiencing file highlighting issue after the latest Windows update, you should remove the update from your system. Here it is:

  1. click on Boiler + I To launch the Settings app.
  2. go to Windows Update > Update History > Remove updates.
  3. Scroll down the list and tap the icon Delete next to the latest installed update.
  4. Confirm your action and press the button Delete button.
    Cancel Windows Update 1
  5. Wait for Windows to uninstall the update and restart.
  6. Try using File Explorer and see if the file highlighting problem still exists.

9. Run SFC and DISM scan

If Windows system files are damaged, performing an SFC scan followed by a DISM scan may resolve the File Explorer issue. SFC will repair damaged files and DISM will repair Windows installation. Here it is:

  1. Run CMD with administrator privileges on your system.
  2. Kind SFC/scan and press Enter. It will take some time to complete the scan.
  3. After successfully executing the SFC command, type DISM /Online /Image-Cleanup /HealthRestore and press Enter.
  4. Wait patiently for DISM to run successfully. Exit the command prompt.
  5. To start again your system.

10. Reset Windows

The last resort is to reinstall Windows. This will remove all existing system files and reinstall the Windows operating system. However, before doing this, make sure to back up your Windows 10 PC.

Return File Explorer to Normal

File Explorer is an essential system tool for managing files and folders. First, restart Windows Explorer from the Task Manager and perform a full system shutdown. Then perform a clean boot and remove the latest Windows updates. Then turn on the high contrast mode or use a solid color background.

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