This is a re-posting of a post originally published on 2004-07-22. The original can be found here. This version has been updated to match what is currently reality.
When you are developing Shell Extensions, sometimes you want to be able to cleanly start a new instance of explorer.exe without picking up all the environment variables of whatever command window you've got running (since environment is inherited). Similarly, you may want to shut down explorer.exe cleanly so that it releases its references on your dll--generally so that you can swap in a new version.
Cleanly Starting Explorer
The trick is to hold down CTRL while you select New Task. This will automagically launch an new instance of Explorer.
CTRL+SHIFT+ESC->File->CTRL+New Task (Run...)
Cleanly Shutting Down Explorer on Windows XP
The way to tell Explorer to shut down is to say you want to shutdown the machine, but then cancel in a special way:
Cleanly Shutting Down Explorer on Windows Vista
During development of Windows Vista, they changed the way shutdown worked. They got rid of the shutdown dialog and replaced it with better options on the Start menu. Thus the way to cleanly shutdown Explorer had to change. Now you do some magic right on the start menu itself.
Start->CTRL+SHIFT+Right Click [on some empty space]->Exit Explorer
When you CTRL+SHIFT+Right Click on the empty space, a context menu appears with a clearly labeled option for shutting down explorer.exe.
- ► 2008 (19)