Is Microsoft falsely identifying ExplorerPatcher as a virus? Online folks say so


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Key notes

  • ExplorerPatcher is an UI customizer that lets you tweak some of the key looks of your Windows 10 & 11 desktops.
  • Now, folks online are claiming that Windows 11 flags the ExplorerPatcher installer as a virus.
  • Last year, Microsoft urged users to avoid third-party UI customizers like this one.

It’s not nice when a program that you’ve been using is suddenly being reported as a virus. Now, complaints folks in Windows communities are saying that Microsoft has been (falsely) identifying ExplorerPatcher, an open-source program to customize your Windows 11 experience, as a virus. 

A report on ExplorerPatcher’s GitHub claims Windows 11 flags the ExplorerPatcher installer (ep_setup.exe) as a virus, displaying an error message about “virus or potentially unwanted software.” Another user mentioned their existing installation being labeled a “high threat” and quarantined by Defender, while another faced immediate removal upon first-time installation.

Now, folks are already submitting the issue as a false positive, but Microsoft has yet to roll a fix. 

ExplorerPatcher is a free, open-source application for Windows 11 and 10 that allows users to customize various aspects of their experience. You can customize the Start Menu, Taskbar, System Tray, File Explorer, and more.

Last year, Microsoft urged users to avoid third-party UI customizers like ExplorerPatcher. It’s not the only one that gets the stick: other apps, like StartAllBack, were also mentioned.

“These types of apps often use unsupported methods to achieve their customization and as a result can have unintended results on your Windows device,” Microsoft said at that time.

But nevertheless, users are already flocked to these third-party UI customizers, because they’re easy to use with a single portable executable file. You can also change settings related to alt-tab behavior, weather display, and other miscellaneous options.