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How Can I Get Windows Explorer to Default to Open on a Directory of My Choosing?

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How can I get Windows Explorer to default to open on a directory of my choosing? 

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Create a new shortcut to Windows Explorer and on that shortcut select Properties. The “Target:” field will be something like: “%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe”. Simply change that to include the desired directory, like this: “%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe d:\directory”. Now that shortcut will open Windows Explorer directly on “d:\directory”.

Posted: June 4, 2004 in: Windows User Interface
Shortlink: https://askleo.com/1984
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.

34 comments on “How Can I Get Windows Explorer to Default to Open on a Directory of My Choosing?”

  1. As an addition to the default directory, I like to add the /e, in the following:
    “%SystemRoot%explorer.exe /e,d:directory

    This allows all of the directories above the target to be seen.

    Reply
  2. Yes, but now when I open Explorer, I fail to see the Folders in the left pane. I have to click “View”, scroll down to “Explorer Bar” and choose “Folders”.
    How can I fix it to show the folders every time?
    BTW, I’m using Win XP Professionall

    Reply
  3. I have a shortcut (folder) that has alot of items in it. I can’t get the shortcut to open and use any of the items in the shortcut. What can I do?

    Thanks
    Tom

    Reply
  4. I followed Leo’s advice and it worked fine, except for two things:
    1. The window opened up in a ‘non-folders’ mode, so I had to press the folders button to have open as a normal folders-style window.
    2. When I tried to open a second explorer window it just refused!

    Reply
  5. Leo’s extra advice worked fine!! Thanks Leo!
    As an addition to the default directory, I like to add the /e, in the following:
    “%SystemRoot%explorer.exe /e,d:directory

    Reply
  6. At last!
    I’ve been trying to do this for ages!!!
    Why doesn’t Explorer give any command line help (explorer /?)?
    Cheers, Mac

    Reply
  7. Thanks a million for the various tips on opening Windows Explorer to show a specific directory/drive on my Windows XP system.

    “%SystemRoot%explorer.exe /e,d:” worked perfectly for me.
    Thanks

    Reply
  8. advice was great to open in ‘c’ drive– the only online help i’ve found that worked.
    still, i’m looking for how to get my explorer to open, two paned, with the ‘my computer’ highlighted in the left pane, drives hightlighted in the right pane, with only ‘my documents’ and ‘my computer’ expanded in the left pane (and not have “C” expanded in the left.
    CAN YOU HELP ME?! (i did read article, finding the code to open in two panes helpful; still, i can’t get computer to acknowledge “my computer” as a legit path).
    pleaseeeeeeeee….?

    Reply
  9. dear leo-
    still need help if you’re out there… and if you want a latte….
    i would like my ‘windows explorer’ to open as follows:
    -two paned
    -left pane: My Documents, expanded, and
    My Computer, expanded & highlighted
    right pane: drives displayed
    all i’ve been able to manage is to have it open with My Computer expanded and the ‘local disc (C)’ highlighted in the left pane, and therefore all my ‘C’ folders are featured in the right pane.
    puh-leeeeeezeee????? this is driving me crazy… an increasingly shorter trip.
    jc
    p.s. i did read the article and still can’t get it to do what i want.

    Reply
  10. I did what you suggested, however it will not associate itself with internet explorer and won’t open the page. This happens on a few web page icons I have on my desktop. The only one that opens is the actual internet explorer icon
    Thanks

    Reply
  11. HELLOW
    i had problem with windows explorer . when i open the folder or partition drive it automatically close the windows. so how can i remove this problems.
    thanks for your kind cooperation.

    Reply
  12. The secret is “…Create a NEW shortcut”.
    I tried to use the existing one found under the “Start” menue, and it did not work. Now if you change the icon too, it would be really snazzy.

    Reply
  13. to open windows explorer on “My Computer”, with the C drive highlighted in the right pane, you need:

    C:WINDOWSexplorer.exe /n, /e, /select, C:

    Reply
  14. Thanks Leo. Your Windows XP and Vista tips are invaluable, and self explanatory. Your website is the ONLY web site I use for hints, tips and great ideas. Keep up the good, open source work!

    Reply
  15. Hello!!
    Windows 7(Vista) opens by default “Libraries folder” when Explorer starts.
    PLEASE – How to change it for example to jump to c: instead of “Libraries folder” IN REGISTRY?
    I want to use it so:
    I will assign keyboard key to start Explorer.exe.
    So I can use it in two ways:
    1. if Explorer.exe hangs(I will kill it) and click X button to start it.
    2. if Explorer.exe running – I will use that X button just to open Folder window.

    Why I ask about registry changing? – Because “explorer.exe c:” – not works with p.1. (if explorer not running – it Not opens system Tray) but opens folders(Libraries) window.
    and “explorer.exe” open system tray BUT not opens folder c:

    Reply
  16. Leo, this is way too funny. I was working on my friend’s PC and she had ‘Windows Explorer’ on the desktop. I am not that pc literate but I get there, with a lot of help from yourself…:) Anyway, I can home and realized that I never had WE anywhere. I mean anywhere. So, I searched your site, found what I was looking for and (lol) all along, I had it. Only thing was I forgotten I had renamed it “My Computer!!!” I love your page. Thank you for it. 🙂

    Reply
  17. I open the directory I want in WE then go up one level and right click that folder and create a shortcut. Then I move that shortcut to the desktop or wherever I want it, and rename it as required. Then whenever I click that shortcut it opens WE at that folder.

    Incidentally that’s an integral part of how I keep my desktop very clear of icons, by using folders with groups of programs and/or folders in them. Then as new icons build up on my desktop I move them into one (or more) of the folders, leaving the desktop clear of all but the most essential column of icons (My computer, Help & Support, Recycle Bin, Control Panel, and one or two others that I use extremely frequently).

    Otherwise the desktop is pretty clear. Plus there are the various taskbars at the bottom, which I have set to auto-hide. This is XP, by the way. Dont know if the same stuff would apply to a later OS.

    Reply
  18. Is this site still active? I want to follow the rules but can’t find them. About commenting you suggest “read the article” but I can’t find the article. If I have to register I can’t find that either. Help! I have question regarding changing Windows Explorer to display root directory in left pane, but I cannot access “create shortcut”. This along with many folders on my computer are greyed out although I am Administrator. I feel I should be able to access all functions on my computer (like I have done on all previous computers, even this one prior to a few days ago when a lot of things seemed to change). I have Win7.

    Reply
    • It means read the article you are commenting on. Ie. this one. So I assume you’ve read it already. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to that one. Hopefully, someone here can help.

      Reply

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