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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Shortcut Directly to Folder using Windows Explorer Command-Line Options

While Windows Explorer can be a great thing to use, sometimes you don't want all the clutter of your desktop, your drives, the control panel, my documents, and network neighborhood all in your face. All those things are shown in Explorer view when you press the "Folders" button at the top of any folder you're in. An accidental click on a network drive in the left navigation pane can in some instances cause a freeze of a minute or five while it tries to connect, not to mention the annoyance of having to scroll through so much crap in order to navigate the folder you're in.

Wouldn't it be better if you could just create a shortcut to a specific folder, and have Windows Explorer expand only the subfolders beneath it? Hmm...sort of like...this?

It's actually really simple. Just create a new shortcut, any shortcut is fine. Right click it and go to properties (or select it and press Alt+Enter). In the target field, put the following:

%windir%\explorer.exe /n,/e,/root,Z:\
You can use any environment variables here, such as %windir%, if you want to see what you have available go to Start | Run | type "cmd" and in the command prompt type "set|more" and press enter. Just prefix and suffix what's on the left of the equals sign with %. Some of the more common ones include %ProgramFiles% and %Homepath%

Command-line Options:
/n tells it to open a new window in single-pane view, even if one exists with the same folder.
/e overrides /n and tells it to use the explorer view, meaning navigation pane on the left
/root,Z:\ tells it which folder to open as the root of windows explorer navigation pane
See an example of the shortcut properties box

I can't even begin to say how much this has helped me. On my customized Quick-Launch bar I have a shortcut directly to my personal documents folder, one to my Work-related folder, one to my File root with all my stock images, games, movies, etc, and then another one to my Music folder.
Shortcut Rating, 1 (eh) to 10 (yeah!)
How often used - 10 (multiple times daily)
Convenience or Lifesaver - 4 (great convenience, but nothing truly breathtaking)

More info on Windows Explorer command-line options
Windows Explorer info from Microsoft.com


  • This is simply awesome! Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 AM  

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