Sunday, January 24, 2016

Open Windows Explorer to Default Folder

Howto: Open Windows Explorer to your favorite default directory.  These steps work for all versions of Windows, Windows XP - 10.  Article updated for Windows 10 on 2016.01.24.



Have Windows Explorer open to a default data-folder of your choosing, saving you from having to tunnel.  I like to arrive at C:\Data, but you could arrive at any folder, such as users\Documents or a server drive. 

The steps vary for each version of Windows. 
Scroll down for your version.


Windows 10

1.  From the Start Page, launch File Explorer (Windows Explorer) and set these preferences:

     On the ribbon, click the VIEW tab
     Select View, "Details"
     then
     Check [x] File Name Extensions
     Check [x] Hidden Items

     Close File Explorer



2.  On the Start Page, locate any File Explorer tiles
     "Other-mouse-click" the File Explorer tile,
     Choose "Unpin from Start"

     Similarly, unpin any File Explorer icons from the Task Bar.

     Reason: These icons and tiles cannot be modified.  New ones will be built in a moment.

3.  From the Start Menu (the tile menu),
     search for File Explorer by typing "File Explorer" in the Start Menu's search bar:




4.  Re-launch File Explorer
     Within File Explorer's left-nav (tree-view),

     Tunnel to folder "This PC"
     Tunnel to C:  ["OS (C:)"] the main hard drive
     Tunnel to the "C:\Windows" folder

5.  In the C:\Windows file-list, scroll and locate "explorer.exe" (note the .exe extension)

     Other-mouse-click, choose "Pin to Start". 
     This puts a different File Explorer tile on the Start Menu
     and it will look exactly the same as the one deleted in step 2..



6.  Return to the Start Menu (Tiles).
     Find the newly-built File Explorer icon
     "Other-mouse-click" (right mouse click) the new icon.
     Chose More, "Open File Location"


7.  In this list (which is different than the last File Explorer file-list;
     note it does not say "Explorer.exe"),
     other-mouse-click the Explorer.exe icon, choosing "Properties"


8.  In the Properties screen, edit the target, typing this:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\data"

    where slash-e comma is required and C:\data is the folder of your choice
    - use quotes around the "C:\data" path.


     Many choose their documents folder:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\Users\youraccount\Documents"

     where "youraccount" is your account name. 
     Find your account name by using File Explorer and browsing to C:\Users.
     Look for a likely-mispelled variant on your name.
     For example, mine shows up as "trayw" or "tray0001"

G.  Click OK, saving the Property changes

H.  From the File Explorer file-list, highlight the same "Explorer" icon
      Select Pin to TaskBar

I.  Close all Explorer Windows and return to the Start Menu

Test: Clicking the File Explorer Tile.  Confirm it opens to the expected folder.  If it does not, you typed the path incorrectly; return to step 7. 



Windows 7, Vista, XP:
(see below for Windows 8.1)

1. From the Start Menu Bar, locate the Windows Explorer icon.
These same steps can also be made on the Windows Explorer Start-Menu menu-item.

a. "other-mouse-click" the Explorer Icon
b. "other-mouse-click" the "explorer.exe" menu choice
c. Select "Properties"










2. In the Properties Window, modify the Target to read

 %windir%\Explorer.exe /e, "c:\data"
 %windir%\Explorer.exe /e, "C:\Users\yourname\Documents"

   Replacing "C:\data" with your favorite default directory (H:\projects, etc.). Use quotes.



  Note: In Windows XP, I believe you use a semi-colon:
  %windir%\Explorer.exe /e; "c:\data"
  %windir%\Explorer.exe /e; "C:\Users\yourname\Documents"


3.  You should delete/modify all other Start Menu and desktop icons that also launch Explorer, and re-build with this same change. 



Windows 8.1 Steps:

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft made this more complicated.  You will need to find the underlying icon, change its properties, then delete and rebuild the icons on the TaskBar and Start Page. 

Note: Microsoft changed how these operate from Windows 8.0 to 8.1.  These instructions are for 8.1; version 8.0 is not documented here.


Note: Microsoft now calls this program "File Explorer" but under the hood, it is still called Explorer.exe


Start Page:

A.  From the Start Page, launch Windows Explorer (File Explorer)
      and set these preferences:

     On the ribbon, click the VIEW tab
     Click "Details"
     Check [x] File Name Extensions
     Check [x] Hidden Items

     Exit File Explorer

B.  On the Start Page, other-mouse-click the File Explorer tile,
      Choose "Unpin from Start"

C.  From the Start Page, click anywhere on the background and begin typing the words "File Explorer".  Re-launch File Explorer from the list.



D.  Within File Explorer,

     Tunnel to "This PC"
     Tunnel to C:  (the main hard drive)
     Tunnel to C:\Windows

E.  In the file details, scroll down and locate "explorer.exe"

     Other-mouse-click, choose "Pin to Start".
     This puts a different File Explorer tile back on the Start Page.

F.  Return to the Start Page.

     Locate the new File Explorer tile on the far-right of the Start Panel
     Other-mouse-click the tile, choose "Open File Location"



G.  In this list (which is different than the last File Explorer file-list),
      Other-mouse-click this explorer icon, choosing "Properties"


F.  In the Properties screen, edit the target, typing this:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\data"

    where slash-e comma is required and C:\data is the folder of your choice
    - use quotes.


     Many choose their documents folder:

  C:\Windows\explorer.exe /e, "C:\Users\youraccount\Documents"

    Find your account name by using File Explorer and browsing to C:\Users.
    Look for a likely-mispelled variant on your name.
    For example, mine shows up as "trayw" or "tray0001"

    Click OK and return the Start Page.

Test: Clicking the File Explorer Tile.  Confirm it opens to the expected folder.  If it does not, you typed the path incorrectly; return to step F. 


For the Desktop Start Bar Icon:

1.  Do the steps directly above, particularly steps G and F.



2.  On the Task Bar, other-mouse-click the File Explorer icon and "unpin from taskbar"

3.  Return to the Start Page.
Other-mouse-click the newly-built File Manager tile from the steps above, choose "Pin to Task Bar".

You are done.


Related links:
Windows 7 Explorer Recommended Tricks

2 comments:

  1. This does NOT work on windows 10 :(

    It just adds a shortcut, which opens new instances of the explorer. See what i mean:
    http://i.imgur.com/awyVilo.png

    Can it be done so it opens the same icon instead of a new?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian, yes, these steps do work with Windows 10 and I am using them now. Double-check the steps.

      Delete

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