How to Tell Windows Explorer Where to Open

Published on March 14, 2008

By default, Windows Explorer opens up in the “My Documents” folder, which is far from useful (assuming you don’t store all your documents there). Just today, I figured out how to get Windows Explorer to open in a folder that you specify. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Right click the Windows Explorer shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Make sure you are on the “Shortcut” tab.
  3. Clear the Start in: field. Contrary to what you might think, Windows Explorer seems to ignore whatever you type here (which seems stupid to me).
  4. Change the Target: field to the following:
    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n,/e,{Desired_Path}. For example: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n,/e,C:\. Note that the commas are required!
  5. Accept your changes.

Now, each time you open Windows Explorer, it will point to your desired location. This is an incredibly useful tip that will now save me two clicks for every explorer window that I open!

3 Comments

NICE JONAH! I’ve been looking at how to do this, off and on for a while now, so glad you beat me to it!

Thanks for posting!

kip

“Start in” is not an explorer feature, it’s there for any shortcut. It tells the application to start as if you had a console window open in the “Start in” directory and then typed %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe.

@Michael: Glad you liked the post!

@Kip:

“Start in” is not an explorer feature, it’s there for any shortcut.

You are correct. I’ve used this a time or two to force other applications to do what I want. The “Start in” field (as far as I know) essentially sets the working directory of the application. I assumed that doing so with Explorer would essentially force it to open up there. I was wrong.

I found that you can indeed set it up so that it starts using the value in the “Start in” field, but then it forgets which monitor it was on the next time you open it up (for whatever weird reason). The solution I present in this article doesn’t have that bug.

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