This article shows how to create a customized Windows shortcut to Windows Explorer which will open Explorer to a specific location (folder) in the filing system.

Customizing Windows Explorer Startup

Excluding Windows 8, every Windows version since Win95 allows you to launch Windows Explorer by right-clicking on the Start Button and then clicking Explore on the shortcut menu. When Explorer is launched using this method it opens up to the Start Menu folder for the current user.

You can make Explorer open to a different drive or folder that you specify by customizing a Windows shortcut to Explorer as follows:

  1. Right-click on your desktop
  2. Click New and then Shortcut
  3. In the Create Shortcut Wizard's field for location of item, type or paste the following line:

    C:\Windows\Explorer.exe /n,/e, C:\My Documents

  4. Click on Next
  5. Type in a name for the shortcut: Explore My Documents, for example
  6. Click on Finish

Now click on the new shortcut to launch Windows Explorer: Explorer opens with My Documents as the default open folder.

Note: You can substitute %windir%\explorer.exe for c:\windows\explorer.exe.

You can also modify an existing Explorer shortcut to behave this way by going to the target field on the Shortcut tab of its properties sheet and appending the /n,/e, Drive:\Foldername parameter there.

The following table shows a few variations on this customization.

C:\windows\Explorer.exe /n,/e, D:\ Opens Explorer to the root directory of D: drive
C:\windows\Explorer.exe /n,/e, Shared\Documents Opens Explorer to the Documents folder on the Network drive with the sharename "Shared"

For more information on how and where to create Windows shortcuts, see the MS-Windows Shortcuts handout.

Bruce Miller, 2005, 2014