When opening Windows Explorer on Windows 7 (Windows Explorer shortcut can be on the Start Menu or pin to Taskbar), the default folder opened by Windows 7 is “Libraries” folder view, a new feature in Windows 7 which allows several folders to be grouped or categorized together, contrary to previous version of Windows operating system, which by default will open “My Documents” or “Documents” folder.

For user who doesn’t actually use Libraries, or prefer Windows Explorer to open up My Documents, Documents, or even Computer (the highest level view that shows all drives available on the computer), this trick will set Windows Explorer to open and show the prefer folder by default.

  1. In Windows 7 Start Menu, right click on the Windows Explorer shortcut (typically store inside All Programs -> Accessories) and then select Properties.

    On Windows 7 Taskbar, hold down Shift key, and then right click on the Windows Explorer icon, and then select Properties. If you already have one or more Windows Explorer windows open, right click on the Windows Explorer icon, and then right click on the Windows Explorer link again to click on Properties, as illustrated below.

    Windows Eplorer Properties

  2. In the Target text box under Shortcut tab, change the value to one of the following to open either Documents or Computer by default.

    To Make Documents as Default Folder to Open by Windows Explorer upon Launching

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n,::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}

    To Make Computer as Default Folder to Open by Windows Explorer upon Launching

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /e,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

    Set Windows Explorer to Open Documents on Running

  3. Click OK when done.

Now, Windows 7 Explorer will open Documents or Computer directly, skipping and bypassing Libraries, depends on what you set or configure on initial run. There are more special objects and folders that Windows Explorer can open directly to.

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  • Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • fukwin7

    for a OS thats supposed to improve tasks it does the opposite

  • Jorge

    It is much simple than that.
    Simply change %SystemRoot%explorer.exe by C: or D:MyFolder.

    This has the advantage that it does not create another Explorer process.

    Cheers

    • Beverly

      Thanks for posting this hint – I was going crazy trying to figure out how to change the default folder to open – this works for me but not if I right-click Explorer from the Start menu – only if I use the Explorer icon, but, I dragged the icon to my tray so I’m good to go!

    • Bill CT

      Simple fix that would have taken me hours to figure out on my own. Great tip and it works. Thanks!

    • Asok Asus

      Indeed.

      All of these solutions result in an extra instance of the explorer.exe process each time the modified shortcut is used, and they accumulate until you logoff.

      A simpler and better solution is simply to replace all of the “Windows Explorer.lnk” shortcuts throughout the system with an ordinary folder shortcut named “Windows Explorer.lnk” that points to whatever folder you’ve chosen.

      Here’s a little procedure that does this for Windows 7 and 8, where the replacement shortcut points to the %USERPROFILE% folder. The standard admonition should you try this is to first make a restore point as a precaution.

      http://reliancepc.com/menu/tips/Downloads/ReplaceDefaultExplorerShortcuts.zip

      Once unzipped, you can use 7zip to look inside the resulting .exe (which is a 7z SFX) and see what it does and that nothing nefarious is inside.

    • Saul

      Yeah, but then you can’t open a 2nd window with middle-click or right-click > Windows Explorer.

  • Jack

    thanks to reido113, and to kaiyo…worked for me, without another explore.exe running in task manager

  • Jo Blow

    Note that you can right mouse button drag any folder from windows explorer onto the desktop and create a shortcut to that folder. This works with library folders and favorites. You can then copy that to quick launch or pin it or whatever you want to do. It acts like a normal shortcut but seems to be somewhat different(no command line options).

  • Patrick

    thanks for this information

    Took me 4 hours to create a shortcut (for citrix users) to open Explorer with a certain diskdriver selected/open. And also that users still the local drives.

    solution

    "c:windowsexplorer.exe /e,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}X:"

    where is X is the disk drive, dont but a backslash behind it. Thats the same as "/select"

  • AzH

    Hi everybody !

    try typing this in the target field :

    C:UsersxxxAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsLibrariesDocuments.library-ms

    (instead of xxx type yor username)

    Working great for me without opening multiple processes

  • Hex

    Hi, great tip! Just what I was looking for as the old XP command didn't work at all in my computer with the new Win7. After inserting the XP command line, the win explorer would not even open!.

    Thanks guys!

    (this was XP line: %SystemRoot%explorer /n, /e, /select, C:) – does not work in win 7

    • reido113

      Hex,

      For what you are trying to do (default to a specific drive (or specific folder)) this is the location needed in Windows 7.

      %SystemRoot%explorer.exe /n, /e, C:

      • Dennis

        This worked perfect for Windows 7 that I use.

        Thank you very much.

  • Christian Gould

    Works on windows XP as well, just needed to get that target command, create a new shortcut and use that with /e, for folders added (much better in my rk launcher menu too)

    %SystemRoot%explorer.exe /e,/n,::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}

    Works perfectly this way, as now the shortcut for "my documents" opens at the default menu-like special folder "my documents" directory. Really useful shortcut. NOT AS ANNOYING AS the regular .lnk shortcut that explorer usually opens at its actual directory: "c:documents and settings[user]…My Documents" level.

  • Reido113

    Use Kaiyo's solution (below) instead (in order to prevent multiple explorers from running and killing your memory)!

    I cleaned up his instructions. Here they are for future ease and reference…

    ————————————————–

    1. Pin Windows Explorer to the taskbar(library) [if it's not already pinned].

    2. Create a “My Computer” shortcut on to the desktop (drag Computer from start menu to desktop).

    3. Change the name of the “Computer” shortcut to “Windows Explorer”.

    4. Change the icon by right clicking > properties> shortcut tab > change icon.

    5. Navigate to C:Users%User%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternetExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar

    6. Copy the new “Windows Explorer” shortcut that you just created on the desktop to this folder.

    7. It will ask you if you want to replace “Windows Explorer”, go ahead and replace it.

    8. Close and Enjoy!

    ————————————————–

    Thanks Kaiyo for the solution.

    Cheers!

    • Jes

      Reido113: OMG! this is the only way that worked, easy, fast and working!

      Thank you so much for this tip:)

    • Mann

      Thanks so much, this is the easiest way to do it.

  • cybersans

    agree with comment #30. every time you launch explorer with extra switch /e /n whatsoever, it will create different process explorer.exe (even though that you're not using "launch explorer in seperate process"). and when you close explorer, the process will remain. after you launch & close explorer 20 times, you will have 21 explorer.exe in your task manager.

    please find another solution. in previous windows xp/2003, they have explorer.scf which user can click and open root drive as default.

  • arjun

    thnx :)

  • Andrew Berne

    First of all I've seen a few comments that it doesn't work on 64-bit…I am using 64-bit Windows 7, if you follow this guide it does.

    Second if the folder you want to open, such as your user folder, has a set path like "C:UsersYourname" which is what most people want, then you can just type in that path in the shortcut in quotes and it will open up in the current explorer.exe process so you wont get multiple explorer.exe in task manager. If you want a special folder like Computer or Games you can make a shortcut to it and then use Kaiyo's method below me in post 33-34, just do what he tells you to do with "Computer" to the other shortcut.

    So if you want to open your user folder, all you do is follow this guide except instead of using

    %SystemRoot%explorer.exe /n,"::{…}"

    you just can type:

    "%userprofile%"

    which is a variable that will expand to the current user's directory (ie. C:UsersJohn)

    You can also type in any other folder like:

    "C:StuffLots o Stuff"

    You can also use batch files but I don't think they are necessary and will make this post even longer so unless someone asks I'll leave it at this.

  • Dan

    Thank you so much Kaiyo. Your solution worked flawlessly. The M$ mods on their support forums couldn't even come up with a way to do this without introducing extra instances of "explorer.exe"

  • Kaiyo

    opps i screwed up the numbering lol…

    "3. change the “Computer” shortcut to “Windows Explorer” "

    I mean change the name.

    and also change the icon by right clicking > properties> shortcut tab > change icon

  • Kaiyo

    i found out a way to make it so it doesnt open multiple instances of explorer.exe

    1. pin Windows Explorer (library) [if it's not already pinned]

    2. create "My Computer" shortcut on to the desktop (drag Computer from start menu to desktop)

    3. change the "Computer" shortcut to "Windows Explorer"

    3. go to C:Users%User%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar

    4. copy the "Windows Explorer" [Computer shortcut] that you created on the desktop to that folder

    5. It will ask you if you want to replace "Windows Explorer", go ahead and replace it.

    Now you won't have multiple explorer.exe starting everytime you open it and it opens faster than changing via code

  • The Man

    Worked perfectly on my 64bit win7, thank you very much. Classic my computer view is the best :)

  • Eric Ellsworth

    Just wanted to say thank you to Nick Dodd. Saved me some trouble. I chose to direct the existing libraries to the desired path.

  • Nick Dodd

    There's a big problem with this method and most similar to it; every time you open and close it from the launch bar there is a New explorer.exe process and it adds up. I had as many as 17 explorer.exe processes at once.

    And I know some of you may think I could have a virus or whatever you think. No I do not. And I've duplicated my results in clean environments just to prove it.

    Is there any way around this hole? I don't very much like 17 25mb processes running at once. And before you ask; yes I'm running a system with a lot of ram.

  • Blaqkie

    It works great on Windows 7 64-Bit! :D Thank you for the tip.

  • Alek

    I got it working in Windows 7×64 by copying a shortcut to explorer to the desktop, modifying the shortcut to point to Computer (using %windir% instead of %SystemRoot%) and then right clicking on that shortcut and pinning to taskbar.

  • Mr Love

    I'm afraid this doesn't work on Win 7 64bit – whatever I change that path into nothing happens when I try to open Explorer, but as soon as I change it back to the default it works again, opening those useless libraries that I never use…

  • Benjamin

    Try:

    %windir%explorer.exe ""

  • alex

    @Rod

    Thanks a lot.

  • Marvin

    FATAL BUG WITH WINDOWS 7!!!!! WARNING!!!! Doing this creates multiple explorer.exe running that will not CLOSE! Stupid Microsoft and the bullcrap with Library which is the most retarded thing I have seen yet! everytime I open windows explorer I get another one running eating away memory!

  • Jason404

    Does anybody know how to make this change through CMD or PowerShell scripting?

  • F

    is it possible to make it start in Favorites? I've already made it target the C:UsersFLinks folder, nut its just not the same with the little arrows on the shortcuts (i know its not that big of a deal, i'm a perfectionist.) I also tried and locate the CLSID for the favorites folder, and putting that in the code. Not working either… Can anyone give me a target that will redirect me to the favorites?

    Thanks!

  • Rod

    "%windir%explorer.exe /e," Is all that I need to open my computer in windows explorer.

  • Windows 7 Lover

    I love you. Thank you very much, was percise and worked.

    ^_^

    <3

  • Lee

    Works Great for the taskbar, but…

    Is there a way to have it do the same thing when you open windows explorer by right clicking the start menu and choosing "open windows explorer?"

    Why? Becuase thats how ive been doing it for years!

  • pNuephious

    finally!!…thanks a million

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  • Yaz

    Here is a tool to do that automatically on this thread:

    http://forums.mydigitallife.info/showthread.php?t

  • Konrad

    how do you make it so favorites in explorer open as default?

  • Alex

    I love this site ;)

    tks!

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  • tds

    I want to get the Windows-E key to open Explorer with My Documents.

    I tried all the above. Still cannot get it to work.

    So, at the moment doing the old Windows-2 until somebody comes up with something . . .

  • kyle

    "::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}" by itself opens my computer, but then will open drives, etc in the same window

    "/root," causes it to open a window that opens new windows

    it seems someone confused it and it got replicated by umpteen blog sites. Thanks for bringing to my attention though!

  • Shufflemoomin

    Great tip! Thank you, I'd been wondering if this was possible. MS should really make this easier to do.

  • Dan

    Nice, thanks for the info.

    The libraries thing was really starting to annoy me.

  • chumppi

    Thank god for this topic, works beautifully, thank you.

  • sander

    It just does not work for me. For me it’s not %systemroot%\explorer.exe but %windir%\explorer.exe, and none of those lines work for me. any one knows the right ones for my pc?

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  • RK

    The best alternative I found for opening Explorer with keyboard is to use "Win+2" instead of the regular "Win+E".. and make sure you configure the Explorer in the taskbar to open My Computer (or whatever) by default using the instructions given here.

    Sure.. it takes some getting used to.. but at least it is a direct keyboard shortcut.

  • Bean

    This is great, but it only affects the windows explorer shortcuts. I almost exclusively use Win+E to bring up explorer, and it still shows me the libraries. Is there a way around that?

  • btw u can use CTRL-ALT-E to get the windows explorer to show up!!! instead of Windows key-e it is slightly different but u can retrain your brain;) its possible;)

    wiiiiiiiiiiiiickid

  • Lamarr

    This one does the job for me to open Explorer in Windows 7, showing me all my drivers (Right klick explorer, properties, and ad "/e," to the line:

    %SystemRoot%explorer.exe /e,

    Thats it.