Windows 10 Quick Tips – File Explorer Tip

Open Specific Folder

file-explorer-iconFile Explorer Misbehaves, Badly

File Explorer is the default file manager bundled with Windows 10. It works fine for the casual user but, in my case, I spend nearly as much time using a file manager as I do in the browser and believe me, that’s a lot of time.

One of the many points I don’t like about File Explorer is that it always opens to a directory I have no interest in seeing, namely, the Quick Access folder. I have many, many complaints when it comes to File Explorer but, today, we’ll only be talking about fixing one of them. There are several easy steps to undertake but, not to worry, they are all easily accomplished. Read on…

Force File Explorer To Open a Specific Folder When It Runs

The first thing you need to do is Unpin File Explorer from the Taskbar (optional).


  • Right-click File Explorer on the Taskbar and choose Unpin from taskbar in the menu that opens

Note: The above step is strictly arbitrary. If you would like to keep a shortcut pointing to File Explorer using its default behavior, the choice is entirely yours. As you’ll soon see, you can have as many unique shortcuts as you like.

The next thing is to locate explorer.exe on your system drive. To do that,

  1. Click Start
  2. Type explorer.exe
  3. Right-click it and choose Open file location


That will open your file manager with the explorer.exe program highlighted. Right-click explorer.exe to open a Context Menu and choose Create shortcut:


When you do this, Windows will flail its electronic limbs and pop up this warning:


Just click “Yes”. Warnings like these are simple-minded. Why would you want to create a shortcut that’s buried deep in a system directory? To use it you would have to travel the scenic route and certainly would not be taking a short-cut in any sense of the word.

Windows will now comply by placing a shortcut on your Desktop. Here begins the fun part. You can point this newly created shortcut to any folder you like. Let’s say you want it to point to a folder with all your music files, or videos, or pictures, or documents; that is all easily done. I’ll use a folder of mine that contains recent downloads as an example.

Right-click the newly created explorer.exe Icon on your Desktop and choose Properties from the Context Menu that opens:


The Properties Sheet will open:


  1. Select the Shortcut Tab to bring you to the indicated page
  2. There must be a space between the Target and the Path you enter

Quotation marks:

  • If you have no spaces in your path, then quotes are not necessary
  • If there are spaces in your Path, then the quotes must be used in order for this to work (Windows will choke otherwise, saying it can’t find the Path)
  • Using quotations marks is good practice and is recommended to avoid possible headaches. It’s a good habit to get into.

Bonus Tips

Creating Multiple Specialized Shortcuts

explorer-downloads-iconWindows doesn’t care what you name your Shortcuts. I mentioned in a previous note that you can create more than one Shortcut pointing to different folders. The only requirement is that each shortcut must have a unique name.

In our example, the one pointing to my Downloads folder, I renamed the Shortcut to, “Explorer – Downloads”. Every time I click on that Shortcut, File Explorer will now oblige me by opening that Downloads Folder. Using the above information, you can create multiple Shortcuts pointing to multiple destinations.

Renaming a Shortcut

Renaming a Shortcut is easy as pie: Right-click it, choose Rename from the Context Menu, type in a descriptive name, and hit Enter when you’re done.

Alternative File Managers

I intimated in the beginning of this post that Windows’ File Manager is not my favorite. I could give you countless examples why I feel that way, but I won’t bore you with my many complaints. Instead, let me take a more positive course and point you in the direction of some very good alternatives. Of course, DCT has already published articles in this regard so may I suggest you give Windows File Manager Alternatives a read? That article may be a bit dated, but hopefully is still informative and should certainly provide you with some food for thought.

If you are interested in what I use, it is still the portable, free manager called Explorer++. You can read more about it by following the above link.


About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

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