How Change Windows Explorer / File Explorer to Open Specific Target Folder

»»»How Change Windows Explorer / File Explorer to Open Specific Target Folder

Whenever users run and launch Windows Explorer or File Explorer (in Windows 10), the GUI shell for Windows operating system, the File Explorer or Windows Explorer will open in default folder which is current user’s “My Documents” (in Windows XP or earlier) or “Documents” (in Windows Vista and Windows 7) or “Favorites” (in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 or “Quick Access” (in Windows 10).

The default folder opened by Windows Explorer and File Explorer is the same for all users of same version of Windows operating system, and Microsoft does not provide any easy way to change Windows Explorer or File Explorer to open at another specific directory instead of the predefined folder that Microsoft assumes most users will make use of the folder to manage their documents and files,

If you’re using another folder as the working folder and need to access different folder which saves most of your files more often, rather than the default location assigned by Microsoft when using File Explorer or Windows Explorer, it’s possible to assign another folder as the default folder so that whenever Windows Explorer or File Explorer is started, it will display the contents of another different folder.

How to Change Default Folder of Windows Explorer or File Explorer

  1. Click on Start button, then go to All Programs, and finally Accessories.
    If you’re using Windows Explorer shortcut at other location, such as Quick Launch bar or Desktop, skip this step. In addition, in Windows 10, you must create a separate shortcut for File Explorer (or explorer.exe) for this trick to work (Properties of File Explorer in Start menu brings you to System Properties instead).
    To create a shortcut to File Explorer in Windows 10, search for explorer.exe. Then, right click the explorer.exe icon in the search results and select Open file location. Next, right click on the explorer.exe file and select Create shortcut. Click or tap on Yes to place the shortcut on Desktop.
  2. Right-click on Windows Explorer or File Explorer (or its shortcut) and then click Properties.
  3. In the Properties window, click on Shortcut tab if you’re not already there.
  4. The text box after “Target” by default will shown the value as below:



    Both of the above is the same, and can be used interchangeably.

    Change the Target text box parameter to the following:

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, /e, <New Path>

    where <New Path> represents the full path to the new different folder that you want Windows Explorer or File Explorer to open as default folder on launch. The spaces must not be omitted.

    For example, if you want Windows Explorer to run and show C:\ folder, the Target path should be like this:

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

    Or you if you want Windows Explorer to go directly to C:\Tech Journey\ directory, the line should read as below:

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, /e, C:\Tech Journey\

    Open Windows File Folder at Different Specific Target Folder

    A special case is to change the default setting so that all top–level drives and folders are shown. To show this folder view, use the following as Target shortcut so that when Windows Explorer is opened, you can choose from all the folders and drives, not just My Documents:

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

    The above syntax for the Target with “/select” to open parent folder of the destination folder so that you can “select” from all folders (or drives) that are available on the same level of directory structures.

  5. Click OK.

The trick works on most Windows operating system, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

By | 2017-02-19T00:56:00+00:00 February 19th, 2017|Categories: Windows|Tags: , , , , , , , , |35 Comments

About the Author:

LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.

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  • Pingback: Cambiare il folder di default di Esplora Risorse in Windows Vista e XP » Italia SW()

  • Dale

    Thanks for this – this was one of my biggest peeves with XP/Vista. You have changed my life.

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  • Jim Miller

    Great! thanks. How do you change the default "views" in vista windows explores. I hate to keep changing the default, especially for video files each time I reopen a folder.

    jim miller

  • Iyalla

    If you want the "Explore" in the right-click start to default to the directory you set above, go into the registery and look for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTFoldershellexploreddeexec and delete the value for default. Leave it blank. (Save the old value in a txt file if you ever want to revert back).

    Then go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTFoldershellexplorecommand and make sure the directory there is set as explained in the article above.

    Now "Explore" in the right-click start menu will default to that directory.

    I just figured this out and thought I would share it 🙂

  • Paul

    Great thak you so much for this…

  • SteveM

    Thank you so much lyalla, you have saved much frustration

  • Hi there, just wanted to say THANKS for your tips and tricks, I'm new to Vista and you've helped me out big style (changing the default folder view of explorer and changing the documents folder location to another hard drive).



  • Brian


    You the best!

    Thank you

  • Pingback: Command Line Switches to Display Special Objects or Folders When Opening Windows Explorer » My Digital Life()

  • m.venkateswaran

    followed your instructions but not working

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

  • Yaz

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

  • hi,

    tnx for this great tutorial m8.

    i really aprechiate it.

    it works fine on windows 7 too.

    best regards, tastro

  • enroc59

    … what a strange workaround…

    More easy, just open explorer, go to c:users"your name" , select the favourites map and move it to the desired map wherever you wish to have it. Soooooo easy! 🙂

  • @enrock59:

    there is no C:users in xp…etc.

    The target in Properties is the best method, quick and sassy 😉

  • gggirlgeek

    Works great in Windows 7!

    Also turn off "Show all Folders" in folder options to clean up folder tree even more. Nice and clean now.

  • Greg Wallis

    Worked perfectly, many thanks.

  • bobby


    Worked like a charm

  • Matt

    This was very helpful, served its purpose. Thank you.

  • Matt

    BTW, I'm running Windows 7, 64-bit. Worked, no problems.

  • Justin

    Didn't work, and copy pasting isn't hard, so I did it right.

  • Justin

    And when I say it didn't work, I mean that when I click the icon after making the change, it won't even open it.

  • Kris

    Thanks for this, worked perfectly

  • Darold

    This worked great for Win Vista Home Premium. The default behavior has bugged me for years. My new start folder is just as described in the example for C drive:

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

  • roostaar

    It's just unbef*ckinglievable that we have to do this. Thanks for the workaround though!

  • mtyree

    The changes in the Target location don't work if you open Explore by doing a right click on Start and selecting Explore. The change only takes place if you open Explore from the program menu or from a desktop icon.

  • Venus

    I'm so glad, this worked for me!

  • Zaina

    THANKS! I've searched several other sites before finding this one and they all got it wrong. Brilliant! Thanks again for the workaround!

  • thanks

    Thank You. It helps me a lot.

  • Thanks, works great on Windows 7

  • Andre

    Works great in Vista 32 ! Thank you so much !

  • John

    Am so glad I found this. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why my default suddenly changed to C: which drove me up the wall…turns out, for some reason my target was changed to explorer.swf or some such instead of explorer.exe…that little change fixed a long-lasting headache.

  • mvndaai

    Works close enough in Windows 8. Thank you

  • Nuri

    THANK YOU! Worked like a charm 🙂 (I have Vista)

  • Sad Dave

    Sorry, does not work for me; and there is NO ‘Shortcut’ tab in Explorer.exe properties. I’m using Vista.

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