Shell Command

How to Use the Vista Shell Command
This will show you how to use the Shell command to enable you to quickly open a hard to find folder or object. A complete list of all Shell commands is included with a description of each.
How to Use the Vista Shell Command

information   Information
This will show you how to use the Shell command to enable you to quickly open a hard to find folder or object. A complete list of all Shell commands is included with a description of each.
Note   Note
You can also use these shell commands from the Run command window.
Tip   Tip
When the item for the shell command opens the folder, you can then create a shortcut to it easily.

Here's How:
1. Open the Start Menu.​
2. In the white line (Start Search) area, type one of the Shell commands (See table below) and press Enter. (See screenshot below)​

Complete List of Shell Commands

Shell Command



Opens the Install a program from the network location.

shell:Administrative Tools

Opens the Administrative Tools section of the Control Panel.


Opens the hidden location C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\Roaming


Opens the Installed Windows Updates location in Program and Files.


Opens Internet Explorer’s temporary internet files folder.

shell:CD Burning

Opens the location where files are stored temporarily before Windows Vista burns them.


Opens Programs and Features in the Control Panel.

shell:Common Administrative Tools

Opens the Administrative Tools section of the Control Panel.

shell:Common AppData

Opens the hidden location C:\ProgramData

shell:Common Desktop

Opens the Public Users Desktop folder location. C:\Users\Public\Desktop

shell:Common Documents

Opens the Public Users Documents folder location. C:\Users\Public\Documents

shell:Common Programs

Opens the Start menu shortcuts location.

shell:Common Start Menu

Opens the location of the shortcut links in your Start Menu.

shell:Common Startup

Opens the location where shortcuts to programs that are set to start when Vista boots up are saved.

shell:Common Templates

Opens C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Templates


Opens the Public Users Downloads folder location. C:\Users\Public\Downloads


Opens the Public Users Music folder location. C:\Users\Public\Music


Opens the Public Users Pictures folder location. C:\Users\Public\Pictures


Opens the Public Users Video folder location. C:\Users\Public\Videos


Opens the Sync Center Conflicts location.


Quickly open Network Connections.


Opens your username's Contacts folder location.


Opens the Control Panel.


Opens one of the folders where Internet Explorer saves cookies.


Opens the other folder where Internet Explorer saves cookies.


Opens the hidden C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Credentials


Opens the hidden C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Crypto



shell:default Gadgets

Opens the default Windows Sidebar Gadgets location.


Opens your personal username's Desktop folder location.


Opens your personal username's Downloads folder location.


Opens the hidden C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Protect


Opens your personal username's Favorites folder location.


Opens Vista's Fonts folder location.


Opens your user account's Windows Sidebar Gadgets that you saved location.


Opens the Games Explorer from the right Start menu Games button location.


Opens the hidden C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\GameExplorer


Opens Internet Explorer’s history of websites visited.


Opens the 32 bit Internet Explorer.


Opens your personal username's Links folder location.

shell:Local AppData

Opens the hidden C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\Local


Opens the hidden C:\Users\(your username)\AppData\LocalLow





shell:My Music

Opens your personal username's Music folder location.

shell:My Pictures

Opens your personal username's Pictures folder location.

shell:My Video

Opens your personal username's Video folder location.


Opens Computer window.


Opens Network Shortcuts folder location.


Opens the Network Places location.

shell:OEM Links

Opens the links placed on your computer by your computer manufacturer location.

shell:Original Images

Opens Windows Photo Gallery Original Images folder location.


Opens your personal username's Documents folder location.


Opens the Slide Show folder location for your username's Pictures folder.


Opens the Playlists folder location for your username's Music folder.


Opens Printers in the Control Panel.


Opens the Printer Shortcuts location.


Opens your main username folder location.


Opens the Program Files folder.


Opens the Common Files folder in Program Files.


Opens the Common Files folder in Program Files (x86).


Opens the Program Files (x86) folder.


Opens the Start menu's Programs shortcuts location.


Opens the Public User folder.


Opens C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\GameExplorer

shell:Quick Launch

Opens the Quick Launch shortcuts folder location.


Opens Recent Items location.


Opens the Recycle Bin folder.


Opens Vista's Resources folder location.


Opens the Sample Music folder in the Public Users folder.


Opens the Sample Pictures folder in the Public Users folder.


Opens the Sample Playlist folder in the Public Users folder.


Opens the Sample Videos folder in the Public Users folder.


Opens your personal username's Saved Games folder location.


Opens your personal username's Searches folder location.


Opens the Context menu's SendTo folder location.

shell:Start Menu

Opens the current single user location of the shortcut links in your Start Menu.


Opens the location where shortcuts to programs that are set to start when Vista boots up are saved.


Opens Sync Center from the Control Panel.


Opens the Sync Results for the Sync Center.


Open the Setup new sync partnerships in the Sync Center.


Opens the System32 folder location.


Opens the SystemCertificates folder location.


Opens the SysWowxx folder location.


Opens the Templates folder location.




Opens the "C:\Users" location.


Opens your main username folder location.


Opens the "C:\Windows" location.

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


Hi Brink,

Enjoyed the tutorial. Never knew about this. Thanks.
One cmd. that woked oddly was the 'shell:TreePropertiesFolder'.
The window pops up and in half a sec. it closes. Any ideas why that would happen.
I have read several of the tutorials. What a great resource. Thanks to all.


When you right click on it at the top part of the Start menu and click Open folder location, it opens the user Desktop folder with Dektop highlighted in the folder tree.

Other than that, I have not found much use for it yet either.

I give up. Where's the white line (Start Search) area? Should I access the search feature? (opens Explorer) But typing the Shell Command in the Search box in Explorer produces no results. Please advise.:(
Hi Antje,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

It is the white line with Start Search in it at the bottom of the Start menu in the screenshot at the top of this tutorial.

Hope this helps,
And how do I get the curser in the white line in the screen shot in order to type or paste the shell command? :cry:
Hi Antje,

You can click in the box, but there is no need. Just start typing. Should go there automatically.

Ok i realy started to dislike Vista, everytime something has to be change to get into it.
So you are telling us these nice commands. but i donwloaded a game, realy wanna play it. but cant be open on vista, says he need a windows shell commor. Great wonderfull. so im searching for the answer and come here. And well cant find the answer yet. first of all every command that i type in to teh search line, says cant find files, cant open of dont excist!

How can i open this rar program in vista? without having to do so much changes on my laptop?
My winrar program does not even open it, changed name of file everything but vista wont open it. so can somebody help me and be realy clear about it?
Hello Naihla, and welcome to Vista Forums.

It sounds like you may be having more serious problems if none of the shell commands above would not open anything when typed into the Start Menu search box or RUN window. How does everything else run on the computer?

Could you post back with the exact complete error message the game gives you when you try to open or install it?

You might give the free program 7-Zip a try instead. Run it as administrator, click on Options, then select the RAR file extention to be handled by 7-Zip.

Hope this helps for now,
Hi Brink,

Thanx for your quick reply. my laptop is just 2 months old. just bought it here on aruba. everything else works fine, but i do have a problem with the memory vista eats (use hihi)
The game im trying to unpack and install is anno 1404, i already have anno 1701 the pre version and that one worked correct.
This one has files named rzr.001 etc. So i need to unpack it and then install. But it does not work. Vista does not wanto unpack it. It just says nothing and do nothing.
So i looked at the properties of the files, and it said i need Windows blabla commor, so started to search for it and came here.
i tried your commands and just like i said it says: cant find file, i started to try the others and got the same or does not exicst etc.
I tried with winrar, winzip etc, did not work, it will pack but not unpack proper. I am going to try your advice with the 7 program you just said and will come back on that.
I also found out that it is form razor, so i found razor program but im not familiair with it. beside that i red some comments and a lot say it does not work. or have errors.
im realy carefull with downloading things. so im going to try 7 zip and see what happens

tahnx i will get back to you
hi brink,

Again thank you. I tried 7 zip, good program and the program told me that when he finished at 97% teh file is dameged. So i need to download i new versie of teh game. this was the only program tha regonized it.

Thanx i will try to download a new one and see what happens.

kind regards,

Oh, I see now. You are wanting to unpack an archive. If WinRAR or 7-Zip cannot unpack it using the "Wizard" option, then you might try redownloading the file in case it may be corrupted.
Hi Brink,

I have an OP who somehow changed the name displayed in the Folder View of Windows Explorer AND the system desktop icon for the User Folder from the correct user name to something different and I cannot find any way to change either of them to what they should be again (System Restore didn't work and that folder and icon have no options to rename or do anything - and no, I have no idea how it was done in the first place and neither does the OP, but apparently he got mixed up with some changes to the desktop and began pushing buttons without really thinking and before he knew it this had happened).

I was reading this tutorial and saw shell:UsersFilesFolder and it seemed to be what is needed to fix that folder and that icon, but I can't figure out how to do it. I wondered if there was any way to apply this to those incorrectly-named locations to restore them to the proper names - or if there is another tutorial I missed that actually addresses this problem.

As always, thanks for your assistance.
Thanks, Brink.

I was afraid that might be the case - and I guess that also means there isn't another tutorial on how to do it. Oh well, back to the research. There must be some way to do it - after all, he was able to change it to the wrong thing somehow so a method of changing to the right thing MUST exist.

Thanks again.