Windows Explorer Default Opening

How to Change Windows Explorer Default Open Location in Vista
This will show you how to set Windows Explorer to open to another location other than the default (your username) Documents folder.
How to Change Windows Explorer Default Open Location in Vista

information   Information
This will show you how to set Windows Explorer to open to another location other than the default C:\Users\(your username)\Documents folder location. For more information on this, see: Microsoft Help and Support: KB130510
Note   Note
This doesn't change the location for Computer in the Start Menu. You could also just create a shortcut from the Windows Explorer EXE location (%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe or C:\Windows\explorer.exe) and use it. Just right click on the exe file and click on Send To and Desktop (create shortcut), then move the shortcut to where you like.
Tip   Tip
Creating a shortcut to the desired location instead would be much easier to do if applicable. ;)

EXAMPLE: Default Windows Explorer Target Open Location
Default.jpg Default_Location.jpg

Here's How:
1. Open the Start Menu.
2. Click on All Programs. (At bottom)​
3. Click on the Accessories folder to expand it.​
4. Right click Windows Explorer and click on Properties.​
NOTE: If you do not have this shortcut for Explorer here, then you can create a new shortcut from: C:\Windows\explorer.exe.
5. In the Target: area, you would type the path below. (see screenshots below)​
NOTE: Substitute the [/n,] [options] [folder path] part of the path below with the path that you want to use instead in the NOTE and TIP boxes below.​
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe [/n,] [options] [folder path]

Note   Note
See the Example sections below.
Note   Note

  • /n = Opens a new Windows Explorer window.
    • /root = Has only the selected folder and it's subfolders at the top in the folder tree.
    • /select = Has the folder's parent folder selected in the folder tree.

To Open to the C:\ Drive
A) You would type in the location below in the Target area. (See screenshots below)​
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, c:\
Drive_Target.jpg Drive.jpg

To Open to the C:\ Drive as the Root in the Folder Tree
B) You would type in the location below in the Target area. (See screenshots below)​
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, /root, c:\
Root_Drive_Target.jpg Root_Drive.jpg

To Open to a Specific Folder (Ex: Downloads Folder)
C) You would type in the location below in the Target area. (See screenshots below)​
NOTE: Instead of using the path c:\Users\(your username)\Downloads, you can use the full path of the folder you want to have opened instead after %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, /root,.​
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, /root, c:\ /select, c:\Users\(your username)\Downloads
Folder_Target.jpg Folder_Select.jpg

To Open the Same as Computer (Start menu)
D) You would type in the location belowin the Target area. (See screenshots below)​
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, c:\, /select
Computer_Target.jpg Computer.jpg

Tip   Tip
You can also copy and paste a path below into the Target area in step 5 above to have Windows Explorer open to these locations.
Tip   Tip

  • Windows Explorer (default)
    • Code:
  • Computer
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
  • Documents
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n,::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
  • Recycle Bin
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
  • Network Neighborhood
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
  • Default Web Browser (ex: Internet Explorer)
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}
  • Computer Search Results Folder
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{1F4DE370-D627-11D1-BA4F-00A0C91EEDBA}
  • Network Search Results Folder
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{E17D4FC0-5564-11D1-83F2-00A0C90DC849}
  • Web Folders
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{BDEADF00-C265-11D0-BCED-00A0C90AB50F}
  • Control Panel
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
  • Printers and Faxes
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}\::{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}
  • Scanners and Cameras
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}\::{E211B736-43FD-11D1-9EFB-0000F8757FCD}
  • Fonts
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}\::{D20EA4E1-3957-11d2-A40B-0C5020524152}
  • Network Connections or My Network Place
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}\::{7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}
  • Administrative Tools
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}\::{D20EA4E1-3957-11d2-A40B-0C5020524153}
  • Tasks Scheduler
    • Code:
      %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}\::{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}

6. Click on OK in Properties to apply.​
7. To make using the Windows Explorer shortcut easier to use, you might Pin it to the Start Menu.​
That's it,

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


Hello James, and welcome to Vista Forums.

I'm not sure if this would be different on network drives, if the network drive is connected, then you should be able to use:

To open the network drive itself: (substitute C for the drive letter of your network drive instead)
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, C:\

To open Computer with the network drive selected: (substitute C for the drive letter of your network drive instead)
%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, c:\, /select

Hope this helps,
I tried the path you suggested but it does not work. I even went back to check to see if the path change had "taken" and it had. Any other suggestions? The way I login to this machien I dod not have local adminrights, but the fact that the path change was successfuyl implies that I don['t need local admin rights to make the change.


You might just make a shortcut of the network drive instead, and place it where you like for easy use. You should be able to right click on the drive and click on Create Shortcut.

Hope this helps,
Yes this works IF I navigate to Accessories/explorer.exe or use WindowsKey-E shortcut however, by habit I typically right click the start button and select Explorer. In this case it defaults to the Start Menu directory...would be nice to change startup location using this method of initiating explorer as well.
Hello IPrior, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You cannot change the Explore context menu item for the Start Menu since it encoded for the Start Menu All Programs folder only. However, you can add a item (ex: Window Explorer) to the Start Menu context menu of your choice. In step 10 of this tutorial, use the path C:\Windows\System32\explorer.exe (or one you like) for Windows Explorer.

Hope this helps,
I think I have a much easier solution:

  1. open Start\All Programs\Accessories and click on Windows Explorer
  2. select file\new\short cut from the menu bar
  3. a create new short cut wizard will take you through the steps, it is straight forward
  4. move newly created short cut to your desktop or Quick Launch toolbar
  5. edit short cut properties icon to whatever you want and folder views
Hello Bonzai, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Yes, you are correct that simply creating a shortcut would be easier. This is just another method in case the shortcut option is not applicable in the given situation.

I have added a TIP box in case others can do a shortcut instead though.

Thank you,
Hi Shawn,

Excellent tutorial! Could you tell me how I get Windows Explorer to default to the administrators documents folder? I think it's in the Desktop folder in Windows Explorer.... I have a folder there called Nicky and that has my documents folder in it and I want it to default to that documents folder. It used to default to that until I installed a program which then created another documents folder and ignored the one that had my files in it! Sorry if it's a complicated request!
Hello Nicky, and welcome to Vista Forums.

You might check the program that you have installed to see if it has a option to change the path of where it saves it files to where you have changed the location of your Documents folder at. If the program does not have that option, then you will need to restore the default location of your Documents folder to prevent issues with it using OPTION THREE in this tutorial.

You can use example 3 in the tutorial here for this. You will just need to substitute the path for the path of your Documents folder instead.

Hope this helps,
Hello Bpo, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Could you tell us what you were trying to do, and what part in the tutorial did not work for you?

Please double check to make sure that you did not have a typo in the path. It's real easy to miss a space or have a space in the path where there should not be with some of them being so long.