How to Start Windows Explorer with Different Options

This is old info but I needed to refer to it after my Windows reinstall so I’ll just put it here for easy reference.

Windows Explorer Command-Line Options


Explorer [/n] [/e] [(,)/root,<object>] [/select,<object>]

/n                Opens a new single-pane window for the default
selection. This is usually the root of the drive Windows
is installed on. If the window is already open, a
duplicate opens.

/e                Opens Windows Explorer in its default view.

/root,<object>    Opens a window view of the specified object.

/select,<object>  Opens a window view with the specified folder, file or
application selected.


Example 1:     Explorer /select,C:\TestDir\TestApp.exe

Opens a window view with TestApp selected.

Example 2:  Explorer /e,/root,C:\TestDir\TestApp.exe

This opens Explorer with C: expanded and TestApp selected.

Example 3:  Explorer /root,\\TestSvr\TestShare

Opens a window view of the specified share.

Example 4:  Explorer /root,\\TestSvr\TestShare,select,TestApp.exe





Here it is explained in a slightly different way:

This page was lifted from

Parameters are

separated by commas. Many combinations are allowed, but only a few examples are


Explorer.exe c:\                Open directory as a single pain of icons

Explorer.exe /e,c:\ Explore drive as 2 lists –

directories on left & files on right

Explorer.exe /e,/root,c:\ Explore drive without showing other drives

Explorer.exe /n,/e,/select Opens showing only drives

Explorer.exe /e,/idlist,%I,%L From Folder\..\Explore in the registry

%I – ID number

%L – Long filename

Explorer.exe /e,DriveOrDirectory

Explorer.exe /e,/root,directory,sub-directory

Explorer.exe /e,/root,directory,/select,sub-directory


List (explorer) view, Show large icons if missing (Open view)


Sets the top level folder.


Specifies that the directory should be selected without displaying its





Do not open the selected directory, no effect on NT


Expects an ID/handle. May help with cacheing. By itself, opens the

desktop as icons.


Stops display of window (I don’t know why this is useful)

Windows Explorer contains 7 icons. In 95 and NT, the 3rd and 4th are

different. Use

for more options.


I have not found a single reference explaining all the options. Some

parameters were found by searching the registry, some are from the sources

below, and a few are from browsing the executable.

  • C:\WINDOWS\TIPS.TXT (95 only)

    provides basic command line help. Search for explorer.

  • Additional notes are provided here.

Author: Robert Clemenzi –

– CommandLineOptions.htm

URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / WinExplorer

/ CommandLineOptions.htm

One Comment

  1. […] Put  Windows Explorer in the Quicklaunch toolbar and change the startup options target to “%SystemRoot%explorer.exe /e,c:aaa”. More examples. […]

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