Tuesday, May 06, 2008

How To Change The Windows Explorer Start Location

NOTE: For some odd reason, this does not work on some systems. Im trying to figure out why that is, but until then, this guide should only be brain food and shoulnt be expected to work. Sorry!

After Googling around and not coming up with any indications as to how to change the location Windows Explorer automatically opens when you right-click the Start button and choose Explore or Open, I decided to do some digging through the registry and found out how to change both of them.

If you are a hands-on person who isnt afraid to mess around with your registry and possibly screw up your computer, open up the registry editor (type regedit into the run box and start it), then navigate to the key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell. In this key are two subkeys named explore and open. Select the key you want to change and then select the command subkey. In this key, you will find a (Default) value. Edit it to whatever command-line command you want Windows to run when you click the option in the right-click menu.

While this allows you to use any program instead of just Explorer, its still recommended that you keep using it (at least for one of the options) for support reasons and old times sake. If you need a list of options supported by Explorer, you can find them here or in the incomplete Microsoft list. If you are like me, you just wanted to change the location it starts up in and have no interest in all the other options. In that case, you can just copy the following:

%SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /separate,/e,C:\Program Files

Replace the bold location with the location youd like Explorer to start in. This registry hack is based on Windows Vista, but Im fairly sure itll work in XP as well. In case you dont like the change, the default value for Explore is %SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /separate,/e,/idlist,%I,%L and Open is %SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /separate,/idlist,%I,%L.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

In "How To Change The Windows Explorer Start Location" your method involves changing the registery. I tried the command lines you gave for the registry. Only instead of changing the registry, I simply added those perameters to the Target in the properties of the Explorer short cut. For example, I wanted Explore to open at the C: drive location. so I added this to the taret: /separate,/e,C:\
so that the entire Target was as follows: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /separate,/e,C:\
This produced the result that when I opened Explore, the left pane would show the expanded C: drive showing the first-level, or parent folders of the C: drive.

I really would prefer that Explorer starts with the left pane showing all the drives without having any particular drive expanded. For example the left pane would show (A:), (C:), (D:) etc. along with their respective drive icons, each in a collapsed state (no expanded view of any folders). To do this, I simply add the following to the Target of the Explorer shortcut properties: /separate,/e,
(NOTE that there is a comma "," after the "e". Without the comma, I won't get the desired view.)
So, the entire command line for the Target would be: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /separate,/e,