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Windows 7 tricks: 20 top tips and tweaks

November 11, 2009 06:00 AM ET

Set a new Windows Explorer launch folder

When you run Windows Explorer, it always opens to the Libraries folder. That's fine if you use Microsoft's default file organization, which designates Libraries as the overall container for your folders.

Changing the default Explorer location
Changing the default Explorer location.
Click to view larger image.

But what if you don't? You might prefer to have Windows Explorer open to Computer or any other folder you choose. Here's how to do it:

1. Right-click the Windows Explorer icon on the taskbar (it's the one that looks like a folder), and then right-click the Windows Explorer icon from the context menu that appears and select Properties. The Windows Explorer Properties dialog box appears.

2. You'll have to edit the Target field on the Shortcut tab of this dialog box in order to change the default location at which Explorer opens.

If you want Explorer to open to a specific folder, simply enter the name of the folder, substituting your folder name for Folder, below, like this:

%windir%\explorer.exe c:\Folder

So to open Explorer to the folder named Budget, you would type this in the Target field:

%windir%\explorer.exe c:\Budget

If you want Explorer to open to special, pre-set locations, such as Computer, you'll need to enter special syntax in the Target field. Following is a list of three common locations and the syntax to use, followed by the syntax for the Libraries folder in case you ever want to revert to the default.

  • Computer: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
  • My Documents:%windir%\explorer.exe ::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
  • Network: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
  • Libraries: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe

3. After you've changed the Target field, click OK. Next time you launch Windows Explorer, it will open to the new location you've designated.

Show all your drives in Windows Explorer

Depending on your system settings, when you go to Computer in Windows Explorer, you may be in for a shock -- you may not see all your drives such as memory card readers if those drives are empty. If this disconcerts you, there's a simple way for you to see them even if there's nothing there:

Showing empty drives
Having Explorer show empty drives.
Click to view larger image.

1. Launch Windows Explorer and press the Alt button to reveal the top menu.

2. Select Tools --> Folder Options and click the View tab.

3. Under "Advanced settings," uncheck the box next to "Hide empty drives in the Computer folder." Click OK. The drives will now always be visible.



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