Saturday, July 3, 2010

How to Change the Default Startup Location for Windows Explorer in Windows 7

One of the new changes to Windows 7 was the addition of Libraries. As such, Microsoft has hopes that users will start to use these more and more often to “link” common files and folders from several locations on their current hard drive and on external/network drives. Thus, as these Libraries are supposed to be more useful to the end users, it makes some sense that the default location for Windows Explorer starts up in the user’s Library location. However, for those who are still used to the way the Windows Explorer started up in Windows XP and Vista, you may have a hard time transitioning to this method. Fear not, because I’ve created this Windows 7 How-To article to solve just that problem. It won’t take too much time and isn’t very complicated either.


(In the above discussion, I describe Windows Libraries very simply when in fact Windows Libraries are a bit more complex than what I made them out to be. I did this on purpose as we don’t really need to get into depth of what Windows 7 Libraries are to further understand the rest of this article, and I didn’t want to waste an entire page writing about them in this article. However, I plan on doing a Windows 7 Up-Close article on Windows 7 Libraries, so stay tuned for more information. I’ll also update this article with further info.)


Of course, you could easily open a Windows Explorer window that starts in the traditional “My Computer” mode by simply using the keyboard combination: Windows Key + E. That will, as with Windows XP and Vista, open an Explorer window that starts in the Computer location.


(Side Note: If you’re wondering what opening Explorer in Computer location is, I’m simply referring to the screen that shows all of your hard drives, USB dongles, CD drives, etc.)

However, opening Windows Explorer up using the Start Menu shortcut or the Windows 7 Taskbar icon is a bit of a different story. Let’s see how we can change that.


1. Open up the Windows Explorer shortcuts property dialog box. Open the Start Menu, type “Explorer,” right click on Windows Explorer, click properties.


2. Once the Properties dialog box is open, on the main tab/screen you will notice a text box with a label “Target.” Entering in the following shortcuts will allow for several different locations to start Windows Explorer in:


My Computer. %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /E,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

My Documents. %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /N,::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}

Furthermore, you can also set Windows Explorer to essentially open any folder location on your computer using the following shortcut:


%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe [Folder Path]


Using these methods, you can have Windows Explorer open up in a myriad of different locations. However, if you happen to find that you actually miss the Windows 7 Libraries version, you can easily go back by replacing the Target location with "%windir%\explorer.exe” and you’re back to normal.


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