Open Explorer for Specific Targets

Explorer is really all about navigation. It's important to work with the different views, but they just represent ways to help you find the right file for the job. Effective navigation therefore becomes a very valuable tool in helping you get your work done more quickly. One technique that can help enhance navigation skills is opening Explorer for a specific target.

Explorer opens to display the contents of a specific target folder, depending on the method you've used to open Explorer. For example, if you were to open Explorer from the Accessories menu, it shows the contents of the My Documents folder. The My Documents folder is also selected when you right-click My Documents on the Start menu (or on the Desktop) and then choose Explore from the shortcut menu.

Alternatively, if you right-click the My Computer icon and choose Explore, the My Computer folder is selected. If you choose Explore after right-clicking the Start Menu, it opens at the Start Menu folder for the currently logged-on user. You get the idea.

But there are times when you might want to launch Explorer for a different target folder. This can help you quickly locate a file without having to click on folder after folder to navigate to the right one. For example, you might want to immediately launch to a folder that is rather deep in the directory hierarchy, such as: C:\Documents and Settings\My Documents\ Current Events\Election Results\Ohio. If you were to open Explorer by right-clicking My Computer, you'd be in for a lot of scrolling and clicking to get to your intended folder.

Instead, you can launch Explorer directly to the \Ohio folder by using the Run dialog box. You can then type explorer into the Open: entry field and then specify how Explorer will behave by using one of the switches in Table 7-1.

Table 7-1. You Can Tailor Explorer Behavior with These Commands


What It Does


Opens Explorer to a folder specified by the path variable (see example).


Opens Windows Explorer in single-pane view, similar to the view you see when you double-click the My Computer icon from your Desktop.


Opens Windows Explorer in multipane view, which is the default view when you open Explorer using any of the methods described in this chapter, including opening it through the Start menu.


Modifies the target at which Explorer opens. For example, you might specify a UNC path to open Windows Explorer with the shared network folder as root of the view.


Tells Windows Explorer to select the file or folder specified by the path following the switch.

If you use this technique, make sure you precede the switch with a space. So to complete the previous example, you could use this command to open the desired folder:

 explorer C:\Documents and Settings\My Documents\Current Events\Election Results\Ohio\ 

What's more, you don't even have to type the "explorer" part. All that's necessary here is the path to the target folder.

Now, you're probably thinking that you're better off just navigating through the folder hierarchy rather than going through all that effort just to open a simple folder. And if you were just trying to locate the folder once, you'd be right. But remember that the Run dialog box keeps a history of commands you've entered, so next time you use this command, you won't have to type at all. Efficient? Yes. Worth the effort? Absolutely.

You could also use these same switches at the Command Prompt. It is more difficult, though, to save long strings of typed commands from one session to the next like the Run dialog box can. But then again, if you're using the Command Prompt, you probably don't care.

Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
ISBN: 013167983X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 275
Authors: Brian Culp © 2008-2017.
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