Use The Command Prompt To Open And Display Folder Contents In Windows Explorer



One great feature of Windows is the capability to open any folder location in a Command prompt, from Windows Explorer, by right clicking on a folder and selecting "Command Prompt Here".


But if you use Windows command prompt often, there may be times when you want the reverse to happen…meaning you want to open a folder location from the command prompt, and have the folder and it's contents displayed in Windows Explorer.





To do this, open a command prompt from the keyboard by typing Win+R, or click on Start \ Run then type cmd in the run box and click OK.

Navigate to the folder you want displayed in Windows Explorer by using the Change Directory command "cd" (with out the quotes).

In the below screen shot I have cd to the Windows folder.


Now type the following command…

start .

Note: above command is typed as start, followed by a space, followed by a period.


…and Windows Explorer will open to the folder location that you were in at the command prompt, and display it's contents.


If you want Windows Explorer to open the parent folder of the current location, just type

start ..


In the below screenshot, the root of C:\ is the parent folder of Windows.


This trick is pretty cool and very useful for any command line geek.

Also, at the beginning of this article, I mentioned the capability to open a folder location in a Command prompt, by right clicking on a folder and selecting "Command Prompt Here".

In Vista, it is included by default, but in XP it is not. If you are missing this option in XP, you can add it to the context menu by following these steps:

  • Click on Start \Run then type regedit and click OK
  • In the left menu tree, go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell
  • Right click on shell and select New \ Key
  • Name the key Open Command Prompt Here
  • Right click on the newly created key (Open Command Prompt Here) and select New \ Key
  • Name the new key command
  • Select the newly created command key and double-click on default value
  • Enter cmd.exe /k cd %1 and click on Ok

That's all there is to it!

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Dylan Austin


Whenever I have a problem, I sing. Then I realize my voice is worse than my problem.

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