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Can I launch URLs directly from the command line in Windows?

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migrated from Sep 6 '09 at 18:37

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I always thought iexplore would work i'm sure i've done it in the past loads of times, but it didn't. So, stick c:\program files\internet explorer, in the path and it will. Personally I make another environment variable for long boring stuff like MOREPATH="c:\program files\internet explorer". Then path=.......;%MOREPATH% That's in control panel..system..environment variables. now iexplore will damn well work! – barlop May 22 '11 at 17:38

6 Answers 6

Yes, with the start command. Example:

start ""

That will use the user's default browser.

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Remember to use start "" "some://url?with=special&chars=:->" otherwise things will break. – Joey Sep 6 '09 at 7:22
Nice, another nice feature for this solution is that you can also do start but I admit it will not always work. – ruffp Jun 2 at 7:00

What's "launch" in this context? You can start or the like, your default browser will come up and visit that URL -- is that what you mean?

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Here's a cheap approach that will work on XP at least:

"%PROGRAMFILES%\Internet Explorer\IExplore" ""
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Ouch... and no less. – harpo Sep 6 '09 at 5:09
first thing that came to mind...for no apparent reason whatsoever – David Andres Sep 6 '09 at 6:38
Cheap in what sense? – Kazark Aug 7 '14 at 18:19
@Kazark: cheap in that it opens up the URL in Internet Explorer as opposed to whatever the default browser happens to be. – David Andres Aug 11 '14 at 11:44

you can use


Interestingly only following combination are working for above url :


But following is not working :


I think it is because in the later example and are treated as files and it tries to find file and gives error on not finding it.

I think it is hardcoded for www. Any better guesses ?

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It's probably because start works for several applications (not only websites). providing at least www or http:// the start command links your URI to the HTTP protocol, while it could probably run other protocols. – Jeff Noel Aug 7 '14 at 18:22

You could use explorer <url> which will use your default browser.

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@ekaj Your right :/ First time i tried it it didn't work - for some reason it now worked ... comment deleted – DavidPostill Nov 24 '14 at 20:04

You've launched your url from a command-line directly (i.e. without running another program first).

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Is this C#? This does not work for me on Windows 7 using cmd.exe. – iglvzx Jun 6 '12 at 19:06
Tried this in PowerShell and it didn't work. Must be C#. Does this really answer the question? – Kazark Aug 7 '14 at 17:56

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