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I often find that I need the full path of file, often when that file is on the desktop/start menu (i.e., not viewing within Explorer). (There's a related question but it's asking for a solution in Explorer. I want solutions that'll work everywhere).

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The freeware shell extension ClipPath can do this, simply right click the file and select Clip Path:

alt text

ClipPath (Version 2.1)

As a Programmer, we are often required to set the path or classpath Environment variables. But Windows Operating does not allow us to copy the full path of a file or a folder,say, c:\temp\ to clipboard so that we can paste the same anywhere we require.

Clip Path utility tries to solve these problems. It is a windows Shell Extension Program. Once installed, you can copy full path of a file or folder to clipboard.

Support for copying path of multiple files or folders is also provided.

Support for UNIX style path (/) is also provided.

In Windows Vista and 7, this is not needed. You can simply hold down the Shift key, right-click the file and select Copy as path:

alt text

not sure if this works in the Start menu though, maybe someone can clarify.

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Great answer! I thought I'd heard that this was built-into Win7. – Clay Nichols Jan 22 '10 at 5:49
Yep, just tricky to find :) – John T Jan 22 '10 at 5:50
Interesting, because the numerous utilities I see only copy Windows style path. Only Synesis' extension can copy in Unix style (useful to paste in strings of most languages), but it doesn't work in Win7. And I guess that Win7's trick doesn't copy in Unix style either. Alas, the site you link to doesn't respond right now. – PhiLho Mar 29 '11 at 9:23
Actually, all of these SHIFT tricks do not work, Clippath was smart enough to remove the Mapped drive letter of mapped network shares and copy the entire network path. Very useful for emailing links to items on file shares where others would not have the same drive mapped... Clippath also had options to copy outlook compatible links as well as forward or backward slashes... – user153489 Aug 20 '12 at 20:26

It's sucks having to press the Shift key everytime that you want to copy a path in Windows 7 (I need to do this a lot at my job). I use ClipboardPath instead. It works for windows 7 and others versions.

There's this other too, but I didn't try it:

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Are you lazy to hold SHIFT and prefer tool that you could do without? – Boris_yo Mar 17 '12 at 7:36

I wrote my own shell extension to do this:

It can also translate selected paths to URL's using the values in a registry key, copy the content of text files, toggle the read-only flag, and update the modified date.

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