With directories you can right click -> Open in new window, however I would like to know whether there is an easier shortcut, because this is an action that I perform all the time.


Hold down Ctrl and double click the file/folder to open in a new window.

You can also hold Ctrl and hit Enter on a highlighted folder to accomplish the same thing (In case you like to browse with your keyboard)

Let me know if thats what you needed!

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  • 1
    Thank you, this does work for normal files, although, is there a short cut that works for the sidebar folders too? Screenshot of sidebar > link – Leon W Mar 10 '17 at 20:46
  • @leonW I am not sure. From what I can find so far, you cannot do it with native Windows Explorer. Although, I will be sure to let you know if I find something. – Cheesus Crust Mar 10 '17 at 20:56
  • @LeonW No problem, feel free to share if you figure anything out as well! – Cheesus Crust Mar 10 '17 at 21:26
  • Ctrl and double click the file/folder seems only to work on the left side. If I do that on the right side in my file explorer, it does not open a new windows. Ctrl and Enter works also on the right side. (Win 10 build 1803). – PeterCo Dec 24 '18 at 13:13
  • CTRL+ENTER: this is the shortcut of the year! +10 – Sylvain Rodrigue Aug 11 '19 at 10:24


in shortcut properties, the type target is 'Folder', and this open in same window, to change behavior put parameter and path in field 'Target':

before path

C:\Windows\explorer.exe /n,

like this

C:\Windows\explorer.exe /n, "C:\Users\USER-NAME\Downloads"


C:\Windows\explorer.exe /n, C:\Users\USER-NAME\Downloads

this change target type to application located to explorer then explorer.exe get's parameter N to open your custom path to folder in new window.

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Selecting the folder on the left, ctrl + n, alt + tab, enter.

Shoutout to shaunessyqueen https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_vista-files/is-there-a-keyboard-shortcut-to-open-a-folder-in-a/c45311d0-7948-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5?auth=1

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You can change the settings for Windows Explorer so that it always opens folders in a new window. To do this, start by going into the View tab and then click Options:

enter image description here

When you click on Options, a "Folder Options" window will open. You can then click "Open each folder in its own window" and then click OK or Apply to save the settings:

enter image description here

Once you've done this, every time you double-click on a folder it will open in a new window. You can always change this setting back by doing the same thing and selecting "Open each folder in the same window".

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  • Thank you for the detailed instructions. Although I was looking for a shortcut rather than a permanent setting, I will be sure to use this trick in the future when organising files and folders. Thanks. – Leon W Mar 11 '17 at 11:30

Just in case anyone else stumbles open this post: I just use ctrl + n with nothing selected to open a new window of the current window, and then I click the sidebar folder I would like to open. Alternatively, you could use Auto Hot Key to map a few shortcuts to common folders (for example, I like to use ctrl + windows key + d for documents).

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