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.
in shortcut properties, the type target is 'Folder', and this open in same window, to change behavior put parameter and path in field 'Target':
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.
Selecting the folder on the left, ctrl + n, alt + tab, enter.
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:
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:
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".
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).