If I open certain folders (seems to be User folder and any default folder inside it) in any way but manually navigating from C:\ (quick access, shortcut, etc), clicking on the address bar of the explorer window gives me an amazingly useful address:

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As it's missing the C:\Users\Username\ prefix, I can't manipulate the address at all. If I want to navigate to C:\Users\Username\FolderX, I can't swap "Downloads" for "FolderX" in the address bar because the full path isn't there -- typing in "FolderX" takes me nowhere. Typing ..\ to get to the parent directory takes me to This PC instead of Users. I have to manually type out the full path in order to do anything.

I've tried Enabling "Display the full path in the title bar" in Folder Options>View, but that (unsurprisingly) doesn't change the text of the address bar when focused -- only the title. Is there any way to force the address bar to show the full path when focused? Preferably without adding the full path to the title bar, if possible.


Those folders are not the traditional folders. They are "Libraries". Here is a link for reference:

Windows 7 Libraries: Frequently Asked Questions


By default, they will be pointed to the user profile corresponding location. We could right click those folders, choose "Properties", "Location" to verify this. We could open a sub folder in those libraries folders then we will get those folders' actual location.

  • The user/downloads/desktop folders aren't libraries (only documents/pictures/music/videos are) and they still have the condensed address bar. If I remove the Documents folder from the Documents Library, it still shows a condensed path as well. I don't think this is related to libraries. Also, the reasoning behind this is speed/convenience -- opening a sub-folder to get access to the full path is anything but.
    – Drew
    May 3 '17 at 17:21
  • @Drew You can create shortcuts to these folders and when accessed through the shortcuts they should behave as normal. Make sure the shortcuts target the actual folders, but the shell locations. May 4 '17 at 3:36
  • @Twisty Is there any way to pin those shortcuts to the quick access sidebar in the file explorer?
    – Drew
    May 4 '17 at 5:19
  • Should be. For that matter why don't you try dragging (pinning) the actual folders there and see if that works? May 4 '17 at 11:51
  • +1 for open a sub folder to see the full path. So far this is the simplest way I've found to identify the path. Nov 9 '17 at 17:55

These special folders are called KnownFolders by the Windows Shell.

The mappings of the KnownFolders to the ParsingName are stored in the registry here:


The key names are the GUIDs for the KnownFolder, see below.

To make Explorer stop opening the KnownFolder rather than the opening drive path as a normal folder, change its ParsingName property by removing either the shell::: or :: from the beginning, but leaving the rest of it as-is.

So to change Downloads, open the following key:


Change ParsingName from this:


to this:


You can also just delete the ParsingName property, but I don't recommend this since if you ever want to undo the change, you will have to find your backup. If you leave the GUID, you can just add shell::: or :: at the beginning. (They are interchangeable.)

For changes to take effect, you need to log out and back in or restart.

Here are GUIDs for some of the common folders:

User Profile Root (C:\Users\<username>\)











For the full list, see the Microsoft Docs page:


Unfortunately Windows 10 does not show the full path when you navigate to the file location via the Library folder. In Windows 7 you can. With Windows 10 you have to navigate to the file from the root: c:\users\username... and then you can see the full path. I don't know why there is a difference between the versions.

  • This is not correct. Windows 7 also behaved the same way in that the Address Bar doesn't show the full path when clicked from within the 'root' of a Library. Nov 9 '17 at 17:56

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