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When I type "bash" to the windows explorer address bar and hit Enter, it opens the shell in that directory. Often I find myself wanting to work on files with windows programs in the working directory I reached through shell. Is there an easy way to open explorer from the location reached through shell?

1
  • lets say I navigate in shell to /mnt/c/Users/adam/Dropbox/folder and I want to work in that directory, I would like to open explorer at that exact location
    – wesalius
    Jul 13, 2018 at 21:24

12 Answers 12

119

To open the current directory in Explorer - use the following (WSL sets the Windows path by itself):

explorer.exe .

You can set alias with .bashrc for a custom command:

echo 'alias explorer="explorer.exe ."' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Now just use:

explorer 

to open the current working directory in Windows Explorer.

6
  • 8
    This opens explorer to C:\Windows\System32 folder. Am I missing something?
    – panta82
    Mar 23, 2019 at 10:15
  • 2
    @panta82, if you run this comand inside linux emulated directory, explorer.exe can't interprete path to it, so it opens default location. But in future releases Microsoft team promises to integrate linux directories in to windows explorer, so it possible to start working then. Mar 26, 2019 at 13:35
  • it just opens system32 folder no matter where i open it from unless i'm in mnt/ then it opens correct counter part May 15, 2019 at 1:18
  • @Umer, yes thats right, you can't open linux emulated directory, only mounted mnt/. But you can link to /mnt/c/any_win_path with symbol link: ln -s in linux home, then it works inside home. May 17, 2019 at 13:01
  • 1
    alias explorer='explorer.exe wslpath -w "$PWD"'
    – Ted
    Nov 21, 2019 at 1:28
35

Microsoft provides a binary wslpath for exactly this purpose.

explorer.exe `wslpath -w "$PWD"`

Cribbing from the github issue asking for usage info, there are 4 options - -a, -u, -w and -m.

wslpath usage:
    -a    force result to absolute path format
    -u    translate from a Windows path to a WSL path (default)
    -w    translate from a WSL path to a Windows path
    -m    translate from a WSL path to a Windows path, with ‘/’ instead of ‘\\’

    EX: wslpath ‘c:\users’
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  • is there opposote for wslpath? ex. to pass convert path from windows in wsl?
    – Psychozoic
    Feb 19, 2019 at 14:22
  • @Psychozoic that would be wslpath -u to convert from a windows path to a wsl path
    – laverya
    Jul 30, 2019 at 17:56
  • Nice. So you can create a bash open <path> command by adding the following to ~/.bash_aliases: function open { explorer.exe `wslpath -w "$1"` } Oct 5, 2020 at 0:49
  • But when do you need this? explorer.exe . also works just fine.
    – Albert
    Dec 16, 2020 at 12:33
  • Well, at time of answer explorer.exe . did not work just fine. And while it's now magic, other commands will still require the use of wslpath.
    – laverya
    Dec 18, 2020 at 21:48
27

For WSL2 you can access to home directory from windows like this :

\\wsl$

Sorry to be late at the party!

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  • 3
    Nice tip, but it doesn't answer the question at all.
    – Samuel
    Mar 9, 2021 at 16:53
4

From a WSL shell prompt, run

explorer.exe "Windows path"

such as

explorer.exe L:

If L: maps to your desired directory (any unused drive letter may be used for this). You can map to network drives within Explorer, or to a local folder with SUBST.

Problem is, your /home/USERNAME/ folder in WSL appears to Windows something like C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\Packages\CanonicalGroupLimited.Ubuntu18.04onWindows_79rhkp1fndgsc\LocalState\rootfs\home\tester . You could use SUBST to turn this into a drive letter a la SUBST L: C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\Packages\CanonicalGroupLimited.Ubuntu18.04onWindows_79rhkp1fndgsc\LocalState\rootfs\home\tester then use a relative path from L: for your destination.

Let's say you have a WSL folder /home/YOURUSERNAME/acme/novelties . You could get close to there with explorer.exe L: but explorer.exe L:acme or explorer.exe acme\novelties will not bring you to where you wish to be, and instead will bring you to your Windows user Documents folder, instead.

4

I have created a little tool called eopen to open Explorer easily. https://github.com/ko1nksm/eopen

Usage: eopen [options] [file | directory | uri]

options:
  -e, --editor      Open the file in text editor ($EOPEN_EDITOR)
  -n, --new         Open the specified directory in new instance of explorer
      --sudo        Use sudo to write the unowned file
  -v, --version     Display the version
  -h, --help        You're looking at it

note:
  The file or the directory allows linux and windows path.
  (e.g. /etc/hosts, C:/Windows/System32/drivers/etc/hosts)

  The uri must start with protocol schema. (e.g http:, https:)

And here are another solution. https://github.com/4U6U57/wsl-open

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  • This looks awesome!
    – nowox
    Aug 7, 2020 at 13:50
3

Taking the best of partial answers above from @sole-sensei and @laverya, add the following alias to your ~/.bash_aliases (or if for some strange reason you don't want/have a separate aliases file, ~/.bashrc):

 alias explorer='explorer.exe `wslpath -w "$PWD"`'

If you don't mind tagging it onto the end (I don't because I like to keep it clean and organized):

 echo 'alias explorer="explorer.exe ."' >> ~/.bash_aliases
 source ~/.bash_aliases

Now if we could just get the new Windows Terminal to support ctrl-C and ctrl-V (right-click?! Really Microsoft?!?) we'd be really set!

2

Setup by running this command :

echo "alias open='explorer.exe'" >> ~/.bashrc

Usage :

open 'directory name'

While similar to previous answers it allows you to manually define the path which is more usual for command line tools. Also I find this more intuitive and quicker to type than 'explorer'.

2

You can use wslview like this to open an explorer instance in CWD

wslview .

It is a feature from wslutilities and comes installed by default in newer Ubuntu WSL distros. It can be installed in almost all other popular distros.

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  • 2
    underrated answer
    – t7e
    May 29 at 0:18
1

I tend to use the command cmd.exe /c start . when upon you should see file explorer open in the dir you are in.

damo@laptop:/mnt/c/Windows/System32$ pwd
/mnt/c/Windows/System32    
damo@laptop:/mnt/c/Windows/System32$ cmd.exe /c start .
  <opens file explorer in c:\Windows\System32>
damo@laptop:/mnt/c/Windows/System32$ cd ~
damo@laptop:~$ pwd
/home/damo
damo@laptop:~$ cmd.exe /c start .
  <opens file explorer in c:\Windows\System32>
damo@laptop:~$ cd /mnt/c/stuff
damo@laptop:~$ cmd.exe /c start .
  <opens file explorer in c:\stuff>

I set up the following to create an alias alias start='cmd.exe /c start which then allow you to simply run start . from any directory.

1

This is my version of the code

explorer() {
    pwd -P | xargs wslpath -w | sed "s~C:\\\Users\\\User\\\Desktop~d:~" | xargs -0 explorer.exe
}

I use subst drives in Windows. The sed part convert this for you. If you don't use the feature, you can exclude it.

Note: I posted this answer even though there are many already because none of them covers symlink or subst drives.

0

Add this function below to your .bashrc:

e(){
    path=$(wslpath -w "$1")
    /mnt/c/Windows/explorer.exe "$path"
}
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  • 1
    Please don't use path as a variable name. In my case it overrode the original PATH on zsh and the shell pretty much unusable after running e
    – sudhackar
    Oct 25, 2021 at 12:09
0

A note about this explorer.exe . command: Found that it allows writing to home directory only. I wanted to edit some files in /etc/apache2, but it does not allow write there.

So my quick solution was to save to profile folder, then move with sudo mc utility to where I needed it to go.

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  • 1
    This answer might be helpful, but at the end you appended a new question: “ anyone - best simple "ctrl-v, ctrl-c" supporting editor? i fear vim, till now i use mc built in editor” I removed that and sadly I don’t think that can stand alone as a new question because it is an opinion-based software recommendation question. Perhaps you can use Nano? Lots of command line editors out there. Jan 6, 2021 at 4:53

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