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Is there an exhaustive list of command-line switches for Windows Explorer? I know /separate is undocumented in this knowledgebase article as well as this one.

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I would suggest looking at Geoff Chappell's page about explorer's command line switches. It lists all of the switches that Justin mentions along with the /idlist switch (though using this requires raw memory access, so it would probably be more interesting on SO than here on SU). The syntax for each switch is given, and some esoteric details regarding item specifiers are also explained.

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  • /separate - Launches this explorer instance as a separate process.
  • /select [object] - selects the file or folder in the new explorer window
  • Opens a new single-pane Window for the default selection. This is usually the root of the drive on which Windows is installed.
  • /e Starts - Windows Explorer using its default view.
  • /root - Opens a window view of the specified object.
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    It might not be obvious for the reader, but you need to append a comma after the command line switch. For instance: explorer /seperate C:\temp is not valid and will open a default location. You need to use explorer /seperate, C:\temp.
    – Sebazzz
    Feb 8 '17 at 12:06
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    @Sebazzz FYI: it’s /separate, not /seperate.
    – Martijn
    Aug 29 '18 at 20:24
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    Oddly enough /seperate works just like /separate does. MS must have put in a special case for people that don't spell very well.
    – Night Owl
    May 28 '19 at 7:37
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I looked at my EXPLORER.EXE as per Windows 7, 64bit (file version 6.1.7601.17514) with the hex editor HxD and searched /SELECT in UTF16-LE encoding and expected the other potential parameters to be around that. Why has nobody else done this before? What I found:

  • /EXPAND - will open a specific folder and will interpret environment variables in the text. Examples:
    • /EXPAND,%windir% will open the Windows folder.
    • /EXPAND,%programfiles%\Java will open your Java folder (without the hassle of spaces in the path).
  • /FACTORY - no clue: it takes a while to start, but I don't see what has changed. Expected a factory reset of all settings, but different folder views are still intact.

The other parameters I found (/N, /E, /ROOT, /IDLIST, /SELECT and /SEPARATE) are already mentioned. I did neither find /SEPERATE, nor /NOUACCHECK. Also keep in mind: just because I found those texts doesn't mean Explorer's code also makes use of each one.


As per Windows 10, 64bit (file version 10.0.19041.844) I also found more parameters and I have no clue on any of them. The case is exactly the one found in the binary:

  • /LOADSAVEDWINDOWS
  • /NoShellRegistrationCheck
  • /NoUACCheck
  • /NoShellRegistrationAndUACCheck
  • /RunFirstLogonAnim
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This will probably help someone.

if you are trying to open a network path that is a hidden or administrative share, e.g. ends with "$", e.g. \sharedNetworkPath\HiddenFolder$

Then this works:

explorer.exe /root, \\sharedNetworkPath\HiddenFolder$

but this doesn't

explorer.exe /select, \\sharedNetworkPath\HiddenFolder$

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