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.


5 Answers 5


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.

  • /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.
  • 18
    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, 2017 at 12:06
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    @Sebazzz FYI: it’s /separate, not /seperate.
    – Martijn
    Aug 29, 2018 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, 2019 at 7:37

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:

  • /NoShellRegistrationCheck
  • /NoUACCheck
  • /NoShellRegistrationAndUACCheck
  • /RunFirstLogonAnim
  • 1
    A Factory is used to make COM objects. See docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/com/…. May 16, 2021 at 0:35
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    If you hit Win+R and run anything, its parent process is explorer.exe /LOADSAVEDWINDOWS. Jan 20, 2022 at 22:58
  • @MartinBraun, that is absolutely not true, the method by which a child process is executed does not affect the child's parent process command line. If explorer.exe was launched with only "/LOADSAVEDWINDOWS" ALL CHILD PROCESSES have a parent process command-line with that value, every other case will not, such as when I have tried just now.
    – Al Longley
    Apr 4, 2023 at 13:45

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$

  • Thank you so much. This would not work explorer "/select,\\server\\drive$\path\\file.xlsx" and explorer "/root,\\server\\drive$\path\\file.xlsx" opened the file instead of selecting. But you answer clued me onto trying explorer /select, "\\server\\drive$\path\\file.xlsx" which worked perfectly!
    – Deco
    Aug 23, 2022 at 2:47

Well, noUACcheck doesn't work as one might expect. I thought it might prevent the user access chack from being displayed, but it did't in my experiment. Neither does /NoShellRegistrationAndUACCheck. Might be because I' running explorer under windows 7. Trying to set a flag to allow windows explorer to open without the UAC prompt.

  • 2
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    – Community Bot
    Jan 22, 2022 at 15:27
  • Windows Explorer normally shouldn't trigger a UAC prompt when opening. In fact, it's nigh impossible to launch an elevated explorer.exe process at all. Mar 11 at 14:49

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