It is possible to open a specific path using the explorer command line.

What is less clear is how to open one of the libraries listed in the side pane, like 'Favorites', 'Pictures', 'Desktop' or 'Computer'.

I tried simply passing those names, but that always seems to open up 'My Documents'.


Opening shell folders from the command line

The folders you're referring to are shell folders, and you can't open them by simply passing their name as a parameter. A special syntax is required:

explorer shell:<FolderName>

The entire list is stored in the following registry key in Windows Vista and later:


Each subkey is a Globally unique identifier (GUID). The Name value is what you can use in the shell: syntax, which works regardless of the locale. See the related article below for other possible values (or just check the registry yourself).


  • Computer shell folder:

    explorer shell:MyComputerFolder

    You can also achieve the same result by using the shell folder GUID:

    explorer /e,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
  • Favorites shell folder (not to be confused with Internet Explorer favorites):

    explorer shell:Links
  • Pictures library:

    explorer shell:PicturesLibrary

Further reading

  • The 'shell' syntax ain't working for me. The CLSID approach does. I'm currently programming a solution which looks up the CLSID. It is also important to take into account localization. Mar 8 '14 at 18:01
  • @StevenJeuris What results are you getting? It does work for me in Windows 7. The shell: syntax works regardless of the locale.
    – and31415
    Mar 8 '14 at 18:03
  • That's weird, now they work. Maybe it didn't temporarily since I'm messing with the registry simultaneously for the implementation I just mentioned. However, explorer shell:Favorites opens up the 'Favorites' folder in my user account folder, not the 'Favorites' star shell folder. Mar 8 '14 at 18:06
  • @StevenJeuris The Favorites folder is a per-user folder. Even if the path looks different in Windows Explorer address bar, you're accessing the very same folder.
    – and31415
    Mar 8 '14 at 18:08
  • Nope, I am talking about the list of 'Favorite' locations in the sidebar. The one with the star. By default it contains Desktop I believe, and if you install e.g. Dropbox it is added there. Mar 8 '14 at 18:10

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