Edit regarding the bounty: I'll accept a working answer that is either command line or programmatically opening explorer, since I'm launching these windows from a program I wrote.

I need to open Windows Explorer in Windows 7 from the command line with the following configuration:

  • Root path set to c:\dev
  • Navigation pane visible (on the left; I believe it's called the folders pane in XP?)

In windows XP, the following command accomplished the task:

explorer.exe /e,/root,c:\dev

In Windows 7 the same command opens Explorer but the Favorites, Libraries, Homegroup, Computer, and Network links are visible in the navigation pane. How can I make them go away for just this window I'm opening? It's not an acceptable solution to require changing a Windows setting that affects other Explorer windows.

Edit: Here's a picture of the problem. Normally I want the links I outlined in the red box, but for a specific rooted folder they just get in the way.

Navigation pane problems


How can I make them go away for just this window I'm opening?

I don't really think you can. All the extra stuff in the left-pane is a standard part of the Win7 explorer. Any portions of it that you can turn off are turned off globally for all explorer instances in that user's profile. I don't think there has ever been a supported way to turn off explorer features on a per-instance basis.

You might be able to get down and dirty with window handles and Win32 APIs to tweak or hide the widgets that you don't want seen once you've opened your instance. But I can't really give you any pointers where to begin with that.


AFAIK there's no solution to organizing the Navigation pane per Explorer instance.

Since your wish is to free up space in the pane, the next best thing is to clear out the items that you never use. You can create .reg files to remove or add back these items.

The article Remove Favorites, Libraries, and Homegroup from Navigation Pane shows how you can achieve the following:


Here are the contents for the .reg files that will switch on/off items in the Navigation pane:

Remove Favorites

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Restore Favorites

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Remove Libraries

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Restore Libraries

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


To remove Homegroup (and stop Homegroup networking functionality):

  1. Go to Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center -> HomeGroup, and click on Leave the homegroup link to unjoin from any existing home group.
    Note: If the home group are shared and hosted from the PC, all HomeGroup connections will be disconnected.
  2. Click on Leave the homegroup and confirm. In the future, if you want to use Homegroup networking you can create a homegroup using this same dialog.
  3. Go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools, and double click on Services. Alternatively, type services.msc in Start Search.
  4. For each of the following two services:
    HomeGroup Listener
    HomeGroup Provider
    Do the following:
    Stop the service, and then double click on the service to open Properties dialog, and set its Startup type to Disabled. Click OK when done. In order to reinstate Homegroup functionality in the future, you will want to set the Startup type back to Manual.
  5. The HomeGroup icon and group will no longer be shown in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer in Windows 7. Note that this does not interrupt "traditional" windows networking functionality (e.g., Map Network Drive).
  • -1: I use those icons all the time, which is why I stated 3 times that this type of answer is the only one I really don't have a use for. The only time I'm not using them is in a dedicated root folder view. – Sam Harwell Jan 25 '10 at 7:36
  • 2
    @280Z28: There's what you want, and there's what is. There's also no call for you to downvote people who are just trying to help. Especially when this answer is the best you'll get for the stated problem. Otherwise the only solution is use an already existing Explorer replacement and forget Explorer. – harrymc Jan 25 '10 at 8:32

Not sure what exactly you really wanted. But I think this will help auto expanding the folder in Windows 7

alt text

ps: to enable this go to Tool... > Folder Options and check the expand sub folder. And I guess you get get rid off those that you don't want to see

  • That's useful, but doesn't address the problem I'm having. I think the picture I posted came after you posted this answer - does it explain things better? – Sam Harwell Jan 20 '10 at 1:43
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    AHHH! THANK YOU FOR THAT! I know it didn't really answer the OP's question, but you solved an annoying problem for me that I hadn't figured out yet! Upvoted. – eidylon Jan 20 '10 at 2:25

I don't think it's possible for only one window, if you would achieve this it would be global anyway.


A solution could be to use the start command. For example:

start "whatever" /min c:\Windows

Now the folder Windows will open with the minimized option.

  • Only thing that works for me on Win7-x64. For my application I had to add %comspec% /k before the start and changed /min to /b. – martineau Nov 7 '14 at 0:15

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