12 Ways to Open File Explorer in Windows 10

The Windows 10 logo.

File Explorer is an essential file management application. That your the mouse is broken or you just prefer to use Command Prompt, there are many ways to open File Explorer in Windows 10.

Click on the taskbar icon

Windows PC come with some applications preloaded on the taskbar, including File Explorer; just click on the File Explorer icon in the taskbar to open it.

If you have removed the File Explorer icon from the taskbar, you can use any of the other methods below to launch it and then re-pin it to the taskbar.

To do this, launch File Explorer, right-click on its icon in the taskbar, and then select “Pin to taskbar” to keep it permanently. You can then drag and drop it anywhere you want on the taskbar.

The File Explorer folder icon in the Windows 10 taskbar.

Use the keyboard shortcut

Almost all keyboards on a Windows PC have a Windows key (it’s the one with the Windows icon). You can open File Explorer by pressing Windows + E.

Via Windows Search

You can search for any application on your PC in Windows Search. In the search box to the left of the taskbar, just type “File Explorer” and then click (or use the arrow keys to select) “File Explorer” in the search results to launch it.

From the start menu

There are three ways to open File Explorer from the Start menu. The first is to click on the Start button, then scroll down the list of applications and click on “Windows System.” In the submenu, click on “File Explorer” to open it.

You can also pin File Explorer to the sidebar above the Start button. To do this, click Settings> Personalization> Start, then click “Choose folders to show on Start.”

On the next screen, activate the “File Explorer” option.

File Explorer will now appear in the Start menu sidebar; click on it to launch File Explorer.

Click the File Explorer icon to launch it from the Start menu.

You can also add a shortcut to the pinned tiles section to the right of the Start menu. To do this, open the Start menu, type “File Explorer” in the search box, and then, in the pane that appears to the right of the search results, click “Pin to Top.”

Alternatively, if you have pinned File Explorer to the Start menu sidebar, you can right-click the File Explorer icon and then click “Pin to Start.”

File Explorer will now appear in the pinned thumbnails section of the Start menu; just click on it to launch.

RELATED: 10 ways to customize the Windows 10 Start menu

From the advanced user menu

You can also open File Explorer from the Advanced User menu. To access it, press Windows + X or right-click the Start button, then click “File Explorer”.

Ask Cortana

If your PC has a microphone, you can ask Cortana to open File Explorer. To do this, click on the Cortana icon (the circle) in the taskbar.

Click the Cortana icon.

Click the Microphone icon, then say “Open File Explorer” (what you say will also appear on the screen). Cortana will respond “I’ll open File Explorer” and then do it.

If you don’t have a microphone, you can just type “File Explorer” into the Cortana search box.

Use the Run app

You can also launch File Explorer in the Run application. Press Windows + R to open the “Run” window. In the “Open:” box, type “Explorer”, click “OK” and File Explorer will open.

Run the source application

By default, Windows stores the File Explorer EXE file in the “Windows” folder of the C: drive. Go to the “Windows” folder, find “Explorer.exe” in the long list, then double-click it to open File Explorer.

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Add a desktop shortcut

For faster access to File Explorer, you can create desktop shortcut. To do this, click on the Start button at the bottom left.

Click on the Start button.

In the list of applications, scroll down and click on “Windows System”. From the submenu, click and drag “File Explorer” to the desktop. You can also drag and drop File Explorer from the pinned app tiles on the right.

Now you can just double click on the shortcut on your desktop to open File Explorer at any time.

From the task manager

Task Manager is not only used to stop applications or monitor processes and performance, you can also launch applications from it. To launch File Explorer this way, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc open task manager. Then click on “File” and select “Execute a new task”.

The “Create a new task” window will appear. Type “Explorer” in the “Open:” text box, click “OK” and File Explorer will open.

From the command prompt

You can launch almost any application on your PC, including File Explorer, from the command prompt. To do this, type “cmd” into the Windows search box and then select “Command Prompt” from the search results for open it.

In the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter:


File Explorer will open.

Via PowerShell

You can also launch File Explorer from PowerShell. To do this, type “PowerShell” in the Windows search box, then select “Windows PowerShell” in the search results for open it.

In PowerShell, type the following command, and then press Enter:


The file explorer opens.

Windows 10 is full of different ways to accomplish common tasks, like open command prompt or lock your pc. Explore all of the options to find the ones that work best for you and your workflow.

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