File Explorer is one of the most used apps in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, just like Windows Explorer is one of the most used tools in Windows 7. Whether you need to copy or move files or delete some, there is always one thing that you have to do first, and that is to open the File Explorer or the Windows Explorer. We thought it would be an excellent idea to write this roundup article, which shows all the ways in which you can open File Explorer in Windows 10 and 8.1, as well as how to open Windows Explorer in Windows 7. They involve everything from search to keyboard shortcuts, to using speech and so on. Let’s get started:
NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Some methods work in all three versions of Windows, others just in one or two. For each method, we mention the Windows version in which it works. If you do not know the version of Windows that you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?
1. Press Win + E on your keyboard (all Windows versions)
The keyboard offers fast shortcuts for launching all kinds of things, including File Explorer and Windows Explorer. Press the Win + E keys on your keyboard, and watch File Explorer or Windows Explorer immediately start.
2. Use the File Explorer shortcut on the taskbar (all Windows versions)
By default, Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 include a File Explorer shortcut on the taskbar. The icon looks like a folder. Click or tap on it, and File Explorer is opened.
Similarly, Windows 7 includes a Windows Explorer shortcut on its taskbar. The icon looks a bit different from the one in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, but it also depicts a folder.
3. Use the search (all Windows versions)
On Windows 10’s desktop, use the search box found near the Start button on the taskbar and, inside it, write the words “file explorer.” When the search results are loaded, press Enter or click or tap on the File Explorer result.
In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start Screen and start typing the words “file explorer.” When the search results are displayed, press Enter on your keyboard or click or tap on the File Explorer result.
In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and type the words “windows explorer” in its search box. Then, click on the Windows Explorer shortcut.
4. Ask Cortana to open File Explorer (Windows 10 only)
In Windows 10, you can also ask Cortana to open File Explorer. On the right side of the search box from your taskbar, click or tap on the microphone icon to make Cortana listen to you. Alternatively, you can also say “Hey Cortana,” if you enabled this feature in Windows 10.
Then, use your voice to say the following command: “Open File Explorer!”.
5. Use the File Explorer shortcut from the WinX menu (Windows 10 and Windows 8.1)
If you use Windows 10 or Windows 8.1, press Windows + X on the keyboard, to open the WinX menu. You can also right-click on the Start button to get the same result.
This menu also includes a shortcut for File Explorer. Click or tap on it, and File Explorer opens immediately.
6. Use the File Explorer shortcut from the Start Menu (Windows 10 and Windows 7) or the Start screen (Windows 8.1)
In Windows 10, open the Start Menu and scroll the list with all the apps until you reach the folder called “Windows System.” Open it, and you should find a shortcut for File Explorer inside.
In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and enter the Accessories folder. You should find a shortcut for Windows Explorer.
In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start screen and open the Apps View by clicking or tapping on the small arrow from the bottom of the screen.
Navigate to the Windows System folder, and find a shortcut for File Explorer.
7. Create a shortcut and pin it on your desktop (all Windows versions)
You can always create a shortcut to File Explorer and pin it to the desktop. If you do not know how and need help with creating shortcuts, read this guide: How to create shortcuts for apps, files, folders and web pages in Windows.
8. Use Command Prompt or PowerShell (all Windows versions)
If you are working with Command Prompt or PowerShell, you can type the command explorer and press Enter. This immediately launches File Explorer in Windows 10 and 8.1, or Windows Explorer in Windows 7.
9. Use Task Manager (all Windows versions)
Another way of opening File Explorer or Windows Explorer is to use the Task Manager. Launch Task Manager: a quick way to do it is to press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard. If you are using Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 and the Task Manager opens up in its compact mode, click or tap on “More details.” Then, in all Windows versions, open the File menu and click or tap on “Run new task.”
In the “Create new task” window, type explorer and press Enter or OK.
10. Use the Run window (all Windows versions)
The final method we know of for opening File Explorer is to use the good old Run window. Launch Run (a quick way to do that is to press the Win + R keys on your keyboard) and enter the word explorer in it. Then click or tap on OK, or press Enter on your keyboard.
These are all the methods we know for starting File Explorer in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, and Windows Explorer in Windows 7. If you know others, do not hesitate to share them in the comments section below and we will update this article.