How to open File Explorer and Windows Explorer: 12 ways

File Explorer

File Explorer is one of the most used apps in Windows 10, 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, showing all the ways in which you can open File Explorer in Windows 10 and 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:

Quick Steps

A few quick ways to open File Explorer or Windows Explorer:
  1. Press the Win + E keys on your keyboard, and watch File Explorer or Windows Explorer immediately start.
  2. Click or tap the File Explorer/Windows Explorer shortcut on the taskbar.
  3. Open CMD or PowerShell and run the command: explorer.

NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10 and Windows 7. If you don’t know the Windows version you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed? (5 methods).

1. Open (Windows) File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard

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.

Open (Windows) File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard

2. Use the File Explorer shortcut (or Windows Explorer shortcut) on the taskbar

By default, Windows 10 includes a File Explorer shortcut on the taskbar. The icon looks like a folder. Click or tap on it, and File Explorer is opened.

Use the File Explorer shortcut on the taskbar

Similarly, Windows 7 includes a Windows Explorer shortcut on its taskbar. The icon looks a bit different from the one in Windows 10, but it also depicts a folder.

Use the Windows Explorer shortcut on the taskbar

3. How to open File Explorer (or Windows Explorer) using search

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.

How to open File Explorer in Windows 10 using search

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and type the words “windows explorer” in its search box.

Then, click on the Windows Explorer shortcut.

How to open Windows Explorer in Windows 7 using search

4. Open File Explorer in Windows 10 using Cortana

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 Cortana’s button. Then, either type “open File Explorer” or push the microphone button and use your voice to say the “Open File Explorer!” command to Cortana.

Open File Explorer in Windows 10 using Cortana

5. How to open File Explorer in Windows 10 using its shortcut from the WinX menu

If you use Windows 10, 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.

How to open File Explorer in Windows 10 using its shortcut from the WinX menu

6. How to open File Explorer or Windows Explorer using their shortcuts from the Start Menu

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.

How to open File Explorer using its shortcuts from the Start Menu

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and enter the Accessories folder. You should find a shortcut for Windows Explorer.

How to open Windows Explorer using its shortcut from the Start Menu

7. Open File Explorer using its button from Windows 10’s Start Menu

Another way to open File Explorer in Windows 10 is to add a button for it in the Start Menu. You can easily do it by opening Settings, navigating to “Personalization -> Start -> Choose which folders appear on Start,” and then turning on the File Explorer switch.

Enable File Explorer in Settings -> Personalization -> Start -> Choose which folders appear on Start

Then, Windows 10 shows a new button for File Explorer on the left side of the Start Menu.

How to open File Explorer in Windows 10 using its button from the Start Menu

Click or tap on it to open File Explorer.

8. How to create a File Explorer shortcut to open it from anywhere

You can always make a shortcut to File Explorer. If you’re using Windows 10, an easy way to do it is to drag and drop the File Explorer shortcut from the Start Menu onto your desktop or in any other folder you prefer.

File Explorer shortcut pinned to the desktop of Windows 10

Another one is to create a File Explorer shortcut or Windows Explorer shortcut manually. Just make sure to enter explorer as the shortcut’s “[...] location of the item”.

Create (Windows) File Explorer shortcut

NOTE: If you need help creating shortcuts, read how to Create shortcuts for apps, files, folders, and web pages in Windows 10. Although this tutorial is written for Windows 10, the first sections from it also apply to Windows 7.

9. Open (Windows) File Explorer using Command Prompt or PowerShell

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 or Windows Explorer in Windows 7.

Open (Windows) File Explorer using Command Prompt or PowerShell

10. How to open File Explorer or Windows Explorer using Task Manager

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 and the Task Manager opens up in its compact view mode, click or tap on “More details.” Then, open the File menu and click or tap on “Run new task.”

Run new task in Task Manager

In the “Create new task” window, type explorer and press Enter or OK.

How to open File Explorer or Windows Explorer using Task Manager

11. Open File Explorer or Windows Explorer from the Run window

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.

Open File Explorer or Windows Explorer from the Run window

12. Where is File Explorer in Windows 10 (and Windows 7)? Open it by running explorer.exe

Both Windows 10 and Windows 7 store the executable file for File Explorer in the standard Windows folder. As a result, although it’s kind of redundant, you can also navigate to your Windows folder and then double-click on the explorer.exe file to open File Explorer or Windows Explorer.

Where is File Explorer in Windows 10 (and 7)? Open it by running explorer.exe

How do you open (Windows) File Explorer?

These are all the methods we know for starting File Explorer in Windows 10 and Windows Explorer in Windows 7. If you know others, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments section below, and we will update this article as soon as possible.

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