File Explorer is one of the most used apps in Windows 11 and Windows 10, just like Windows Explorer is one of the most used tools in Windows 7. Whether you need to open, copy, delete, or move files, there is always one thing that you have to do first, and that is to open the File Explorer or the Windows Explorer. So 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 11 or Windows 10 and how to open Windows Explorer in Windows 7. They involve everything from search to keyboard shortcuts, using speech, and so on. Let’s get started:
NOTE: This guide covers Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows 7. If you don’t know the Windows version you have, read this tutorial: How to tell what Windows I have (11 ways).
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.
By default, both Windows 11 and Windows 10 include a File Explorer shortcut on the taskbar. To open File Explorer, all you have to do is click/tap this shortcut, whose icon looks like a folder. In Windows 11, its default location is in the middle of the taskbar.
In Windows 10, the taskbar is left-aligned, and the File Explorer shortcut is located next to the Task View button.
Similarly, if you’re wondering how to open Windows Explorer, know that Windows 7 includes a Windows Explorer shortcut on its taskbar. The icon looks slightly different from the one in Windows 11 or Windows 10, but it also depicts a folder.
Click on it, and Windows 7 will open its file manager immediately.
If you’re using Windows 11, click or tap on the search button near the Start button on the taskbar and start typing “file explorer.” Then, when the search results are loaded, press Enter or click or tap on the File Explorer result.
In Windows 10, use the search box also found near the Start button on the taskbar and, inside it, write the same words: “file explorer.” Once the search is over, press Enter or click/tap on the File Explorer result to open it.
In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and type the words “windows explorer” in its search box. Then, click on the Windows Explorer shortcut.
In Windows 11 and Windows 10, you can also ask Cortana to open File Explorer. Open Cortana and, in its text field, type “open File Explorer” and press Enter. Alternatively, you can push the microphone button and use your voice to say the “Open File Explorer!” command to Cortana.
Cortana will then immediately open the file manager app that’s standard in your Windows version.
If you’re using Windows 11 or 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 File Explorer shortcut. Click or tap on it, and File Explorer opens immediately.
In Windows 11, one of the easiest ways to launch File Explorer is to open the Start Menu and click or tap on the File Explorer shortcut found by default in the Pinned section.
Alternatively, you can also open the All apps list and start scrolling through it. You’ll find a File Explorer shortcut when you reach the letter F.
In Windows 10, File Explorer doesn’t have a default tile in the Start Menu. However, you can open the Start Menu and scroll the list of apps until you reach the folder called “Windows System.” If you open it, you should find a File Explorer shortcut inside.
In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and enter the Accessories folder. There, you’ll find a Windows Explorer shortcut.
Another way to open File Explorer in Windows 11 or Windows 10 is to add a button for it in the Start Menu. To learn how to do that, read one of these tutorials, depending on your Windows version:
In short, regardless of whether you’re on Windows 11 or Windows 10, you need to open the Settings app and navigate to “Personalization > Start.” Next, in Windows 11, access Folders, or, in Windows 10, click or tap on “Choose which folders appear on Start.” Then, in either operating system, turn the File Explorer switch on.
Then, Windows 11 shows a new button for File Explorer next to the Power button in the Start Menu.
In Windows 10, you get a File Explorer button on the left side of the Start Menu, above the Power and Settings buttons.
Click or tap on it to open File Explorer.
You can always make a shortcut to File Explorer. If you’re using Windows 11 or 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.
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”.
NOTE: If you need help creating shortcuts, read How to create shortcuts for files, folders, apps, and web pages in Windows.
You can also open File Explorer from CMD, just as you can also open Windows Explorer from CMD. If you like working with Windows Terminal, Command Prompt, or PowerShell, type the command explorer in any of them and press Enter.
This immediately opens File Explorer from CMD in Windows 11 and Windows 10 or Windows Explorer in Windows 7.
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 11 or 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.”
Type explorer In the “Create new task” window and then press Enter or OK.
Another method we know for opening File Explorer or 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) and enter the word explorer in it. Then click or tap on OK, or press Enter on your keyboard.
Both Windows 11, 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.
These are all the methods we know for starting File Explorer and Windows Explorer in Windows. Do you know how to open these file managers in other ways? If you do, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments section below, and we will update this article as soon as possible.