How to Launch File Explorer on Windows 10

File Explorer is an essential file management app in Windows 10, and there are several ways you can launch it. Here's everything you need to know.


File Explorer is a crucial file manager application on Windows 10, allowing users to access their files on local, network, and cloud storage. Its built-in tools also let users copy, move, create, rename, and delete files and folders.
While the process of launching File Manager is simple, there are several other ways to do it depending on the situation. It includes using Task Manager and even the Command Prompt in case explorer.exe fails to load at startup.
This guide will walk you through a few ways you can launch File Explorer on Windows 10. Read till the end to learn everything you need to know.

Launch File Explorer from the desktop

For the quickest way to open a File Explorer window, you can have a shortcut on your desktop. Here’s how to get it:

  1. Go to Start and click Settings in the left pane.
  2. Choose Personalization on the main Settings page, then select Themes in the sidebar.
  3. On the next page, click the Desktop icon settings link under the “Related Settings” section.
  4. In the “Desktop Icon Settings” window, tick the box next to the Computer option and click the Apply button below.
  5. Click OK to close the window.

You can now return to your desktop and find the “This PC” shortcut. Double-clicking it will launch a File Explorer window in the “This PC” section.
The following steps will show you an alternative process to create a desktop shortcut to File Explorer:

  1. Right-click the empty space on your desktop.
  2. Select New, and choose Shortcut in the following submenu.
  3. In the “Create Shortcut” window, type “C:\Windows\explorer.exe” in the path field (without the quotes) and click Next.
  4. After that, give the shortcut a name– File Explorer, for instance.
  5. Click the Finish button to close the window.

That’s it! The shortcut to File Explorer will appear on your desktop. You can double-click it to launch the app.

Launch File Explorer from the taskbar

Windows 10 PCs come with a handful of apps pinned to the taskbar, including File Explorer. All you have to do is click the File Explorer (yellow folder in a blue holder) icon in the taskbar to launch it.
If you can’t see the icon, press the Windows key + E on your keyboard to launch the application, right-click its icon in the taskbar, then select the “Pin to taskbar” option. You can drag the pinned File Explorer icon across the other icons in the taskbar to change its position.
Alternatively, right-click the Start icon in the taskbar and select File Explorer in the contextual menu to launch it quickly. You can also press Windows key + X on the keyboard to open the hidden contextual menu.

Launch File Explorer from the Start menu

You can launch File Explorer from the Start menu in three different ways. The first is to open the Start menu, scroll down the apps list to select the Windows System folder, and then click the File Explorer app.
Or, click the Start button and start typing “File Explorer.” It will appear on top of the search results immediately, from where you can also launch the app.
Alternatively, you can pin File Explorer to the left pane of the Start menu. Here’s how:

  1. First, open the Start menu, type “Start settings,” and choose the top search result.
  2. In the following Settings window that appears, click the “Choose which folders appear on Start” link.
  3. Now toggle the slider ON under the “File Explorer” option.

Upon completing the steps, File Explorer will appear in the Start menu’s left sidebar.
For quicker access, you may also pin the app to the tile section of the Start menu. Just right-click File Explorer in the Start menu and select Pin to Start.

Launch File Explorer from the Run box

To launch File Explorer on Windows 10 from the Run dialog box, start with pressing the Windows key + R on your keyboard. In the following window that usually appears at the bottom-left corner of the screen, type “Explorer” in the empty field and click the OK button. It will open up the File Explorer application.

Launch File Explorer from Task Manager

Windows Task Manager allows users to monitor and shut down apps and background processes. However, you can also use it to launch programs. Here’s how you can use it to open File Explorer:

  1. Search for Task Manager in the Start menu or press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on the keyboard to launch it.
  2. Open the File menu right below the Task Manager’s title bar, and select the Run new task option.
  3. Type “explorer” in the field and click OK (or press Enter). It will launch the File Explorer window.

Note: If the default keyboard shortcut doesn’t launch the Task Manager, press Ctrl + Alt + Del to open the Windows Security screen and click Task Manager.

Launch File Explorer from its path location

Windows stores the explorer.exe file in the C:\Windows folder. You can launch it from the source location by following the below steps.

  1. First, press Windows key + R on the keyboard to launch the Run box.
  2. Type the “C:\Windows path in the field (without the quotes) and click OK.
  3. Find and double-click the explorer application in the following folder.

Performing the above steps will open a second instance of the File Explorer app. Although many of you will find the process a bit unneeded, it might come in handy if you happen to be on the following path and wish to open another File Explorer window.

Launch File Explorer using Command Prompt

Command Prompt lets Windows users run various commands and perform tasks, which also includes opening apps. The instructions below will show you how to use it for launching File Explorer on Windows 10:

  1. Search for “cmd” in the Start menu or type it in the Run box to launch Command Prompt.
  2. Type explorer in the Command Prompt window and press the Enter key.

Performing the above steps will launch the File Explorer window. You can repeat the steps to open another instance of the app.

Launch File Explorer using Windows PowerShell

If you are familiar with Windows PowerShell, you can also use it to launch File Explorer on Windows 10. All you have to open a PowerShell window from the Start menu and type “explorer” in the console.
Note: You can launch a PowerShell window from the hidden contextual menu that opens when you right-click the Start button.


These are some of the ways you can launch File Explorer on Windows 10. Whether you can’t access File Explorer for some reason or are new to the operating system, you should find this guide helpful.
If you are looking for more Windows-related articles, consider taking a look at our “How to” section. We have recently covered a guide to fix corrupted system files on Windows 10, which you can check out here.



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