Open Relative Command Prompt or Explorer Windows Quickly

These days, most people generally don’t use the command prompt often as was they did years ago, but this is still a cool trick.

When it comes to opening command prompt windows or Windows Explorer / File Explorer windows, there is often a way to accomplish this faster. How would you for instance open a command prompt window that uses the same path as the open Explorer window quickly? Would you select File > Open command prompt > Open Command Prompt in File Explorer? Hold down the Shift-key while you right-click on the folder you want as the starting folder of a command prompt window? Use a third-party program that adds an option to the shell directly? Open Command Prompt manually and navigate to the folder manually as well?

All of those methods work, but they are not necessarily super fast. Now, how about typing cmd in the address bar of the Explorer window and hitting the Enter-key afterwards? Boom, a command prompt window opens with the current Explorer path as its starting path.

explorer open command prompt

This may be considerably faster than any of the options that you have used up until now. The only caveat is that you cannot launch a command prompt window with elevated rights using the method; at least none that I’m aware of.

The “hold down Shift and Ctrl” trick to run programs with elevated rights does not work unfortunately.

Now, what if you wanted to perform the operation the other way around? You are using the command prompt and want to launch an Explorer window that displays the contents of the active folder?

There are several options to do that. Either type “start .” to do so, or use “explorer .\”. Both methods work and will open an Explorer window that displays the contents of the active command prompt folder.

And if you prefer Powershell or use it regularly, you can do the same using the command “ii .”.

All three have in common that they spawn an Explorer window that displays the contents of the active location.

open explorer from command prompt

You can spawn an Explorer window that lists the contents of the default location as well using “explorer” without any parameters, but it may be faster to simply click on the Explorer icon in the taskbar if it is pinned to it, or use the shortcut Windows-E to open an Explorer window instead. (via Reddit)

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