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Stupid Geek Tricks: Run Commands in the Windows Explorer Address Bar

Here’s a fun little tip for you: did you know that you can run commands from the address bar in Windows Explorer? It’s true — any app that you could run on the command line can be run from the address bar, including opening a new command prompt.

For instance, if you were to type cmd into the address bar, you would end up opening a command prompt with the current path already set to whatever the current folder is. Useful.

You can also run other commands, like opening a file in the current folder with Notepad. Imagine that you have a file on your desktop called test.txt and you want to open it. From the Desktop folder in Explorer, type notepad test.txt into the address bar, and hit the enter key.

Just like that, Notepad will open the file. Easy!

You could also use other commands directly from the address bar — for instance, if you wanted to see a directory listing of the current directory in the command prompt, you could use cmd /k dir in the address bar. Obviously that would be silly, but you can do it.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/8/13

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