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Stupid Geek Tricks: Open a Command Prompt From the Desktop Right-Click Menu

If you don’t already have a quick launch icon or a hotkey set to open a command prompt, there’s really quick trick that you can do on any Windows 7 or Vista computer to open up a command prompt without having to navigate the menu.

Just hold down the Shift key and right-click on the desktop…

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And then you can choose “Open Command Window Here” from the menu. The great thing about this is that the current path is the desktop, which is convenient for manipulating files on the desktop.

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Of course you can always right-click on any folder icon in the system while holding down the shift key:

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Or inside any folder:

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The great thing about this trick is that it works when you are working on somebody else’s computer… it also would be an easy way to open a command prompt when using a CrossLoop session to remotely fix a computer.

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 06/4/08

Comments (26)

  1. Edgar

    BTW, there is a powertoy for XP as well.

  2. Michael

    The trick doesn’t work on my pc (windows XP Pro SP2). Too bad, I love me some command line action. Guess I will have to stick with my quicklaunch icon.

  3. Don

    In Vista, this doesn’t work on folders in the left pane of Windows Explorer.
    In XP (with the powertoy) it does.

  4. Spencer

    Great tip! Never seen this before.

  5. Mike Turco

    Pretty cool. It’d be nice if you could “run as administrator”

  6. Blue

    very nice!

  7. Dirk

    Guess Micheal didn’t notice “quick trick that you can do on any Windows Vista computer” in the first paragraph..

    Michael do a search for “Windows XP powertoy” and download cmd here (or command here, I forgot the exact name)

  8. Vaibhav

    I am still on XP and although I know there is some tweak which enables this in XP as well, but I don’t have it.

    I simply do WinKey+R, type c, and press enter (I have WinKey+R mapped to SlickRun).

    :)

  9. Randy

    You can also add a registry key (or two) so that you don’t have to hold the shift key… also add the option for an Elevated Command Prompt which can also be handy…

    http://www.randyrants.com/2007/02/vista_tip_eleva.html

  10. Bonjour

    bloody great tricks! it help my work

  11. Pat Jones

    Awesome used this today on someone with Windows Visa Basic and for some reason they didn’t have All programs under start menu so I couln’t get there.

  12. Spacegold

    Simple but very useful little trick. I love it. Why doesn’t Microsoft tell us this stuff? They would raise their reputation immeasurably if they would just publish a lttle brochure called a Vista User’s Manual that could be included with every OEM installation and every update disk. Most of the stuff on this website should be in it.

  13. Amjad

    very nice!

    Thanks

  14. John

    window key+r

  15. Tom

    Hello This did not work on my friends Vista Home Premium, There was No Option for opening cmd when following the instructions? What could be wrong? Thanks

  16. Tom

    Opps My mistake it is now appearing, Thanks

  17. John

    Cool trick, I hope they put all the little XP treaks into the OS !

    Next they need to be able to set the NUM LOCK default at start up.

  18. Diana

    I have Windows Vista and for the last week when I start my computer the Command Prompt open with C:\windows\system32\msupdate.exe. Then below it a little window opens with C;\windows\system32\msupdate.exe. (In this box it says) The NTVDM CPU has encountered an illegal instruction. CS:1335 IP:3539 OP:0fc70000e7 chooce close to terminate the application.

    I do not even know why this is showing up I have ran my registry booster and also virus,spyware and ,malware scans. Could someone please let me know how to stop it from opening when I start my computer? Diana

  19. Amado Martinez

    I didn’t know you could do that!

  20. elmo2006

    Great trick, works like a charm

    Thanks

    Vista64 SP1

  21. REDCRASH

    great trick dude

    thanks

    REDCRASH

  22. Manish upadhyay

    It is very nice!
    thanks

  23. KESI

    I am greatful for this info. It id a beautiful shortcut that work like maricle.

  24. KESI

    I actually ment to say it is a beautiful shortcut that works like maricle.

  25. mobinga

    EPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Troy

    I do not see it in the context menu. It doesn’t work for me: Windows 7 Pro. 64-bit.

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