File Explorer is an essential part of Windows 11 that helps you manage your files and folders. But, if it’s not pinned to your taskbar, it isn’t always obvious how to launch it. Here are five easy ways to launch File Explorer in Windows 11.

The Fastest Way: Press Windows+e

Press Windows+e to open File Explorer in Windows 11.

At any time while using your PC, press the Windows key and the “E” key together, and a File Explorer window will pop up immediately. It can’t get easier than that! This shortcut also works in Windows 10 and extends all the way back to Windows 95.

RELATED: How to Open File Explorer with a Keyboard Shortcut on Windows 10

Right-Click Start or Press Windows+x

If you right-click the Start button in your taskbar (or press Windows+x on your keyboard), a hidden “power user” menu will appear. Select “File Explorer” from the list, and File Explorer will open.

RELATED: How to Edit the Win+X Menu in Windows 8 and 10

Search the Start Menu

Open Start and type "file explorer," then hit Enter.

You can also find File Explorer in the Start menu. To do so, click the Start button on your taskbar, then type “file explorer” on your keyboard. When you see the “File Explorer” result, either click its icon or simply press Enter, and File Explorer will launch.

Use the Command Prompt or Run Box

After opening the Command Prompt in Windows 11, type "explorer," then hit Enter. File Explorer will open.

You can also open File Explorer from the command line. After opening a Command Prompt, type “explorer.exe” or just “explorer” and hit Enter. A File Explorer window will open to your “This PC” location. The same trick works if you type “explorer.exe” into the Windows+r “Run” box.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Open the Command Prompt in Windows 10

Add a Special Start Menu Shortcut

In Windows 11, you can add a special shortcut to File Explorer that lives in your Start menu. To do so, open Windows Settings (press Windows+i), then navigate to Personalization > Start > Folders. On the Folders screen, flip the switch beside “File Explorer” to “On.”

In Settings > Personalization > Start > Folders, turn on the switch beside "File Explorer."

The next time you open Start, you’ll see a small outlined File Explorer icon beside the power icon at the bottom of the menu. Click it, and File Explorer will open. Happy exploring!

RELATED: How to Add Folder Shortcuts to the Start Menu on Windows 11

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Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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