Microsoft

Tweak Windows Explorer to make the command window always available

With a simple registry tweak, you can get the Open Command Window Here feature to appear for a folder in Windows Explorer using just a right-click.

The default behavior for Windows Explorer in Windows 7 and Vista is to display a context menu when you right-click a folder (Figure A). If you hold the Shift key down and right-click a folder, you will get more menu options on the list (Figure B).

Figure A

Context Menu

Figure B

Shifted Context Menu

This behavior is all well and good, but what if you want to have access to the Open Command Window Here command with just a right-click versus the Shift-right-click it requires by default? The answer involves a Windows Registry file edit.

A slideshow version of this blog post is available in a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Registry edit

Standard disclaimer: The Windows Registry File is vitally important to the proper operation of the Windows operating system. Please back up the file before you make any registry edits. In Windows 7, click on the Start button and type regedit in the search box. Click on the regedit.exe file in the list of items and answer the UAC prompt. Once in the registry editor (Figure C), navigate to this key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell\cmd

Figure C

Registry editor
In the right-hand pane, right-click the Extended key to rename it to anything besides Extended (Figure D). Or you can simply delete the key, but doing so will make it more difficult to return to the default settings. This change adds the feature to drive icons in Windows Explorer.

Figure D

The Extended key

To add the Open Command Window Here feature to folders displayed in Windows Explorer, navigate to this key in the registry editor:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\cmd

Once again, in the right-hand pane, right-click the Extended key (Figure E) and change the name or delete it completely if you are so inclined.

Figure E

An alternate access to the Extended key
Close the registry editor, and from now on, when you right-click a drive or a folder from within Windows Explorer you will see Open Command Window Here as one of your available options (Figure G).

Figure G

The now-available Open Command Window Here option

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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