Quick Tip: Make Windows 8 File Explorer launch in Computer view

With the right code you can change the default settings of Windows 8 File Explorer.

By default, when you launch File Explorer from the icon pinned to Windows 8's desktop taskbar, you see a window that displays the Libraries folder, as shown in Figure A. However, since most people do not use really use Libraries, this tends to be more of an annoyance than a convenience. For example, if what you are really after is the Computer view, then you have to perform a couple of additional clicks. Of course, this really isn't tremendous amount of effort, but it can be frustrating nonetheless.

Figure A

Clicking the File Explorer icon pinned to Windows 8's desktop taskbar opens the Libraries folder by default.

Wouldn't it be better if clicking this icon directly opened Computer? Well fortunately, you can easily customize the shortcut to make that happen.

Open with Computer view

To begin, right click on the File Explorer icon on the taskbar to bring up the Jump List. Then, right click on the File Explorer command towards the bottom of the list and select the Properties command from the context menu. This process is illustrated in Figure B.

Figure B

When you Jump List appears, right click on the File Explorer command and select Properties.
When you see the Properties dialog box, select the text in the Target text box, as shown in Figure C. Then, replace it with this command line:
%windir%\explorer.exe ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

To complete the operation, just click OK.

Figure C

Replace the text in the Target text box to change the folder that opens when you click the File Explorer icon.

Now when you click the File Explorer icon on the taskbar, you'll see Computer, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

The File Explorer icon on the taskbar will now open Computer.

GUID command line

For those of you who may be wondering, the command line shown above takes advantage of a GUID (Globally Unique Identifier), which is the sequence of characters enclosed in the brackets. Every object in the Windows environment has a GUID that is stored in the registry and passing the GUID to the specially configured explorer.exe command as a parameter allows Windows to access that object. (Keep in mind that the GUIDs in Windows are also referred to as CLSIDs.)

If you would like to reconfigure the File Explorer icon on the taskbar to point to other common navigation points, you can just replace the GUID portion of the command line. In Table A, you'll find a couple more command lines for accessing other objects in Windows.

Table A

Folder Display

Command Line

Documents %windir%\explorer.exe ::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
Network %windir%\explorer.exe ::{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
Homegroup %windir%\explorer.exe ::{B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93}
Libraries %windir%\explorer.exe ::{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}

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About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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