Five easy ways to open file explorer in windows computer


In these simple tutorials, Howtechwork will teach you the several working methods which you can use to open the windows OS File explorer, with pictures for better understanding.


how to open file explorer in windows computer


This article is talking about the Built-in file explorer in almost all windows computer operating system. And it’s not to be confused for Internet Explorer, which was the default internet/web browser on Windows 8.1 & earlier versions of Microsoft windows.


What is file Explorer?

The file explorer program on a windows computer which is initially known as the Windows Explorer is a file browser software which was built-in in every version of the Microsoft Windows Os since Windows 95. The primary usage is to browse or navigate & also manage the drives, folders, and files on a computer.

File Explorer can bee is seen as the new file manager for the Microsoft Windows 8 & 10 operating system. It helps you move, manage, edit & view your files. You can also browse network locations and share documents/archives with your homegroup.

It comes with a newer interface compared to the Windows Explorer on formal windows OS like Windows XP and 7.

For the apple folks; The Finder application on your Mac computers can be seen as your version of file Explorer. The finder on OS X Apple computer can be used to navigate, browse and explore the files and folders on your Mac computer.


How to open file Explorer on Windows PC

There are many methods or ways you can use to open the file explorer windows on a computer running the Microsoft Windows OS. Some methods work on all windows version, while some methods only work on some specific windows version.

However, the goal of this tutorial is to show you the six easy and working method to open the file explorer on your computer.


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How to open file explorer in windows 7, 8, 8.1 & 10

The six methods that we are about to show you will work correctly on any computer running windows 7 or 8, and above.


1. Use the run app to open file explorer

Press the Win+R shortcut key on your computer keyboard together; the run windows will display with a search bar. Type “explorer” or “explorer.exe” inside the search bar then press the Enter key or click OK.


open windows file explorer with the run app


2. Open Windows file explorer from the taskbar

Click or Double Click on the file explorer icon which is at the windows taskbar. The image looks exactly like a folder with a light blue hook on its front. Image titled WindowsFileExplorer.png


windows file explorer icon image

This method is the easiest and easiest way to open the file explorer.


3. Use windows 10 search bar or win+c key on windows 8 

For the users running Windows 10; you can search for “file explorer” from the search bar on your taskbar. In case you couldn’t find the search bar on your Windows PC taskbar; press the Start button which is also known as the windows key on your keyboard. Then type “file explorer”.

For Windows 8.1 users; press the Win+C shortcut key on your keyboard, then select the Search charm. Now Type file explorer & click on the file explorer program from the displayed result.


search for file explorer in windows 10 search bar


4. Right-click on the windows start button

If you are a Windows 10 user, move your mouse cursor to the bottom left corner of your computer screen on the taskbar. Then right-click on the start menu button or the windows button. A list of option will display on the context menu, click on “file explorer”.

For the Windows 7 users. move your mouse cursor to the bottom left corner on the windows taskbar. Then right-click on the windows start menu button, now click on open windows explorer.


The below image illustrates how to get it done on a Windows 10 PC.

right click on windows 10 context menu option


The image below explains how to do it on windows 7 computer.

windows 7 start bar context menu option


5. Use the Win+E windows shortcut keys

This method is my favourite way of opening the file explorer, and it works on all version of Microsoft Windows OS, from windows 7-10.

Press the Window key on your computer keyboard and press the E together, this will open the file explorer windows immediately.


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windows + E shortcut keys


Uses of the windows file explorer

From the beginning of this article, we made it clear the functions of the explorer, which include the following.

however, Below are some few examples of what can be done in the windows file Explorer.


i. It can be used to open a document

With the windows computer file explorer, you can now easily arrange and sort your files/materials on your computer. The windows OS itself create a My Documents folder for you. Inside the Explorer, you can open the My Documents folder & double-click the document file to open it.

You can search for any file or folder using the Search tab; you can quickly locate any files or folders on your PC. Apart from using the search bar which is present at the top of the file explorer windows; The F3 shortcut key can also be used to open & search anything inside the Windows Explorer.


ii. It can also Open a software/program or application

Well, almost every software create a shortcut icon that can be used to launch the software on the computer desktop screen & also in the Start menu after being installed. However, you can also open or launch a software/program from the File Explorer.

To open or launch an application through the “File Explorer”, follow the below steps.

  1. Open file explorer.
  2. Now open the C: drive and navigate to the Program Files folder.
  3. Open the Program Files folder. And you will find a ton of folders with each name of the software they are representing.
  4. In the listing of folders, locate the program you want to open by looking for the folder with the name of the program.
  5. Once you found the folder, double-click it to open.
  6. Now that you are inside the program folder look for the executable file & double-click on it to run the program.
  7. To know the executable file of a software; look for a file with the same name of the program. Or the file that has an icon same as the software icon on your computer desktop.


Tips to access the file explorer easily

To make it more accessible & convenient to open the file explorer, you can either create a shortcut to it on the computer desktop just like any other software. Or pin it to the start menu, which is the default option.

To create a shortcut to File Explorer on your PC screen; right-click on a blank area of the desktop. A context menu will appear, hover your mouse over “New” & click on Shortcut

It will prompt you to type in the item location, just type explorer or explorer.exe. Then write a meaningful name for your File explorer.  For example ” My Files” or  “File Explorer”. Now you can press Finish.

You can also Pin the file explorer to the Start menu or Start screen to make it easier to open. Right-click on the file explorer icon & select Pin to Start.


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Article summary

To summarise this article for those that may not have the time to read the above content with images. You can jump to this section via the table of contents above.


Working methods in Windows 7 & older 

  • just Right-click on the Start icon, from the context menu, select either Explorer or Open Windows Explorer.


Methods that work in Windows 8 and 8.1 PC

  • Open the Power User Tasks Menu by Right-clicking on the bottom-left corner of the computer screen. And choose File Explorer or press the E key.


Methods to open it in Windows 10 computer

  • Open the Power User Tasks Menu by Pressing the Win + X shortcut key; on the context menu select File Explorer or press E.
  • Alternatively Click on Start, select Programs, then select Accessories, then click Windows Explorer or Explorer.


Method to open file explorer in all Windows version

  • Press the Win + E key together.
  • Another option is to click on Start, and select Run or better still press the  Win + R key together. Then type explorer or explorer.exe & press Enter.



Howtechwork team believes this article is straightforward to understand. And it should work on most windows computer operating system. However, if you have an old version of the Windows operating system like Windows XP, you may have some issues.

This tutorial is primarily for the Windows 7, 8, 8.1, & 10 computers. So If you’re running an older version of the Microsoft Windows, then you can read How to Open Windows Explorer.

Note that in windows 7 and older version of windows, the file explorer is referred to as windows explorer, the name file explorer begins with the release of Windows 8, in conjunction with the addition of the ribbon.

Have fun.


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