How to Open the Windows Command Prompt from any Folder

Before I start giving tips about specific applications of the command line in Windows, I want to point out a way to open the command line prompt that will often simplify things. If you are working with files from a particular folder, it can save a lot of typing if you open the command prompt so that it points directly to your working folder. If you use the general method of opening the command line, you will have to enter the complete path for files

Windows XP

There is a free Microsoft Power Toy called “Open Command Window Here” that can be downloaded at this link. Install this small file and the right-click context menu for folders will contain an entry “Open Command Window Here.” All you have to do is right-click a folder and select this entry to get a command window that is referenced to the folder.

Windows Vista/7

In the newer versions of Windows, you do not have to install anything. Simply hold down the Shift key and right-click a folder. The context menu will contain an entry, ‘Open command window here.”

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs a Windows blog called The PC Informant and also operates a computer education website.

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Comments

by Feorais (not verified) on 27. February 2012 - 12:58  (89578)

Thank you for all your helpful hints. Can you help with the following? When I R. Click with the mouse with a file open, the option to "send to" does not appear. Is there a fairly simple way to add this to the R Click menu so it is always there? I
am using Vista Home Premium, and incidentally find it a very troublefree application

by Jim Foxvog (not verified) on 22. February 2012 - 23:04  (89271)

This product for Windows XP is not found at the link given. I did not find it with a site search. Anyone know the current link?

by v.laurie on 22. February 2012 - 23:29  (89272)

Which product do you mean? XP Powertoys is still available at the link given.

by MilesAhead on 22. February 2012 - 20:54  (89074)

Most of the toys/shell extensions that let you open a command prompt with the selected folder as current directory only allow for one prompt. I wrote a freebie called PromptHere that's a hotkey. Sits in the system tray. You select folders and hit the hotkey. A command prompt is open for each folder with that folder as the current directory. I also have toys to open a command prompt in Windows Seven with a blurred glass blue background and white font. Google MilesAhead and PromptHere or GlassPrompt depending on what you want to download. It should come up near the top of the results.

I don't particularly like to right click the mouse then navigate through a menu to get something I use often. I find a hotkey much faster. It may sit in the tray all day but they typically use a MB of ram or less. Most of my hotkey programs empty the working set periodically to free memory they don't need.

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/PromptHere.shtml
[Mod - link added]

by Mike C (not verified) on 22. September 2010 - 15:44  (58273)

Hi - I'm wondering, now that I have followed your tips on command line from start menu and this one - command line from any folder, can we look forward to more tips about how to use this to modify the startup of certain apps, etc? Thanks - I've really enjoyed this tab (tips) more on the site recently. Did someone new take over? Again, thanks.

by v.laurie on 22. September 2010 - 17:13  (58274)

Thanks for the kind words. I'm the new guy and I'll be giving more command line tips as time goes on.

by Karl K (not verified) on 22. February 2012 - 14:11  (89248)

This *seemed* like a great tip until I tried it on a few files in Windows Explorer on my Win7 Ultimate X64 OS.

It didn't work. None of the context menu selections I could see (there are a LOT of them!) mentioned a Command Prompt or anything similar to that.

Sorry!

by Karl K (not verified) on 22. February 2012 - 14:13  (89249)

Oops! My sincere apologies! Your tip only works on FOLDERS, not individual FILES!

Your tip does INDEED WORK with folders!

Forgive me!

Karl

by TheSmartestOfAll (not verified) on 14. September 2010 - 20:16  (57843)

You could also just open a command prompt and drag anything in to its window to have to full path spelled out. No add-ons needed. Works in all versions of Windows.

by v.laurie on 14. September 2010 - 20:28  (57844)

Drag and drop does not work in Vista. Also, you are often working with internal commands where drag and drop is not relevant. However, you are correct that drag and drop can save time and typing where it is applicable.

by Wolfton (not verified) on 13. September 2010 - 6:48  (57721)

Works in Windows 7 Starter Edition, too.

FYI, your user directory on your desktop will probably not work because it is not a folder, if you right clicked it in your start menu and selected "Show on Desktop" or if you did the same for Documents. It also works on shortcuts to folders. I still find it faster to use Window Key + R and typing "cmd" to get to my command prompt in XP and Simply Window Key and type "cmd" and hit enter. What would be awesome, was if there was a quicker way in Windows Vista/7 to get a command prompt with administrator privileges. So far, the fastest way I've seen is to hit the Window Key, type "cmd" and right click the icon that appears in search and select "Run as administrator."

by v.laurie on 14. September 2010 - 23:55  (57856)

You can create a shortcut that always opens a command window with administrator privileges. I'll get to that later.

by foolofgrace (not verified) on 12. September 2010 - 18:32  (57710)

Thank you ... but what exactly can you do with this prompt besides get your IP address? You said "Before I start giving tips about specific applications of the command line in Windows, ... if you open the command prompt so that it points directly to your working folder."

So, where can I find some tips? I typed various versions of "Windows command line" into this site's search box and came up zilch, but a manual clickaround found that exact term, tho it didn't give me what I was looking for.

For example, from various apps when I click "Save as..." it goes to "My Documents". AARGH! Is there a way I can change this? Is there a list of useful commands anywhere? Thanks.

by v.laurie on 12. September 2010 - 18:39  (57711)

I'll be giving tips over the next few months. In the meantime you can look at this reference, http://commandwindows.com/

by foolofgrace (not verified) on 13. September 2010 - 15:45  (57741)

Wow, thanks! I appreciate it very much.

by aswad (not verified) on 12. September 2010 - 15:38  (57698)

Didn't work on my Vista system. Just the same old menu.

I am sure that I followed the instructions.

Hold down the Shift key and right-click a folder. The context menu will contain an entry, ‘Open command window here.”

by Ahmed M (not verified) on 12. September 2010 - 7:32  (57683)

GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTT.
Unbelievable !
(confirmed on my win7)

by paladin2 (not verified) on 11. September 2010 - 22:07  (57670)

File Menu Tools, a program I think I got from here will add a 'command line' addition that seems easier. Plus File Menu Tools has lots of other fine ways to make your right click give you any of dozens of customizations. It's called File Menu Tools and I'm pretty sure I got it from here.

by Stag Party Palin (not verified) on 11. September 2010 - 19:30  (57665)

Slick! (XP Pro)

by MrChris (not verified) on 11. September 2010 - 18:26  (57663)

FreeCommander also has this feature built in. If you are browsing using FC, just click the DOS Box icon or type Ctrl-D, and it opens up a command window set to your current directory.

by Becky (not verified) on 11. September 2010 - 17:20  (57658)

Didn't work on my Vista system. Just the same old menu.

Ah. When you said "folder" you meant "directory" rather than "file". Apparently I'm not fluent in computerspeak.

It showed up with a couple of additional options (copy as path) when I right clicked on a file while holding down shift.

Thanks.

by Piyush (not verified) on 11. September 2010 - 14:57  (57649)

thank you for this tip....

by Fool4UAnyway (not verified) on 11. September 2010 - 14:53  (57648)

There is an XP One Click solution: Stefan's (Tools) Explorer Bar

http://tortoisesvn.net/StExBar

by Kiwikid (not verified) on 12. September 2010 - 6:35  (57681)

Actually the location for Stefan's Explorer Bar is at:

http://tools.tortoisesvn.net/StExBar

cheers

by jabbamp on 11. September 2010 - 13:43  (57647)

Just what the doctor ordered for my XP :o)

by Jake MAverick (not verified) on 11. September 2010 - 13:24  (57646)

very handy! thank you!

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