Saturday, January 31, 2009

How do I … tweak Windows Explorer to open in a directory of my choosing?

The directory/folder metaphor employed by Windows XP to organize files on a hard drive fits well with my natural tendency of hierarchical organization. My thinking pattern follows the general > less general > specific > most specific framework. So there are times when I want to see a particular folder hierarchy laid out before me in Windows Explorer.
Tweak the displayed folder
The default display for Windows XP Explorer is to show the My Documents folder with all of its subfolders expanded and ready to be selected (Figure A).
There is nothing wrong with this view, but I don’t always want to open Windows Explorer in the My Documents folder. I have access to, and the need to use, several different network folders during the course of a day. With a small tweak of the Windows Explorer Properties settings you can change which folder gets displayed and how that display is revealed.
Figure A
Figure B
To get to the Windows Explorer Properties dialog box, right-click the Windows Explorer shortcut. You can copy the shortcut in the Start Menu to your Desktop to make it easier to work with. I like to have several Windows Explorer shortcuts in my toolbar for easy access — each going to a different place. When you right-click and go to Properties and click the Shortcut tab, you should see a screen similar to Figure B.
To change the Windows Explorer shortcut to open a specific folder of your choosing, change the Target box to read:
c:\windows\EXPLORER.EXE /n, /e, X:\Folder of my choosing
For example, the blog posts I write or edit are saved on a network drive (U) in a folder I have dubbed Working Folder. The Target box for this shortcut looks like this:
c:\windows\EXPLORER.EXE /n, /e, u:\working folder

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