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Accessing System Folders with the Shell Command in Windows Vista
A number of system folders in Vista are most easily accessed with the "Shell:" command. The folders are listed.


Sometimes it's desired to work with one of the special system folders. As discussed on another page, Windows XP system folders can be opened by entering the folder name in the Run line. However, in Vista this procedure does not work. Instead, the folder name has to be preceded with the command "shell:". Although the Run line can still be used, it is not shown in the default Vista configuration and the Start menu's "Start Search" line can be used instead. For example, to open the "SendTo" folder, enter

shell:sendto
Note that there must be no spaces between "shell:" and the command. Also note the colon. The command is not case-sensitive. Similar considerations hold for Windows 7.

The command prompt can also be used to open special system folders with the shell command. In the command prompt the shell command must be used in conjunction with the "start" command. For example, to open the "Cookies" folder the command would be:start shell:cookiesThis method of opening system folders is also applicable in Windows XP or 7.

Below is a list of system folders that can be opened. The list is taken from the Registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\FolderDescriptions (The list will vary somewhat depending on the version of Vista.) A similar list applies to windows 7 and it can be found at this related link.

Vista System Folders

AddNewProgramsFolder
Administrative Tools
AppData
AppUpdatesFolder
Cache
CD Burning
ChangeRemoveProgramsFolder
Common Administrative Tools
Common AppData
Common Desktop
Common Documents
Common Programs
Common Start Menu
Common Startup
Common Templates
CommonDownloads
CommonMusic
CommonPictures
CommonVideo
ConflictFolder
ConnectionsFolder
Contacts
ControlPanelFolder
Cookies
CredentialManager
CryptoKeys
CSCFolder
Default Gadgets
Desktop
Downloads
DpapiKeys
Favorites
Fonts
Gadgets
Games
GameTasks
History
InternetFolder
Links
Local AppData
LocalAppDataLow
LocalizedResourcesDir
MAPIFolder
My Music
My Pictures
My Video
MyComputerFolder
NetHood
NetworkPlacesFolder
OEM Links
Original Images
Personal
PhotoAlbums
Playlists
PrintersFolder
PrintHood
Profile
ProgramFiles
ProgramFilesX64 (in 64-bit systems)
ProgramFilesX86 (in 64-bit systems)
ProgramFilesCommon
ProgramFilesCommonX64 (in 64-bit systems)
ProgramFilesCommonX86 (in 64-bit systems)
Programs
Public
PublicGameTasks
Quick Launch
Recent
RecycleBinFolder
ResourceDir
SampleMusic
SamplePictures
SamplePlaylists
SampleVideos
SavedGames
Searches
SearchHomeFolder
SendTo
Start Menu
Startup
SyncCenterFolder
SyncResultsFolder
SyncSetupFolder
System
SystemCertificates
SystemX86
Templates
TreePropertiesFolder
UserProfiles
UsersFilesFolder
Windows
 

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