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How to run apps from the address bar in File Explorer on Windows 10

Command Prompt and PowerShell are tools that you can need almost anywhere. In File Explorer, if you type cmd or powershell in the location bar, and tap Enter, the Command Prompt or PowerShell window will open in the same location i.e., same folder. The same trick works if you type Notepad. This holds true for some stock desktop apps but if you want, you can open any desktop app this way. Here’s how you can run app from the address bar in File Explorer.

Path environment

In order to run apps from the address bar in File Explorer, you need to add them to the Windows path environment. Read the linked post that explains how to do just that and add the app that you want to open from the File Explorer address bar to the path environment. We’re adding IrfanView.

Open App from File Explorer

Open File Explorer and click inside the address bar. Enter the name of the app’s EXE e.g., for IrfanView, we entered i_view64, tap Enter and the app will open.

Granted IrfanView’s EXE file doesn’t have the most friendly, easy-to-type name so you probably won’t use this particular method to open it.

You can, in theory, rename the EXE of an app before you add it to the Path environment. An easier name can then be used to open the app from the File Explorer however, some apps may break if you rename their EXE. It’s rare but it can happen so be careful and if you begin experiencing problems with the app, restore the name of the EXE to its default name.

Unfortunately, you cannot do this with UWP apps since they can’t be added to the Path environment and they don’t exactly have an EXE file either. You can add VLC player or Notepad++ to the Path environment and thus open both apps from the address bar in File Explorer.

By default, all stock apps that can be found in the following location can be opened from File Explorer’s address bar.

C:\Windows

This folder has the EXE for Notepad, the Windows registry editor, and WordPad. If you’ve installed apps that asked to be added to the Path Environment, chances are you might find those apps here. This means that, in theory, you can move the EXE of an app to this location and open it from File Explorer but you really shouldn’t. An app’s EXE should not be moved out of its install folder and no matter what, it’s rarely a good idea to modify the contents of the Windows folder on your system.

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