How to Open File Explorer in Windows 10 (Browse Your Files)

Windows Explorer is a convenient utility built into Windows. This article is about how to open Windows File Explorer most easily and quickly.

To open File Explorer

Press and hold down the Windows Key (⊞) and tap the letter E with another finger on your keyboard and release the Windows key.

A new file explorer window instance.

This is the simplest and quickest method to open up Windows File Explorer.

Alternative methods to open Explorer

Alternative Method 1: Click (or double-click) on the This PC icon.

Alternative Method 2: Open the Start Menu and click on the Documents item in the left margin.

Tip: When you hover your mouse pointer over the icons on the left, they will expand revealing their full names.

What is Windows File Explorer?

Windows File Explorer is a file manager program built by Microsoft that is integrated into Windows and considered an actual component.

The layout

The File Explorer contains two main work areas. The area or pane on the left contains the folder tree with all the drives and their folders to allow for quick navigation to storage locations.

The larger area on the right displays anything contained within the item selected on the left.

A menu along the top allows you to change various aspects of how you view File Explorer’s contents.

Other ways to open Windows Explorer

Start Menu

The Start Menu File Explorer search and open.

Tap the Windows Key (⊞) on your keyboard and type file explorer. Move your mouse pointer to hover over the File Explorer item and press the left mouse button.

Run Command

Open the Run Command Dialog box

Explorer.exe command typed into the Run Command window.
  1. Hold down the Windows key (⊞) and tap the letter ‘R’ and release the Windows key.
  2. Type explorer.exe in the text box.
  3. Move your mouse pointer to hover over Ok and press the left mouse button.

Taskbar Pin Icon

The File Explorer icon is pinned in the taskbar.

The group of icons to the right of the Start Menu Button is known as Pinned items. By default (if the icon hasn’t been unpinned), you will see an icon with an image of a folder.

If you place your mouse pointer over it and press the left mouse button, you will open File Explorer.

Desktop Icon Settings

This is a way to permanently add a shortcut to File Explorer on your desktop.

  1. Move your mouse pointer to hover over an unused area of your desktop. Press the right mouse button.
  2. Move your pointer to hover over Personalize and press the left mouse button.
  3. Move your pointer to hover over the Themes menu item in the left-hand column. Left-click on it.
  4. On the far right, move your mouse pointer to hover over Desktop Icon Settings. Press the left mouse button.
  5. Move the pointer to hover over the square to the left of User’s Files and press the left mouse button. Make sure it’s checked inside the box. If not, press the left mouse button again while hovering your pointer over it.
  6. Move your pointer to hover over OK and left-click.
  7. You will notice a new icon on your desktop. It will have your user name as the folder name. Move your mouse pointer to hover over it and press the left mouse button twice to open it at any time.

Conclusion

If you have any icons that may have been deleted in your copy of Windows, the keyboard shortcut remains the surest way of opening Windows File Explorer.

However, if you have tried one of the other methods, and if it works for you, I’m sure you will quickly find your favorite way to open it.