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Remember the last time you needed to access one of your system folders, maybe your Music or Pictures or any other system folder. You had to click My Computer then navigate through all that mess of folders until you found the right one.

Well hereís a way to quickly get to any system folder. Just click the Start button > Run. In the Run dialog box type shell:foldername with foldername being the folder you want to view. Example shell:My Pictures click OK.

Below are some common XP shell folders.

Internet Explorer

Shows the Temporary Internet Files folder

Shows the Internet Explorer Cookies folder

Shows the Internet Explorer Favorites folder

Shows Internet Explorer

Applets and applications

shell:Administrative Tools
Shows shortcuts to the applets in your Control Panel\Administrative Tools folder

shell:Common Administrative Tools
Shows shortcuts to the Public applets in your Control Panel\Administrative Tools folder


shell:My Music
Shows the user Music folder

Shows the Public Music folder

shell:My Pictures
Shows the user Pictures folder

Shows the Public Pictures folder

shell:My Video
Shows the user Video folder

Shows the Public Video folder

System Folders

shell:Common AppData
Shows the Public Application Data folder

shell:Common Desktop
Shows the Public Desktop

shell:Common Documents
Shows the Public Documents folder

Shows the Public Downloads folder

shell:Common Programs
Shows the Public Start Menu Programs folder

shell:Common Start Menu
Shows the Public Start Menu folder

shell:Common Startup
Shows the Public Startup folder

shell:Common Templates
Shows the Public Templates folder

Shows the Fonts folder

Shows localized Windows Resources

shell:OEM Links
Shows links provided by your PC manufacturer

Shows the Printers folder

Shows the Program Files folder

Shows the Windows Resources folder (themes are stored here)

Shows the Recycle Bin

Shows the Windows installation folder (usually \Windows)

User Folders

Shows the user Application Data folder

shell:CD Burning
Shows the folder where files are stored before being burned to disc

Shows the Client Side Cache Offline Files folder, if supported

Shows the user desktop folder

Shows the user History folder

shell:Local AppData
Shows the user Application Data folder

Shows the user Network Places folder

Shows the user Documents folder

Shows the user printer shortcuts folder

Shows the user profile folder

Shows the user Start Menu Programs folder

Shows the user’s Recent Documents folder

Shows the user Send To folder

shell:Start Menu
Shows the user Start Menu folder

Shows the user Startup folder

Shows the user Templates folder

They all can be found in the following registry key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

After you have the shell folder open you can also add a shortcut of it to your desktop by right clicking the icon in the navigation bar and dragging it to your desktop and choosing create a shortcut.

This post was originally from my Windows Vista site and a few readers asked if I Shell folders could also be used in Window XP so I did some checking and the results are above.

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  One Response to “Use Shell Folders in XP to quickly Navigate System Folders”

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