Open a DOS Command Window from any Folder in Explorer

Open a DOS Command Window from any Folder in Explorer

If you still use a lot of DOS commands or execute batch files that you have acquired or written over time, this tip can save you a lot of typing. Many administrators and co-workers have thanked me for this tip, so I thought I would share it.

Normally, when you use the standard DOS window, you are placed at the “C:>” prompt. Then, you use the ‘CD’ command to change to the directory where you want to be (sometimes typing a very log subdirectory sequence).

Years ago, I found a shortcut. You can navigate easily to any given folder using the Windows Explorer, then right click on that folder, and choose ‘DOS Command’. This option brings up a DOS window, placing you right in the directory to which you were pointing.

File extensions can be associated to any given application, so that when you right click on a file, the ‘Open’ popup menu option usually invokes an application automatically. But many people do not realize that a ‘folder’ can be associated with an application as well (it is really just another file type).

Here’s how to establish this feature On a Windows NT machine (there are slight variations on these instructions to work with Windows 98 and Windows 2000):

  1. Open up explorer, choose View, Options, and then pick the’File Types’ tab. In the ‘Registered file types’ list box, look for and select the ‘File Folder’ or ‘Folder’ file type, and then hit the ‘Edit…’ button. This brings up the ‘Edit File Type’ dialog. Notice the Actions list box below, which probably shows ‘explore’ and ‘open’. The default (action executed when double clicking on a file) is in bold.
  2. Press the ‘New…’ button to create a new action. Give the action a name like ‘DOS Command’ and type the name of the program that executes the DOS window in the next text box. Usually it will be ‘C:WINNTsystem32Cmd.exe’ (don’t type the quotes) but this will depend on where you installed your operating system. Press the ‘Ok’ button on the panels (New Action, Edit File Type, and Options). To be on the safe side, both the Folder and theFile Folder file types should be updated.
  3. Go back into Explorer, right click on any folder, choose ‘DOS Command’, and a DOS window should open up for you and place you in the subdirectory that you chose.
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