Those of us that have been using Windows since the early days are likely still very familiar with navigating the OS without a mouse—and no touchscreen, either! Lots of folks still know how to navigate through command line as well, but this isn’t always helpful or expedient depending on where you need to go. As with all things Microsoft, we are given plenty of ways to get where we need to go, so long as we know the tricks: shell commands. Shell commands have a few functions, but primarily they are used like shortcuts to specific folders.

For example, we could run “shell:downloads” and this would open a new Explorer window showing the current user’s Downloads folder. Likewise, we could run “shell:windows” and this would open a new window showing the C:\Windows\ folder. Depending on your preference, you may find this is easier to remember than “%WinDir%”, which would also take you to the same folder.

Shell commands can be run multiple ways. They can simply be typed in at a Run Prompt (Win + R) and they can be typed into the address bar of Windows Explorer. If you love CMD and PowerShell, you can run them there, too. If you’re in either console, simply preface your shell command with “explorer”, for example: “explorer shell:RecycleBinFolder”.

Aside from navigating, some of these commands have real practical purpose. For example, “shell:common desktop” or “shell:common startup” will take you to the public desktop and public startup folders, respectively. Anything you place in the desktop folder will show on every user’s desktop, and everything you place in the startup folder will run when any user logs into the system.

Want to try a next-level shell command? Try the following “cheat code” for the Windows Master Control Panel, or as it is known online, “God Mode”:


This will open a window with many Control Panel items in a list view and organized by their categories. It’s a very nice way to see nearly every option that is available.

You can also create a shortcut to the Windows Master Control Panel, by simply creating a folder on your desktop and naming it “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”.

I am not going to go into every single shell command and their use cases, but I recommend that every Windows aficionado try to learn and memorize some of these. They will save you time, especially if you’re doing a lot of navigating in Explorer. See the following list of all shell commands:

shell:AccountPictures Account Pictures
shell:AddNewProgramsFolder Add New Programs Folder
shell:Administrative Tools Administrative Tools
shell:AppData App Data
shell:Application Shortcuts Application Shortcuts
shell:AppsFolder Apps Folder
shell:AppUpdatesFolder App Updates Folder
shell:Cache Cache
shell:Camera Roll Camera Roll
shell:CD Burning Temporary Burn Folder
shell:ChangeRemoveProgramsFolder Change Remove Programs Folder
shell:Common Administrative Tools Administrative Tools
shell:Common AppData Common App Data
shell:Common Desktop Public Desktop
shell:Common Documents Public Documents
shell:Common Programs Programs
shell:Common Start Menu Start Menu
shell:Common Startup Public Startup
shell:Common Templates Common Templates
shell:CommonDownloads Public Downloads
shell:CommonMusic Public Music
shell:CommonPictures Public Pictures
shell:CommonRingtones Common Ringtones
shell:CommonVideo Public Videos
shell:ConflictFolder Conflict Folder
shell:ConnectionsFolder Connections Folder
shell:Contacts Contacts
shell:ControlPanelFolder Control Panel Folder
shell:Cookies Cookies
shell:CredentialManager Credential Manager
shell:CryptoKeys Crypto Keys
shell:CSCFolder CSC Folder
shell:Desktop Desktop
shell:Device Metadata Store Device Metadata Store
shell:DocumentsLibrary Documents
shell:Downloads Downloads
shell:DpapiKeys DPAPI Keys
shell:Favorites Favorites
shell:Fonts Fonts
shell:Games Games
shell:GameTasks Game Tasks
shell:History History
shell:HomeGroupCurrentUserFolder Home Group Current User Folder
shell:HomeGroupFolder Home Group Folder
shell:ImplicitAppShortcuts Implicit App Shortcuts
shell:InternetFolder Internet Folder
shell:Libraries Libraries
shell:Links Links
shell:Local AppData Local App Data
shell:LocalAppDataLow Local App Data Low
shell:LocalizedResourcesDir Localized Resources Directory
shell:MAPIFolder MAPI Folder
shell:MusicLibrary Music
shell:My Music Music
shell:My Pictures Pictures
shell:My Video Videos
shell:MyComputerFolder My Computer Folder
shell:NetHood Net Hood
shell:NetworkPlacesFolder Network Places Folder
shell:OEM Links OEM Links
shell:OneDrive OneDrive
shell:Original Images Original Images
shell:Personal Documents
shell:PhotoAlbums Slide Shows
shell:PicturesLibrary Pictures
shell:Playlists Playlists
shell:PrintersFolder Printers Folder
shell:PrintHood Print Hood
shell:Profile Profile
shell:ProgramFiles Program Files
shell:ProgramFilesCommon Program Files Common
shell:ProgramFilesCommonX64 Program Files Common X64
shell:ProgramFilesCommonX86 Program Files Common X86
shell:ProgramFilesX64 Program Files X64
shell:ProgramFilesX86 Program Files (x86)
shell:Programs Programs
shell:Public Public
shell:PublicAccountPictures Public Account Pictures
shell:PublicGameTasks Public Game Tasks
shell:PublicLibraries Public Libraries
shell:Quick Launch Quick Launch
shell:Recent Recent Items
shell:RecordedTVLibrary Recorded TV
shell:RecycleBinFolder Recycle Bin Folder
shell:ResourceDir Resource Directory
shell:Retail Demo Retail Demo
shell:Ringtones Ringtones
shell:Roamed Tile Images Roamed Tile Images
shell:Roaming Tiles Roaming Tiles
shell:SavedGames Saved Games
shell:Screenshots Screenshots
shell:Searches Searches
shell:SearchHistoryFolder Search History Folder
shell:SearchHomeFolder Search Home Folder
shell:SearchTemplatesFolder Search Templates Folder
shell:SendTo Send To
shell:SkyDriveCameraRoll Sky Drive Camera Roll
shell:SkyDriveDocuments Sky Drive Documents
shell:SkyDriveMusic Sky Drive Music
shell:SkyDrivePictures Sky Drive Pictures
shell:Start Menu Start Menu
shell:StartMenuAllPrograms Start Menu All Programs
shell:Startup Startup
shell:SyncCenterFolder Sync Center Folder
shell:SyncResultsFolder Sync Results Folder
shell:SyncSetupFolder Sync Setup Folder
shell:System System
shell:SystemCertificates System Certificates
shell:SystemX86 System X86
shell:Templates Templates
shell:ThisPCDesktopFolder This PC Desktop Folder
shell:User Pinned User Pinned
shell:UserProfiles Users
shell:UserProgramFiles User Program Files
shell:UserProgramFilesCommon User Program Files Common
shell:UsersFilesFolder Users Files Folder
shell:UsersLibrariesFolder Users Libraries Folder
shell:VideosLibrary Videos
shell:Windows Windows

If you have more questions, we can help. If “shell:Mirazon Help” doesn’t work, you can always send us an email at or give us a call at 502-240-0404!