Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Getting to a command prompt from Windows Explorer

Many years ago there was a utility I had installed on my Windows95 or Windows NT box that added an item to the context menu of Windows Explorer allowing me to open a command window with the folder I had in focus as the working directory. Somewhere along the line between Windows Vista and Windows 7 (my current OS) that utility stopped working. I never followed up to find it again and got along without it - though I would miss it from time to time.

Last week a co-worker made me aware that functionality is available in Windows 7, but it's slightly hidden. I have no idea how long it's been an option but am very happy to know about it - and I like to share what makes me happy.

Normally, if you right-click on a folder in Windows Explorer you get the context menu. Here's a shot of what mine looks like:
Context menu
Context Menu

Yours probably looks similar. But what my co-worker pointed out was that if you hold down the shift key when you do the right-click the menu includes an extra item:
context menu after shift key is held down
Context Menu, now with shift key

I have no idea why this isn't just part of the regular context menu, but I'm happy to know it's there now.