Puddle Jumping

Sometimes one just needs to get someplace without a lot of fuss. We’ll show you how to quickly open several folders on your hard drive, such as user profiles in Documents and Settings, your "temp" folder (the one we're always cleaning out), and more…all using the simple "Run" dialog.

Open the Run dialog box from the Start menu (Start/Run...) or by pressing WindowsKey+R. It provides a way to type in a program or filename. This in itself can be convenient if you know you want to run "notepad" but don't want to wade through a large list of programs to find it.

However the Run dialog has another neat feature: when you type something in, Windows will search in the Windows folder, in your Documents and Settings folder, and environment variables. Some of our favorite shortcuts:

In "Run," Type... Windows Opens...
%temp% Your "temp" folder for easy cleaning
local settings\temp Another way to open your "temp" folder
. (period) Your user profile folder under C:\Documents and Settings
.. (two periods) C:\Documents and Settings
..\all users The All Users profile folder under C:\Documents and Settings
desktop A folder containing all the items on your desktop
my documents My Documents folder
printers Printers folder
control Control Panel
fonts Fonts folder
calc Windows calculator
cmd Windows command prompt
sendto The SendTo folder that contains programs on the "Send To" menu when you right click a file
msinfo32 Microsoft System Information utility
freecell Freecell solitaire game
mshearts Hearts card game
winmine Minesweeper game
notepad Notepad
wordpad WordPad
write WordPad
winver Shows Windows version number
tourstart Windows XP welcome tour
logoff Logs you out of Windows

There are a lot more, but these are the most useful and easy to remember. You will find that the Run dialog maintains a history of the last several commands typed, so if you type a few letters you can often pick the command from the list.

May 2006

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