Use Windows File Explorer  Step by Step Guide ▷ 2020

You imagine how would Windows be without its famous file explorer? It sure would be a real chaos for the user. Since the 1990s, the visual file system has accompanied Microsoft’s flagship software. Thanks to this, Windows became the best-selling operating system of the moment. It is even prior to Internet Explorer.

Nowadays we couldn’t conceive of any OS without similar features. We are so used to using it, it seems natural, but are we using its potential to the fullest?

With the latest updates, very useful tools have been added, which not all users usually take advantage of. Continue reading this post and you will be able to handle the Windows file explorer like an expert.

What are the main functions of Windows native file explorer?

Windows 10 File Explorer Parts

Before becoming a professional in the matter, it is paramount know how this tool is made. We will see which are the most important parts and buttons.

Inside the browser window we will notice three different sectors. The sidebar, which contains the accesses to the roots of all the files, along with the most used shortcuts and network connections. At the top we will find a address bar, which indicates the location and container files of each file. In addition to the settings tabs. The largest and most important sector is that of the explorer itself.

With this in mind we are going to know the main functions:

The main one is to manage and order all the files, archives and programs that exist on the PC. For this, it uses other tools that are copy, paste, cut, find, delete and rename.

If you look at it in a more traditional way, works in a similar way to a physical file. If you don’t know what it is, you can ask your parents or grandparents if necessary. It was a piece of furniture whose drawers contained cardboard folders (arranged alphabetically) that in turn housed documentation. The functions named above had to be performed manually.

One of the differences between the analog and digital method is established in the compression of empty spaces. Many of our files use repeating data, white space is one of them. The system compresses these null elements so that they take up less space on the disk.

Printing from Windows Explorer is another of the great comparative advantages. The system allows us to send certain documents to the printer without having to open an application additional. However, we always recommend reviewing the file before doing so.

Steps to use file explorer in Windows 10, 7 and 8 like an expert

Now that we know what the functions of this essential tool are, let’s see how to handle it more efficiently. It is important to say that there are several routes to reach the same end.

We recommend that you try each of them and then choose the one that has given you the best result:

Open file explorer

Through the search engine in the Start Menu.

It’s a peculiar way to open it:

  • Press the Start Button (from the Taskbar or with the keyboard).
  • Then write “Explorer”.
  • Select File Explorer.

In the Task Bar

Default, the icon of a file appears in your main bar:

  • Pressing it will send you to the file explorer.
  • In case you don’t have this access, use the previous method.
  • Once open, left click on it in the taskbar.
  • Choose “Pin to taskbar”.

With the Quick Menu

A very simple way to open it:

  • Secondary click on the Windows logo in the task bar.
  • Choose “File Browser”.
  • After this step, a new window will open with Windows explorer.
  • Quick access to this menu is done by pressing the buttons “Windows + X”.

With access from the Start Menu

Within the main menu, on its left side panel, there are five icons. In ascending order Shut Down, Settings, Images, Documents, and User. Take a look at the following:

  • Press “Documents”.
  • It will take you to the file of the same name in the root of the main disk.
  • From there you can explore all the files.

Using the Task Manager

Open explorer from task manager

To access this window, you can right-click on the taskbar and choose the corresponding button or with the famous sequence “Ctrl + Alt + Del”. In Windows 10 you will see a preview window. Follow the instructions:

  • Choose “Task Manager”.
  • Go to the menu “Archive”.
  • Then “Run new task”.
  • Writes “Explorer” or “Explorer.exe”.
  • Press “To accept”.

Using Power Shell

It is not a fuel, but an intermediate tool between the command console and the regular interface:

  • Enter the main search bar and type “Power Shell”.
  • Select the same.
  • A blue window will open, where you must type “Explorer.exe”.
  • Doing so will open the browser.

With Cortana

This is the system’s voice assistant tool. You need a connected or built-in microphone in the case of laptops:

  • Start Cortana from the taskbar.
  • Press the microphone icon.
  • Pronounce “Open browser”.
  • The program will recognize the command and open Windows Explorer.

Creating a Shortcut

If the above methods weren’t enough, We’ll show you how to create a quick link to File Explorer from the desktop:

  • Right-click on the desktop. Be careful not to do it on any icon.
  • In the drop down menu, select “New” and later “Direct access”.
  • In the text bar that will appear, type “Explorer.exe”.
  • Press “Next” and name this new access.
  • Press “Finalize” and you will see a new icon on the desktop.

With the Run tool

It may happen that the Windows Explorer task stops working due to a system problem. When this happens the task bar will disappear. Don’t be alarmed, the latest updates allow you to automatically restart your browser. But if not, follow these steps.

  • Open the Run box, with the access “Windows + R”.
  • Writes “Explorer.exe”

Find a File

When we acquire a new computer, or if we format the one we already had, it is easy to find the files and archives, since they are very few. But over time, our album inflates with content. For this reason the browser’s search service is essential.

To perform a search correctly follow these steps:

  • Open the file explorer in any of the ways we show you.
  • In the upper right corner you will find a bar with the word “Search”.
  • Write on it what you want to find. It can be the file or file name. You do not need to write the extension or the word in its entirety.
  • The system will start the search immediately. It is not necessary to type the entire name or extension. The results will be displayed along with its location and modification date.
  • Quick access to the search bar within the browser is done with the keys “Ctrl + F”.
  • You can speed up the search by selecting the file or disk where you think the result is.

Customize Quick Access Bar

This section within the explorer was added in the latest versions of Windows. Shows the most used filesIn addition, the accesses to Desktop, Downloads, Documents and Images are anchored. Luckily this list can be modified. Doing it is easy.

Follow these prompts:

If you wish remove any of these accesses from the list.

  • Press the right button on it.
  • Choose “Unpin from Quick Access” (if it appears with a needle pin). OR “Remove from Quick Access” (if it is a recommended file).

For create one do the following.

  • Locates the file you want to pin.
  • Drag it (from the window or from the address bar) to the menu in question.
  • Make sure you don’t drop it inside another file. This will just copy it into this one.

List of the best alternative external file explorers to Windows

List of the best alternative external file browsers to Windows

As we have said before, the Windows File Explorer tool is essential and it would be difficult to use the system without it. It may happen, however, that look for other options to manage your files and contents.

That is why we chose five alternatives:

FAR Manager

For users who long for the Old MS-DOS (or maybe you don’t like to use the mouse). It is a browser with an old interface that works in current versions of Windows. To move between files you must use the indicated keys. It also has many of the current browser functions.

Download FAR Manager Windows


It has a comparative advantage with other tools. Has the ability to read discs with ext systems (ext2, 3 and 4), in addition to Fat32 and NTFS usual. It is not a minor detail, since these types of disks could be opened only with Linux OS

Download Ext2explore Windows

Immersive Explorer

Continuing with the nostalgic, this alternative offers an interface to Windows 8.0 version style. If you are a lover of this operating system, this minimalist browser will be to your liking.

Download Immersive Explorer Windows

Total Commander

It can also read ext2, ext3 and ext4 system discs. It is ideal for computers with two operating systems, since it can be accessed on any disk. In addition, it has the rename files and files in a systematic or massive way.

Download Total Commander Windows


If you are lucky enough to handle operating systems from different companies, this tool can be very useful. Being compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux you can use it on all your computers without dramatically changing the interface.

Download MuCommander Windows

Download MuCommander MacOS

Download MuCommander Linux

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will also be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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