“Open file location,” a nice feature in Windows

November 23, 2016 (179)

in Articles and Tips on Windows

I will show you all the instances where the feature “Open file location” is useful in Windows. This feature allows you to open the parent or containing folder of any file quickly to look at all other files in that folder.

Let’s see two examples where “Open File Location” menu in Windows can be useful.

Example 1: Search for files in Dropbox in Windows File Manager and then open the location, the parent folder, of a file

Suppose I want to see all my note files in the Dropbox folder. I create my notes with my own developed program, WhizFolders, and the file extension of the note files is “.wzfolder.”

So I start Windows File Manager and select the Dropbox folder. Then I type “.wzfolder” in the Search box as shown in the following picture.

Picture: Searching for a particular File Type in Windows File Explorer

As soon as I do that and hit Enter, I get a list of all my WhizFolder note files as shown in the following picture. I want to see the folder where the file “linq.wzfolder” containing Notes on Linq is present so that I can find other files related to programming there. So I select the file and right-click on the menu “open file location.”

Picture: Open File Location of the selected file by right-click menu

That does the job and I see the folder open in Windows File Manager.

Example 2: Another use of this feature: I can open the parent folder of a program to see what all files or other programs are present in the same folder

Suppose you have the program Xenu, a great free utility for web masters, on your desktop as shown in the following picture.

Picture: Find location of a Program from its Desktop Icon

Suppose I want to see if there is some documentation on “What’s New in this program.” Such files in case of freeware are normally present in the same folder where the program exists. To open that folder, I right-click on the desktop icon for Xenu and select the menu “Open file location” as shown in the following picture.

Picture: Open Location of the program Xenu to look at its accompanying files

As soon as I do that, the parent folder opens and I can see theĀ Whatsnew.txt file that I can then open to see what all has changed in the current version of the program.

Picture: Result of Opening File Location showing the containing folder of the program Xenu

I have found this feature to be a great addition to Windows since Windows 7

This not only works on the desktop shortcuts but also on the files and folders in Windows File Manager (Explorer). If you select a folder in Windows File Manager and right-click, this menu item changes to “Open folder location” which again means the parent or containing folder of the selected folder. This menu operation is available in Explorer all the time. For example, you already saw at the top how I can search for files in the Explorer and when looking at the search list, I can quickly get to the parent folder of a file or folder in the search list.

This feature “Open file location” is missing in Windows XP. But if you are using my own developed program, ShowSize, you can get this on the right-click menu of ShowSize as shown in the following picture even on Windows XP.

Picture: Getting the same feature in Windows XP from the program ShowSize

As you can see in the picture above, I searched for my notes file in a different way in ShowSize. I opened the File Types list that shows files grouped by their file types. Now I right-click on the desired note file and then right-click on the menu “Open Containing Folder in Explorer” which is essentially the same thing as the “Open file location” described earlier.

Download and Try the utility ShowSize for Windows

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Incidentally, ShowSize has some other features too.

  • The file types list is quite useful as you can also see that all my .wzfolder files in Dropbox take up 37.62 MB of disk space. Such information can be useful when I want to free up some space in Dropbox.
  • I can also open a “command prompt” or “admin command prompt” on the containing folder from the same menu shown above.
  • In fact, ShowSize has 7 useful, flat and hierarchical list of files and folders that you won’t find in other programs. For example, if you use the Folder Sizes list on your Dropbox folder, you will know how much space Dropbox is taking on your disk as well as how much space each subfolder is taking within Dropbox.
  • You can also see the space occupied by various file types, file owners, etc.

You can download a Trial Edition of ShowSize from the web site ShowSize.com.