Get to know Windows 8’s new shell commands

Shell command Windows 8

Windows comes with a hand full of well-known folders that contain globally unique identifiers — CLSID (Class Identifier), or with specific names — that are assigned in the system. Knowing which they are can make it quicker and easier to open these locations via commands line, by creating Windows shortcuts, or simply using Windows Explorer.

Previous versions of Windows already come with many shell commands and CLSID for known folders (e.g., Music, Documents, AppData, etc.), but now in Windows 8 have some new ones…

Shell commands with CLSID and names, new to Windows 8

All installed Apps

explorer.exe shell:::{4234d49b-0245-4df3-B780-3893943456e1}
shell:AppsFolder

Proximity: Access to the proximity service to enable applications to exchange information with another PC or device when they are close together.

%WinDir%\explorer.exe shell:::{8060B2E3-C9D7-4A5D-8C6B-CE8EBA111328}

Metro style file search: Search files in your PC.

%WinDir%\explorer.exe shell:::{2559a1f0-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}

Refresh or Reset PC: Access to this utility.

%WinDir%\explorer.exe shell:::{9FE63AFD-59CF-4419-9775-ABCC3849F861}

All settings: Very similar to Windows’ God Mode this command will allow you to access all operating system configurations settings, but it is just sorted in a different way.

%WinDir%\explorer.exe shell:::{F90C627B-7280-45db-BC26-CCE7BDD620A4}

Storage Space

%WinDir%\explorer.exe shell:::{F942C606-47AB-0914-BE56-1321B8035096}

Roaming Tiles

shell:Roaming Tiles

User Account Pictures

explorer.exe shell:AccountPictures

How to use shell command

In the examples below you can learn how to use CLSIDs or Names mentioned above in different sections of Windows.

Windows Explorer Address Bar

  • shell:Name
  • explorer shell:Name
  • explorer.exe shell:::{CLSID}
  • shell:::{CLSID}

Command Prompt

  • explorer shell:Name
  • explorer.exe shell:::{CLSID}

To Create New Shortcuts

  • explorer shell:Name
  • %WinDir%\explorer shell:Name
  • %WinDir%\explorer.exe shell:::{CLSID}
  • explorer.exe shell:::{CLSID}

Creating shortcuts with shell commands

Shortcuts in Windows are useful to get to specific locations quickly and creating them with shell commands are not that different as you are used to with regular shortcuts. Just right-click an empty space in your desktop, from the contextual menu select NewShortcut and in Type the location of the item, copy and paste one of the shell commands (e.g., explorer.exe shell:::{4234d49b-0245-4df3-B780-3893943456e1}) and finish creating the shortcut.

Run command (Windows 8 Logo Monochrome+ R)

  • shell:Name
  • explorer shell:Name
  • explorer.exe shell:::{CLSID}
  • shell:::{CLSID}

Registry

  • explorer shell:Name
  • explorer.exe shell:::{CLSID}

If you like, you can find all the shell commands within Windows in the Name string value for each CLSID (GUID) from the following Registry path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\FolderDescriptions

Did we miss one new to Windows 8? Let us know in the comments below, thanks.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.