Change Win + E Shortcut to Open a Different Folder or App

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

The Win + E shortcut is a time-saving feature in Windows, which opens the File Explorer by default. However, there may be instances when you want this shortcut to open a different folder or even launch a different application. This article will explore two methods to customize the Win+E shortcut in Windows 11 or Windows 10: using a VBScript file in combination with the Windows Registry, and using AutoHotkey.

Also see: How to Remap Keyboard Keys in Windows 11

How to change Win E Shortcut in Windows 11 or 10

Why change the Windows + E shortcut?

By default, the Win + E shortcut opens the File Explorer in Windows 11/10, which is a useful tool for navigating your computer’s file system. However, not every user needs to access the File Explorer frequently, and some may find it more beneficial to have the shortcut open a different folder or application.

Some reasons you might want to change the Win+E shortcut include:

  1. Faster access to frequently used folders: If you often work with files in a specific folder, changing the Win+E shortcut to open that folder directly can save you time navigating through the File Explorer.
  2. Launching frequently used applications: If there is an application that you frequently use, such as a different file manager, code editor, project management tool, or even a game, changing the Win+E shortcut to launch that application can save you time and help you start working more quickly.
  3. Personalization: Customizing the Win+E shortcut to suit your preferences is a way to make your Windows experience more personal and tailored to your specific needs.

With the methods outlined in this article, you can customize the Win+E shortcut to open whatever folder or program you want.

Related issue: Windows 11 Keyboard Shortcuts Not Working (Fix)

How to change the Win + E shortcut in Windows 11/10

Below, we will explore two different methods that you can use to change the Win + E shortcut in Windows 11 or 10, depending on your preferences and technical expertise.

Handy hint: How to Make File Explorer Open to This PC on Windows 11

Method 1: Use VBScript and the Windows Registry

This method involves creating a VBScript file and then modifying the Windows Registry to change the target of the Win + E shortcut. A notable aspect of using this method is that it not only changes the Win + E shortcut behavior but also affects the File Explorer taskbar shortcut.

Step 1: Create a VBScript file

  1. Launch Notepad on your computer.
  2. Copy the following code and paste it into Notepad:
    WScript.CreateObject("Wscript.Shell").Run "C:\FolderToOpen"

    Change Windows E shortcut keys to open a different folder

  3. Replace C:\FolderToOpen with the path to the desired folder or application that you want the Win+E shortcut to open. You can also use special shell paths like shell:Downloads for the Downloads folder or shell:Personal for the Documents folder.Save the file with a name such as openthis.vbs in a safe and easily accessible location on your computer, such as the “C:\” directory. Ensure that you remember the location, as you will need it in the next step.VBScript to change Win+E shortcut key

Step 2: Modify the Windows Registry

Editing the Windows Registry can be a complicated and potentially risky process. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s easy to make a mistake that could cause your computer to malfunction or even stop working altogether. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to create a system restore point before making any changes to the Registry. This way, if something goes wrong, you can easily revert your computer back to a previous state.

  1. Press the Win+R keys on your keyboard to open the Run dialog.
  2. Type regedit into the Run dialog and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.Open Registry Editor
  3. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following registry key:
  4. If the key “{52205fd8-5dfb-447d-801a-d0b52f2e83e1}” doesn’t exist, you’ll need to create it manually along with its subkeys. To do so, right-click on the CLSID key, select New > Key, and name it {52205fd8-5dfb-447d-801a-d0b52f2e83e1}.Create new registry key
  5. Then, create the shell, opennewwindow, and command subkeys using the same method.Change Win E shortcut registry keys
  6. Set the default value data for the command key as:
    wscript.exe path\to\openthis.vbs

    Replace path\to with the actual location where you saved the openthis.vbs file. For example:

    wscript.exe C:\openthis.vbs

    wscript.exe Windows 11

  7. Create a new string (REG_SZ) value named “DelegateExecute” and set its value data to an empty string. To do this, right-click the command key, select New > String Value, name it DelegateExecute, and leave its value data empty.Create string value for DelegateExecute
  8. Close the Registry Editor.

With these changes, the Win+E shortcut will now open the folder or application specified in the openthis.vbs file. This method ensures that multiple instances of explorer.exe do not remain open, which can occur when using the explorer.exe <folderpath> command in a shortcut.

Restoring the default behavior of Win+E: If you wish to revert to the default behavior of Win+E opening File Explorer, simply delete the {52205fd8-5dfb-447d-801a-d0b52f2e83e1} key that you created in the registry.

Useful tip: Create Website or Application Shortcut on Desktop via Chrome

Method 2: Modify the Win + E shortcut with AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey is an open-source scripting language that allows you to create scripts for automating tasks and customizing hotkeys in Windows. In this method, we will use AutoHotkey to intercept the Win + E hotkey and launch the desired folder or application. The main advantage of using AutoHotkey is its simplicity and flexibility, allowing you to quickly switch between different folders or applications by modifying the script.

Step 1: Install AutoHotkey

  1. Visit the AutoHotkey website and download the installer.
  2. Install AutoHotkey on your computer by following the installation prompts.

Step 2: Create an AutoHotkey script

  1. Open Notepad on your computer.
  2. Copy the following code and paste it into Notepad:
    #e::Run "C:\Programs\game.exe"

    How to make Win E shortcut to open a different app

  3. Replace C:\Programs\game.exe with the path to the desired folder or application that you want the Win+E shortcut to open. You can also use special shell paths like shell:Libraries for the Libraries folder.
  4. Save the file with an .ahk extension, such as win_e_shortcut.ahk.
  5. Double-click the .ahk file to run the script. This will place a small AutoHotkey icon in the system tray, indicating that the script is active.Modify Win E shortcut Windows 11 or 10

Now, pressing Win+E will launch the folder or application specified in the AutoHotkey script. If you want to change the target, simply edit the .ahk file and reload the script by right-clicking the AutoHotkey icon in the system tray and selecting “Reload This Script“.

Change or disable Windows E keyboard shortcut keys Windows 11

To have the script run automatically at startup, place the .ahk file in the Windows Startup folder (%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup).

Windows E open different folder path

With AutoHotkey, you can avoid the need to go through advanced steps such as editing the Windows Registry, which can be risky if you’re not familiar with it, and quickly configure the Windows + E keyboard shortcut to your liking.

Relevant concern: Windows Key Button Not Working in Windows 11/10

Additional tips for customizing Win+E via AutoHotkey

Launching multiple folders or applications with Win+E: You can also configure the Win+E hotkey to open multiple folders or applications simultaneously. To do this, simply add more lines to your script:

Run "shell:desktop"
Run "C:\MyFolder1"
Run "C:\Path\To\MyApp.exe"

Using AutoHotkey to create context-sensitive hotkeys: AutoHotkey allows you to create context-sensitive hotkeys, which means that the behavior of a hotkey can change depending on the active window or application. For example, you can configure the Win+E hotkey to open a specific folder when you’re working in Microsoft Word and a different folder when you’re browsing the web using Google Chrome. To do this, use the #IfWinActive directive in your script:

#IfWinActive ahk_exe WINWORD.EXE
#e::Run "C:\Documents\WordFiles"
#IfWinActive ahk_exe chrome.exe
#e::Run "C:\Documents\WebProjects"

In this example, pressing Win+E will open the WordFiles folder when Microsoft Word is the active window, and the WebProjects folder when Google Chrome is active. In all other cases, the default behavior of Win+E will be used.


In conclusion, both methods described in this article provide different advantages depending on your needs. The VBScript and Windows Registry method is suitable for those who want to change the behavior of both the Win+E hotkey and the File Explorer taskbar shortcut, while the AutoHotkey method is perfect for users seeking a fast and flexible solution that can be easily customized.

Categories: Windows 10Windows 11

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

Share via
Copy link