Windows “Run” Commands You Should Know

WindowsIt’s ultimately more productive to use a computer if you never have to take your hands off your keyboard. Obviously some things can only be done with a mouse, but the more you can do with your keyboard, the less time you’ll have to move your hand off the keyboard, to the mouse, and back again. We’ve featured some keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Wordkeyboard shortcuts for Outlook and even a handy keyboard shortcut for Chrome but now we’re going to introduce you to a bunch of handy “Run” commands that get you going quickly without your mouse being involved.

First off, how do you get to the “Run” dialog? Quickest and easiest way is to hit “Windows Key + R” on your keyboard. Optionally, you can go to your start menu and click on the “Run” command (if available) or you can type “Run” in the search bar, but that is far too many steps to open up this simple dialog:

Windows 7 Run Dialog

There are a multitude of commands you can run here by typing them out, and just hitting enter (again, goal is to save trips to the mouse, so hit “Enter” on your keyboard instead of “OK” with your mouse). Here are some of our favorites (the command itself is in bold):

  • winword: This opens up Microsoft Word.
  • excel: This opens up Microsoft Excel
  • outlook: You guessed it: This opens up Outlook. Similarly, you can use “outlook /safe” to open up Outlook in Safe Mode, which disables all Add-Ons and some features, which can help in troubleshooting.
  • chrome: This opens up chrome if you have it installed.
  • iexplore: Opens up Internet Explorer.
  • firefox: Sensing a pattern here? This opens up Firefox, if installed. This works with some programs, but not others, depending on what their executable filename is (that’s why it’s “winword” above instead of “word”, which is a holdover from when the program was first created).
  • calc: Opens up the Windows calculator.
  • notepad: Opens up Notepad to scribble down a quick text note.
  • sndvol: Sound and volume adjustments.
  • resmon: If you’re curious what is bogging down your system, this advanced tool can help track down the culprit.
  • charmap: Character map, that handy little tool to copy symbols out of your typefaces.
  • cleanmgr: Runs the Windows Disk cleanup tool. To clean things up further, we have more Windows clean-up tips here.
  • winver: Need to know precisely what version of Windows you’re running? This will tell you.
  • mstsc: Remote desktop connections.
  • snippingtool: Open the Windows snipping tool (we prefer other screenshot options).
  • fonts: Opens up the fonts folder so you can install or remove fonts from your system.
  • %userprofile%: To open up the current user profile folder.

Below are some more advanced options, but be careful with what you mess with in here as things could go sideways quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing:

  • \ : Typing a simple \ in the run dialog will open up your C: drive.
  • .. : Two dots “..” will open up your computer’s user folders. You shouldn’t have to mess with anything in here (or on the C: drive for that matter) but occasionally it’s needed.
  • services.msc: This opens up the Windows services dialog, which allows you to start and stop Windows services.
  • optionalfeatures: Turn off Windows components that you may or may not need
  • appwiz.cpl: Open up the add/remove program area in Windows to quickly add, remove, or tweak programs.
  • cmd: Open a command prompt.
  • devmgmt: Open up Device Manager.
  • eventvwr: View Windows event logs.
  • taskmgr: Task Manager
  • rstrui: System restore.

Have a run command you use a ton? Share it in the comments below!

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