Windows Run dialog

Article Source || GitLab Discussion
Created: 04 October 2021 || Edited: 31 October 2021

On Windows, most often you run an application by finding and double-clicking it’s .exe file. What a lot of people don’t realise is that you can launch any application or open any file you want by typing a single command. That can be achieved inside the Run dialog.


  1. Opening the Run dialog
  2. Commands
    1. Folders
    2. Programs
    3. Windows settings
  3. For more

Opening the Run dialog


To open the Run dialog, you can either:

A) Press Win + R key combination


B) Right click on the Windows menu, and then press Run





You can open any folder by typing in it’s full path. So, if you have a folder named Work inside your Documents folder, the full path will be something like C:\Users\John\Documents\Work\.

If your desired folder is directly in your account folder, so Desktop, Documents, Pictures, etc. you can just type in the name of the folder. For example, if you want to open your Pictures folder, just type in pictures and it will be opened.

There are, of course, some more special location, some of which are:

Command Location
%ProgramFiles% Program Files Folder
%AppData% User’s App Data Folder

Bonus: %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu will open the Start Menu folder, from which you can edit what goes inside your start menu.



You can always run any application by typing in it’s full path. So, to launch something like FireFox, you’ll need to type in C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe.

But, whats more important is that you can more easily launch some Windows apps, like Calculator or Control Panel. Here is a list of commands and the application they launch:

Command Application
calc Calculator
mspaint Microsoft Paint
snippingtool Snipping Tool
notepad Notepad
sndvol Volume Mixer
soundrecroder Sound Recorder
wuapp Windows Updates
shutdown* Shutdown or restart computer
cmd Command Prompt
powershell Windows PowerShell
control Control Panel
taskmgr Task Manager
msinfo32 System Information
winver Windows Version Window
cleanmgr Disk Cleanup
dfrgui Disk Cleanup (defragmentation)
mstsc Remote Desktop Connection
regedit Registry Editor
msconfig System Configuration Settings
dcomcnfg Component Services
sigverif File Signature Verification Tool

* The shutdown command requires parameters:

Windows settings


There are also many “shortcuts” to different Windows settings windows. Those include:

Command Setting
mmsys.cpl Sound Properties
powercfg.cpl Power Options
timedate.cpl Time and Date Options
ncpa.cpl Network Connections
inetcpl.cpl Internet Properties
compmgmt.msc Computer Manager
devmgmt.msc Device Manager
diskmgmt.msc Disk Management
firewall.cpl Windows Firewall
sysdm.cpl System Properties
services.msc Services
comexp.msc Component Services
gpedit.msc Group Policy Editor
lusrmgr.msc Local Users and Groups
certmgr.msc Certificate Manager
taskschd.msc Task Scheduler
fsmgmt.msc Shared Folders

Note: cpl stands for Control Panel Item and msc stands for Microsoft System Configuration.

For more


For more commands, check out They have a much bigger list of commands and shortcuts you can use.