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You can bring up the Run prompt by using the Win + R keyboard shortcut 13 Nifty "Windows Key" Tricks You Should Know By Now 13 Nifty "Windows Key" Tricks You Should Know By Now The Windows Key can be used to do a lot of neat things. Here are the most useful shortcuts that you should already be using. Read More , and with this simple prompt window, you now have a whole new world of instant-access possibilities. The Run prompt can indeed save you a lot of time and headaches.

windows-run-prompt-tricks-variables

For example, if you type %AppData% into the prompt and hit Enter, it will instantly open up the Application Data directory for the current account that’s logged into Windows — and this directory is where application-related settings, configurations, and data are stored.

Those percent signs can also be used in conjunction with any other Windows environment variable What Are Environment Variables & How Can I Use Them? [Windows] What Are Environment Variables & How Can I Use Them? [Windows] Every now and then I'll learn a little tip that makes me think "well, if I known that a year ago then it'd have saved me hours of time". I vividly remember learning how to... Read More to open up other locations on your drive:

  • %HomePath%: Your home directory under C:\Users.
  • %ProgramFiles%: The Program Files directory.
  • %WinDir%: The C:\Windows directory.
  • %Temp%: The C:\Temp directory.

But the Run prompt can also be used to run any program on the computer as long as the program is included in one of the system’s known path directories. Much could be said about this, but here are several useful default programs worth checking out:

And finally, the Run prompt can also be used to run various Manangement Consoles that make it easy to customize and maintain your Windows system:

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  • devmgmt.msc: Configure devices and hardware. (e.g. disable devices, update drivers, troubleshoot issues)
  • diskmgmt.msc: Manage disk volumes. (e.g. resize disk partitions)
  • perfmon.msc: Monitor system performance. (e.g. memory, hard disks, processors)
  • services.msc: Configure system services. (e.g. disable, start, stop, or restart services)

Image Credit: Windows 10 by RoSonic via Shutterstock

  1. GodSponge (EB)
    November 25, 2015 at 9:41 am

    What I want to know is what is the variable for the Program Files (x86) folder.

    • CyberInferno
      November 25, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      It's %programfiles(x86)%

      • GodSponge (EB)
        November 27, 2015 at 9:54 am

        Is it really? I didn't know that parentheses worked in env variables. Very nice, thanks!

      • Joel Lee
        December 1, 2015 at 8:15 pm

        Thanks CyberInferno, that's good to know!

  2. Howard Blair
    November 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    "%Temp%: The C:\Temp directory."
    Actually, this is *supposed* to point to the "C:\Users\{username}\temp" directory (so that different users have a rights-protected "temp" directory of their own).

    • Joel Lee
      December 1, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Looks like there's a discrepancy for %TEMP% depending on whether it's defined/used as a system variable or a user variable. Thanks for bringing that up, Howard!

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