How to Locate the Windows Directory on My Computer

By Peter Thomas

A special Windows shortcut will help you access the Windows directory on your hard drive.
i hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from

If you have an unusual Windows configuration or have multiple versions of Windows installed on your hard drives, it can be difficult to figure out which Windows directory is currently being used. The Windows operating system uses a special shortcut that helps it refer to the currently active directory of Windows files. You use this shortcut as well to instantly access the current Windows directory from the My Computer screen.

Click the "Start" button in the system taskbar or press the "Windows" key on your keyboard to open the Start menu.

Select "My Computer" or "Computer" from the right side of the menu. These labels vary among versions of Windows.

Click the navigation bar at the top of the screen and delete any text currently in it.

Type "%windir%" without quotes into the navigation bar and press "Enter." This special shortcut will instantly open your Windows directory.