5 Ways to Access Files, Folders and Programs Quickly In Windows

Every day we access a number of files, folders and programs when we log on to our computer. Most of them are frequently repeated and we want to keep those files at a place where they can be reached quickly. The easiest place to have all the shortcuts is the Desktop.

Placing too many items on the desktop is not a good practice as it may slow down your system while making it harder for us to find the required shortcuts or files which makes our purpose of quickly accessing the files void. Today we will discuss a few ways to open files, folders and programs quickly and easily which will prove quite handy for all of us. All these ways can be used in a combination so that nothing gets cluttered.

Create A Shortcut

Creating a shortcut on desktop is the easiest and quickest way to access any file, folder or program in your computer. Besides Desktop, you can save these shortcuts in any folder in the computer.

  • Select the file, folder or program and right click on it to open menu.
  • Select Create Shortcut and place the shortcut at your desired location.


There is another way of creating a shortcut :

  • Right click on an empty screen area on the Desktop –> New –> Shortcut
  • A window appears asking you to type the file, folder or program location. You can also browse to specify the location.
  • Give a proper name to your shortcut.

Your shortcut is created. Note that you can create this shortcut on desktop or anywhere, inside any folder, any location you want. You may cancel anytime if you change your mind about creating a shortcut.


Set Hotkeys

You have created a shortcut but you want some keyboard shortcut to open your file? Select the shortcut (you have already created) of target program, file or folder and follow the steps below to create the hotkey.

  • Right click –> Properties –> Select Shortcut Tab
  • Set your customized ‘Shortcut Key’ to your file, folder or program. There is one limitation , however, you can use only single alphabet after Ctrl+Alt to set your shortcut key.


Pin to Taskbar

You may have placed your browser and media player on the taskbar for quicker access. But do you know that you can also pin most visited folders to your taskbar? Select the folder, drag it and drop on to the taskbar. Take care that you do not drop it in the ‘Start’ button or in the notification area because you can not pin any folder there. Similarly, you can also drag and drop your programs on to task bar or use the menu interface to do so:

  • Select Program -> Right click -> Pin to Task Bar


Have you recently used any program, liked it and feel that you will use it frequently? You do not need to go through the messy path d:\root folder\folder1\folder2\folder3.

  • Go to Start Menu -> Select Program -> Right Click -> Pin to Taskbar


You can also enable the Desktop toolbar which will place the toolbar on the taskbar. You will be able to access the Desktop items without going to the Desktop.

  • Go to Start –> Properties –> Select Toolbars Tab
  • Check ‘Desktop’ –> Apply –> OK



Now, your taskbar should look like this :


Pin to Start Menu

Start Menu is the most visited place by every Windows user. You can pin your programs to start menu in the same way as you pinned it to the taskbar.

1- Drag and drop your programs to start button or the start menu.

2- Or Right click on the program and select ‘Pin to Start Menu’.

You might have noticed that we can not pin file to start menu. So, should we make a compromise? No! we will use another trick to pin our recently used files to start menu.

3-Go to Start Menu –> Properties –> Start Menu –> Customize

Scroll down to find Recent Items -> Check Recent Item. You can change the number of programs to be displayed in recent items using the option provided at bottom of the dialog box.



Run Command


Are you good at remembering paths and locations? If yes, why not use run command prompt to access files, folders and programs quickly?


There are many different ways to access run command. However, it can be more handy if we pin run command to our start menu. Windows XP and Vista users can easily find ‘Run’ in their start menu but Window 7 users have to add it explicitly. To find out how, read the tutorial Pin Run Command to Start Menu.

You can also use the Run Manager to create Run commands on the fly.

Which methods do you use to access files and folders quickly? Share your tricks with us in the comments.