Windows Vista Secret #1: Open Command Prompt Here

Windows Vista Secret #1: Open Command Prompt Here

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I don't know about your workflow as a developer, but I often find myself switching back and forward between an Explorer window and the command shell. For example, sometimes I'm looking around the filesystem for a project that I created a while back and then I want to build it from the command line or rename some of the files or something.

Here's a trick that I don't think many people are aware of. Right-click on any folder on your Windows Vista machine while holding down the shift key. You'll see an extra context-sensitive menu item there: Open Command Prompt here. Just click on this menu and a command window will open with the current working directory set to the folder's actual location.

Figure: folder context-sensitive menu, with and without the shift key modifier.

In the past there was a Windows XP powertoy that did this; now it's built into the operating system (albeit hidden away to protect the unwary from themselves). What's really cool about this is that if the target folder is a network location, Windows Vista silently maps a network drive to that location before opening the folder (so that your command prompt has a valid path containing a drive letter) and then deletes the network drive once the command prompt is closed.

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