In Part I, I wrote about using [tag]short cut[/tag] keys while using [tag]XP[/tag]. In this edition, I am going to be focusing on the “run line“. This is sometimes referred to as the “start run line“.

There are many “built-in” [tag]commands[/tag] that may be run “out-of-the-box”. When these [tag]tips[/tag] and [tag]tricks[/tag] are employed, you will find yourself able to move through XP much faster and efficiently.

In order to find the “run line” (RL), you will need to click on the [tag]Windows Start Button[/tag].

start arrow

From there, you will notice the “Run…” command a few lines up from the start button. Click it.


When you click the “Run…” line, a new dialog box will appear. This is the box where you will be typing in these [tag]shortcuts[/tag].

run dialog box

Useful RL commands for the novice and end-user:
(These commands are every-day, useful commands that everyone can use)

RED: Will only work if additional software has been installed


  • iexplore Opens Internet Explorer
  • firefox Opens Firefox


  • calc               Opens the Window’s Calculator
  • excel             Opens Microsoft Excel
  • frontpg         Opens Microsoft Frontpage
  • msimn          Opens Outlook Express
  • nero             Opens Nero
  • notepad        Opens Microsoft Notepad
  • outlook        Opens up Microsoft Outlook
  • pbrush         Opens Microsoft Paint
  • powerpnt     Opens Microsoft Power Point
  • tourstart      Opens the Microsoft Tour
  • winword       Opens Microsoft Word
  • wordpad      Opens Microsoft Wordpad
  • Audio/Video:

  • quictimeplayer    Opens Quicktime’s Player
  • moviemk           Opens Window’s Movie Maker
  • realplay             Opens Real Audio’s Player
  • wmplayer           Opens Microsoft Media Player


  • freecell             Opens Freecell
  • pinball              Opens Pinball
  • spider              Opens Spider Solataire
  • winmine           Opens Minesweeper


  • clipbrd            Opens the contents of the clipboard
  • control           Opens the control panel
  • eventvwr        Opens the event viewer (advanced users)
  • explore          Opens Windows explorer
  • logoff             Logoff the current user
  • magnify         Opens the magnify utility
  • osk               Opens the on-screen keyboard
  • msinfo32       Provides the systems information diaglog box
  • printers         Opens the printers panel
  • shutdown      Shutdown the computer
  • taskmgr         Opens the task manager bar (advanced users)


Exploring the computer:

You may also enter simple “paths” into the RL. For example:

  • C:     Will open the contents of your hard drive
  • A:     Will open the contents of your floppy drive
  • D:     Will open the contents of your CD/DVD drive (usually)
  • ?:      Insert a letter for “?”, this will open the contents of that

In addition, you may enter a full file path like C:windows. This will open the windows directory. Also, if you are currently in an explorer window like this (note the address bar),

explorer window

…you may enter an internet address and your default web-browser will open, and… vice-versa; You may also enter a local address, such as C:windows , within your web-browser, and it will open the local path as well.

Opening Web Pages:

By typing in a web-address using the RL, the default browser will automatically open. There is no need to start the web-browser first. Example:


Advanced RL commands:

.CPL commands:
 (These are commands that open up specific control panels)

  • access.cpl           Accessibility options
  • appwiz.cpl          Add or remove programs
  • desk.cpl             Display properties
  • hdwwiz.cpl          Add hardware wizard
  • inetcpl.cpl           Internet Explorer properties
  • intl.cpl               Regional and language options
  • joy.cpl               Game controllers
  • main.cpl             Mouse properties
  • mmsys.cpl         Sounds and audio device properties
  • ncpa.cpl             Network connections
  • nusrmgr.cpl       User accounts
  • odbccp32.cpl     ODBC data source administrator
  • powercfg.cpl      Power options properties
  • sysdm.cpl          System properties
  • telephon.cpl       Phone and modem options
  • timedate.cpl       Date and time properties

.MSC RL commands:
 (These are commands that open up Microsoft Management Console
  Snap-ins. Some of these only work with XP Professional)

  • certmgr.msc         certificates
  • ciadv.msc             Indexing service
  • compmgmt.msc    Computer management
  • devmgmt.msc       Device manager
  • dfrg.msc              Defragmenter
  • diskmgmt.msc      Disk management
  • eventvwr.msc       Event viewer
  • fsmgmt.msc         Shared folders
  • lusrmgr.msc         Local users and groups
  • ntmsmgr.msc       Removable storage
  • ntmsoprq.msc      Removable storage operator requests
  • perfmon.msc        Performance monitor
  • services.msc        Services
  • wmimgmt.msc     Windows management infrastructure

There are others as well…

Creating your own RL shortcuts:

There are many ways to make RL shortcuts to applications. Some involve changing the registry and some involve other complexities. The following are the two easiest methods:

Method 1 (easiest, little risk):

  1. Create a windows shortcut of the application you would like to 
      open by using the RL.

  2. Save it to the “Windows” sub-directory. This is usually the file path:

  3. Now you should be able to open the application using the RL.


Using the method works 99.9% of the time.

Method 2
(a little harder, but still easy in comparison to others,
                 some risk):

  1. Open the [tag]control panel[/tag] and choose Systems Properties.

  2. Choose the Advanced tab and click Environment Variables.


  3. From the “Systems variables” section, highlight “Path” and click edit.


  4. Go to the end of the entry name “Variable value:” and insert
      this: ;c:shortcuts


Do not change anything else, or you may cause severe problems with other applications and their function!      


  5. In the dialog boxes, click ok, then ok, then ok.

  6. Create a directory (folder) called “shortcuts” in your “C: “,
      root directory.  The address line should read, C:shortcuts when
      you open it.

  7. Create a windows shortcut of the application you would like to
      open by using the RL.

  8. Save it to the “shortcut” sub-directory you just made in the previous

  9. Now you should be able to open the application using the RL.

Obviously, when you understand the above process, you may label and locate the directory anywhere you wish. By using the 2nd method you will be able to organize your shortcuts in a much cleaner fashion.

                                                            ~J. Pisano

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