This post will show you different ways to open Windows Tools in Windows 11, a new folder that combines administrative tools with traditional tiny utilities and apps that come with the OS.
For many years, Microsoft used to separate different default apps and utilities across several folders in the Start menu: Windows Accessories, Windows PowerShell, Windows Administrative Tools, Windows System, etc. With Windows 11, the company decided to ditch that order and throw all system utilities into a single folder called Windows Tools. Here is how you can access it.
Open Windows Tools in Windows 11
The Windows Tools folder "lives" inside the Start menu as a regular app, replacing the Windows Accessories, Windows Administrative Tools, Windows PowerShell, and Windows System folders.
- Click the leftmost Start menu icon on the taskbar, then click All Apps.
- Scroll down and find the Windows Tools folder.
- Alternatively, you can type Windows Tools in the Start search box.
- Finally, you can access it with the "W" letter in the alphabet view.
From Windows Search
- Press the Win + S shortcut keys to open the Search pane. Alternatively, click on the Search icon in the taskbar.
- Start typing windows tools. In fact, by simply typing tools will bring you the folder in the search result.
- Click on the Windows Tools entry in the list.
- This will open the folder.
Open Windows Tools in Windows 11 for File Explorer
While Windows Tools is a virtual shell location, it has a physical location that represents its content. It can be found under the following path
%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Windows Tools.
Open the File Explorer app (Win + E), and paste the above line into the address bar, then press Enter.
Alternatively, hit the Win + R hotkey and copy-paste the above command into the Run dialog.
From Control Panel
In Windows 11, the Windows Tools folder also appears in the legacy Control Panel. Open the legacy Control Panel app, and switch to the Icons view. You will see the Windows Tools shortcut.
But that's not all! It also has a couple of Control Panel commands that allows you open the folder directly, similar to classic applets. Use any of these in the Run dialog (Win + R):
control /name Microsoft.AdministrativeTools
Any of the above will directly open the folder.
Create a shortcut
- Open the Start menu and find Windows Tools in the list of all apps.
- Click and hold the left mouse button on Windows Tools, then drag it to the Desktop.
- As an option, you can drag the Windows Tools from the Explorer address bar to the desktop, but note that you won't be able to pin this shortcut to the taskbar. We will discuss this in the next chapter.
Create the shortcut manually
- On the Desktop, right-click and select New Item > Shortcut.
- In a new window, paste the following address into the path field:
- Give your shortcut a name, for example, Windows Tools.
- Change the icon using the properties window.
Finally, you can use Winaero Tweaker to create the Windows Tools shortcut.
With Winaero Tweaker
- Download and install Winaero Tweaker.
- Launch the app and find the Shortcuts section in the left panel.
- Find the Shell Folder (CLSID) Shortcut.
- Click Select Shell Folders.
- Type in Windows Tools into the Filter Items.
- Place a checkmark next to Windows Tools, then press Add.
Now you can open Windows Tools in Windows 11 using the shortcut you have created.
Pin to the taskbar
You can pin the Windows Tools folder to the taskbar, but that process is kind of tricky. You cannot just open Windows Folder, then right-click the shortcut on the taskbar and select Pin to Taskbar. The problem is that in such a case, Windows 11 would pin a shortcut to the classic Control Panel, not the Windows Tools folder. The same is for the shortcut you could create with drag-n-drop from the File Explorer title bar.
To pin Windows Tools to the taskbar, do the following.
- Place a regular shortcut to the Windows Tools folder on the Desktop using the method above.
- Next, right-click the shortcut and select Show More Options.
- Click Pin to Taskbar. Now you have the Windows Tools folder pinned to the taskbar.
Finally, you can add the Windows Tools shortcut to the context menus, keeping it available virtually anywhere in the system. That will work similarly to how you can open Windows Terminal in Windows 11 using the context menus.
- Download ZIP archive with registry files using this link.
- Unpack the archive to any folder. Unblock the files if necessary.
- Open the
Add Windows Tools Context Menu.regfile and confirm changes in the registry. Note that you need an Administrator access level to perform that operation.
- If you want to remove the Windows Tools shortcut from the context menus, open the
Remove Windows Tools Context Menu.regfile.
Finally, Winaero Tweaker users can add or remove Windows Tools from the context menu with ease.
- Download and install Winaero Tweaker.
- Press Ctrl + F or click in the search box.
- Type windows tools.
- For the Context menu \ Windows Tools option, check the checkbox on the right.
- Voila, you now have the folder in the desktop context menu.
Important: In a typical and confusing manner, Microsoft tends to overcomplicate things a bit in Windows 11. The latest operating system from Microsoft comes with redesigned context menus that also include the "Show More" option. That option launches classic Windows 10-styled context menus. As of now, you cannot place new entries into the new context menus, so you need to click Show More Options or press Shift + F10 to access context menus with custom shortcuts.
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