Windows Vista Tutorial

Quickly copy a file path in Windows Vista

Each file in Windows XP or Windows Vista has both a name and a location, or path, that define it. The path of a file can be used for backup purposes, links, references, etc. This tutorial will show you several ways to get the path of a file or folder: you will first see how to copy paths the usual way, and then discover a trick that allows you to get the folder or file's path without navigating to it.


Copy the path of a folder

We will show you the traditional method to copying a folder's path: locate the folder whose path you want to copy, and double-click to open it in Windows Explorer: then, right-click on the address bar and choose "Copy Address" (Windows Vista), or right-click and choose "Copy" (Windows XP).

Copy a folder's path in Windows Vista

You now have copied to the Windows clipboard an absolute folder path which includes drive letter or network share name, in the form "C:\testFolder\anotherFolder", which can now be pasted anywhere needed. For files, you would need to copy the containing folder's path, and append to it the file name. There is a better way.

Copy file paths from the context menu (also works on folder paths)

Shift-right-click to copy as path Not quite an "Easter Egg" (undocumented feature), you can hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while right-clicking on files or folders in Windows Explorer or your desktop to reveal additional options. When you right-click on a file while holding down the Shift key, a new Copy as path menu item is visible: click on it, and you will have copied the file path to your clipboard. The same Copy as path option is available if you Shift-right-click on a folder.

Perhaps on the downside, Shift-right-clicking on  a shortcut does not copy the target file to your clipboard, but the actual path of the shortcut file itself. Instead of the target file or folder's path, you will have something like: (where "userName" is your actual Windows user name)
"C:\Users\userName\Desktop\sampleFile.txt - Shortcut.lnk".

This aside, Shift-right-clicking on files or folders will save you quite a few steps in copying folder paths, but especially file paths!

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