WIN + E – Open new tab in Explorer

Explorer in Windows now has tabs. How can I open a new tab with the Windows key and E?

The problem

Microsoft has finally built tab support into Windows Explorer. The key combination CTRL + T now opens a new tab, as long as you are in Explorer. But how can a new tab be opened when Explorer is not active? The key combination “Windows + E” opens the Explorer, but it always opens a new window.

In this article we will look at how to open the Explorer with the key combination “WIN+E”, but if it is already open, a new tab is to be created.

AutoHotley script

To solve the problem, we use AutoHotkey. AutoHotkey is a script language for Windows, I have been using it for a long time, e.g. for text modules.

If the software is not yet installed, we can get it from the homepage. Version 1.1 is the right choice for our script. Version 2.0 also works in principle, but requires the additional installation of version 1.1. Both versions also work in parallel.

The actual script looks like this:

{ if WinExist("ahk_class CabinetWClass") {.
	Send +{F6}
	Send ^t
} else {
	Run, explorer.exe

The Script was written by a Reddit user. The script checks whether Explorer is already running, if not, it is started. If it is running, the window is activated and the key combination for a new tab is sent to the window.

For the script we create a file, e.g. “explorer.ahk”.

By right-clicking, we can now start the script, either “Open” or “Open with”.

The icon should now appear in the tray.

We can then use the key combination “WIN + E”. A new tab will then be opened if Explorer is already running. If you want to use a different key combination, you can specify this instead of “#e” at the beginning. The hash stands for the Windows key.

Create executable file

To use the script permanently, we can also create an executable programme from it. We can call up “Compile Script” via the context menu.

An .exe file is created. We can now simply start it and, for example, put it in the autostart.

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