Run

1. Run is a feature first introduced in Microsoft Windows 95 and included in all later versions of Windows. The Run box enables the user to open a program by name if found in the Windows directory or start any file by typing in the full path. The picture below shows an example of what the Run box looks like in Microsoft Windows XP.

Windows XP Run box

Tip: Press the Windows key + R at any time to open the Run box in any version of Windows.

Tip: Enter an environment variable in the Run box to open a specific Windows folder.

Opening Run

Windows 8 users

Windows 8 introduced the Windows Start Screen and still supports the ability to run a program. To run a program just start typing while at the Start Screen. You can also press the Windows key + R to open the Run box.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users

Windows Vista introduced the Windows Search Box, which enabled users to search for files and run programs all at the same time. With the introduction of this feature, the Run box is no longer found in the Start Menu. However, if you still want to use the Run box in Vista or Windows 7 you can type Run in the Search box and press Enter or use the Windows key + R.

Windows 95, 98, ME, and XP users

All early versions of Windows can find the run box in the Windows Start Menu. Also, pressing the Windows key + R also opens the run box at any time.

How to run a program in the Windows folder

Any executable file that is located in the C:\Windows directory can be run by name. For example, the executable for Microsoft Calculator is calc.exe. If you wanted to open the calculator from the Run box, type calc and press Enter.

How to run a file using the full file path

Any executable can also be run by typing the full file executable path. For example, we could also run the Microsoft Calculator by typing in the full path to the executable. For example, typing c:\windows\calc.exe and pressing Enter would also open the Calculator. Windows also looks at the Windows directory by default, so typing in calc.exe would open the Calculator since its in the Windows directory.

Open Control Panel icon from Run

Any of the associated Control Panel icons can also be run from the Run line. For example, in the Run line typing appwiz.cpl and pressing enter opens the Add/Remove Programs feature found through the Control Panel. See the link below for a full list of Control Panel files.

Related pages

2. In general, run is also used to describe the process of beginning a software program or script. For example, you are running an Internet browser to view this page.

How do I find what's running?

To determine what is running in Windows use the Windows Task Manager.

Also see: Execute, Go, Open, Overrun, Windows Search Box