Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope

Run may refer to any of the following:

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

Windows XP Run box


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


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

Opening the Run box

Windows 10 users

The Run box was moved to the Power User Task menu in Windows 10. To access it, press the shortcut keys Windows key+X. In the menu, select the Run option. You can also press the shortcut keys Windows key+R to open the Run box.

Windows 8 users

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

How to use the Run box

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.

How to open Control Panel items from the Run box

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.

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

How do I find what's running?

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

Autorun, Execute, Go, Open, Overrun, Software terms, Windows Search Box