• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint

Using the Run Command

In addition to the Start menu's Programs command, you can use another method to start programs that aren't set up on the Programs'cascade of menus. The Run command on the Start menu provides a way for you to execute specific programs.

Reaching Your Files

A pathname is the exact computer system location of a file. The document and folder concept in Windows makes working with paths much easier than before Windows. Most often, you specify pathnames visually by clicking folder icons instead of typing long pathnames, as you had to do before Windows.

The folders in Windows used to be called directories. A directory is just a collection of files and other directories. In file listings, Windows often displays a folder icon with a name to represent a directory that holds other files. Folders can hold subfolders, so the location of a file, the file's path, might be deep within several nested folders on a disk or CD-ROM drive.

A full pathname begins with a disk drive name followed by a colon (:) followed by a backslash (\). If the file resides in the disk drive's top folder (called the root directory), you then type the filename. If, however, the file resides in another folder, you must list the folder after the backslash. If the file resides in several nested folders, you must list each folder in order, from the outermost to the innermost, and separate each folder name with a backslash. Both of the following are full pathnames to specific files:


d:\Sherry\WordProc\Home\Insure\Fire and Casualty

The first filename is autoexec.bat located in the root directory. The second filename is Fire and Casualty located within a series of nested directories.

The Start menu's Run command offers a tedious way to execute any program on your computer. If you want to run a program that would not properly set up in Windows (perhaps the program is an old MS-DOS–based program), you have to execute the program using Run.

To run a program from the Run menu option, display the Start menu and select the Run command. Windows displays the Run dialog box.

There might or might not be text next to the Open prompt. Windows XP needs to know the exact name and path of the program you want to open (and run).

Almost all users install Windows XP on drive C:. If your Windows XP system is installed on another drive, substitute your drive name for the C: and type the following exactly as you see it (using either uppercase or lowercase letters): C:\WINDOWS\SOL and press Enter.

The Solitaire game is normally installed on the Windows directory on drive C:. The name of the program is SOL.EXE. To execute any program with an .EXE filename extension, you need to type only the first part of the filename, such as SOL. If Solitaire does not start, you might have typed the line incorrectly. Try again and be sure that you use backslashes and not forward slashes.

You might be one of the lucky few who never needs the Run command. Nevertheless, there are many programs on the market that Windows cannot execute in its environment. Using Run, you can execute any program on your computer as long as you know the program's pathname and filename.


Windows supports a strong data document concept. It is data-driven more than program-driven. If you type a data file (such as a Microsoft Word document) instead of a program name with the Run command, Windows automatically starts the program needed to work with that data file and loads the data file for you. Therefore, you worry less about your programs, and you can concentrate more on your data. In addition, you can type an Internet address (often called a uniform resource locator, or, URL) at Run and Windows XP automatically starts your Internet browser and takes you to the Web site you entered.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint