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Open your Linux folder in Windows Explorer

ยท 2 min read
Markdown, WSL and Docker lover ~ PHP developer ~ Insatiable curious.

Open your Linux folder in Windows Explorer

Did you know it is possible to use the Windows Explorer program and navigate on your Linux filesystem?

An easy way to open your current folder in Windows Explorer is to call the explorer.exe binary.

So, f.i., in your Linux console, open any existing folder like cd ~/repositories/blog and then, just run explorer.exe ..

So, yes!, it's possible to call any Windows program (like the calculator (calc.exe)) by typing his name followed by .exe. If the program is in the PATH then it will be started.

The final . means current folder so explorer.exe . will open the current folder in Windows Explorer.

Navigating on the Linux filesystem with Explorer.exe

It sounds crazy, no? Windows will then convert the Linux /home/christophe/repositories/blog folder to \\wsl.localhost\Ubuntu\home\christophe\repositories\blog (Windows style) and open it. That address is called an UNC (UNC stands for Uniform Naming Convention).

Now, I can use Windows explorer to manage files / folders like I did since decades on Windows.

Windows 11

If you are running on Windows 11, the UNC is \\wsl$\, no more \\wsl.localhost\.

WSL localhost is not accessibleโ€‹

It can happen, on your Windows 10 computer, that the folder won't be opened and you'll get the error: /\wsl.localhost is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions..

wsl.localhost not accessible

It is not a permission problem but something to modify in your Windows registry.

In Windows, click on Start - Run and run regedit, the Windows registry editor.

Search for the key KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\Order, edit the ProviderOrder key and add the P9NP value to the list. Do the same for KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\NetworkProvider\HwOrder.

When done, please reboot your computer.

Editing the registry


If it still didn't work, remove cbfsconnect2017 from the list and try again.