There are times when you need to access the EXE file of a program in Windows. It could be for troubleshooting or configuration purposes. If that’s what you’re here for, this article will show you all the quick tips on how to quickly locate a program’s EXE file in Windows 10.

Method 1: Use the program’s shortcut

This first method is as simple as right-clicking the app’s desktop shortcut and selecting Open File Location from the context menu.

You can also right-click the shortcut, select Properties, and then click on the Open File Location button under the Shortcut tab of the Properties dialog window.

Method 2: Use the Task Manager

Secondly, you can easily open the installation folder of any program by going through the Task Manager. Note that the program has to be running for this to work.

Follow these steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keys together while the program is running to open the Task Manager.
  2. After the Task Manager opens, click on More Details if you don’t see the Processes tab.
  3. Now, locate the program under the Processes tab, right-click it, and then select Open File.

Location in the context menu.

Method 3: Use the shortcut pinned to the taskbar

If the program’s icon is pinned to your taskbar, you can use it to summon its installation folder.

All you have to do is right-click the icon, right-click the program’s name in the first menu, and then click on Properties in the next menu that opens. After the Properties window opens, click on the Open File Location button under the Shortcut tab.

Method 4: Go through File Explorer

The next method involves using File Explorer. All you have to do is launch File Explorer by pressing the Windows and E keys simultaneously and then navigate to any of these paths:

C:\Program Files

C:\Program Files (x86)

Open the folder named after the program you’re looking for to locate its executable file.

Method 5: Go through the Start menu

The second method for finding the path or location of any executable application in Windows 10 is going through the Start menu. This is the method to use if you don’t have the app’s desktop shortcut or if the shortcut you have is broken.

Follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Windows logo keyboard button or click on the Windows logo in the taskbar to open the Start menu.
  2. Locate the program by typing its name. If the search function isn’t activated automatically, press the Windows and S keyboard buttons together, then perform the search.
  3. Once you see the program in the search results, right-click it and click on Open File Location in the context menu. You’ll have to place your mouse pointer over More in the menu in certain cases.
  4. A File Explorer window will now show up. There you’ll find the main shortcut file for the application.
  5. Right-click on the shortcut and select Open File Location in the context menu. Alternatively, you can select Properties and then click on the Open File Location button under the Shortcut tab.
  6. The folder that contains the EXE file will now pop up.

What if the Search function in the Start menu is faulty?

We’re going to show you how to fix Windows 10 search when certain apps aren’t showing up in the search menu or Cortana search goes blank whenever you try to run a search query.

There are different solutions to the problem, so follow them one after the other until the issue goes away.

Allow background applications

If you disabled your background apps, the Start menu search cannot update and add certain programs. Allow background apps, then try running the search function to check for the problem. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Windows logo in the taskbar.
  2. Select Settings from the Power User menu.
  3. You can also tap the Windows logo and S keyboard buttons simultaneously to launch the Settings application.
  4. After Settings opens, click on Privacy.
  5. Go to the left side of the next screen, scroll down, and then click on Background Apps.
  6. Switch to the right side of the window and switch on the “Let apps run in the background” option.
  7. Run a search to check for the problem.

Rebuild the search index

Windows 10, just like other Windows versions, has an indexing service that helps it create a database of apps and files to make the search process easy. If this database (index) becomes corrupt or encounters an issue, the search function will not work properly. One way to troubleshoot this issue is to rebuild the search index.

The process involves deleting the current data and building the index from scratch. This way, Windows will get rid of whatever file is causing the problem.

However, before you start, try troubleshooting the service and check if the issue is resolved. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click on Run in the Power User menu.
  3. Pressing the Windows logo and R keyboard buttons will also open the Run dialog box.
  4. After Run opens, type “Control Panel” (don’t add the quotes), and then hit the Enter keyboard button.
  5. Once the Control Panel opens, go to the top-right corner of the window and select Large Icons in the “View by:” drop-down menu.
  6. Locate Indexing Options and click on it.
  7. Once the Indexing Options dialog window appears, click on the Advanced button.
  8. When you see the Advanced Options dialog, go to Troubleshooting under the Index Settings tab and click on “Troubleshoot search and indexing”.
  9. Select the problem you’re experiencing on the “What problems do you notice” screen.
  10. If prompted, choose the “Try troubleshooting with administrator permissions” option on the next screen.
  11. If the Troubleshooter finds and fixes the problem, run your search. If not, head to the next method.

The following steps will show you how to rebuild the search index:

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click on Run in the Power User menu.
  3. Pressing the Windows logo and R keyboard buttons will also open the Run dialog box.
  4. After Run opens, type “Control Panel” (don’t add the quotes), and then hit the Enter keyboard button.
  5. Once the Control Panel opens, go to the top-right corner of the window and select Large Icons in the “View by:” drop-down menu.
  6. Locate Indexing Options and click on it.
  7. Once the Indexing Options dialog window appears, click on the Advanced button.
  8. When you see the Advanced Options dialog, go to Troubleshooting under the Index Settings tab and click on Rebuild.
  9. Next, click on OK.
  10. After the Indexing process is complete, try running a search.

Reinstall the Start menu

Before you start this, shut down the Start menu via the Task Manager. Follow these steps:

  1. Press the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keyboard buttons together to open the Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details if you can only see apps that are currently running.
  3. Switch to the Details tab, locate the StartMenuExperiencehost.exe process, and then terminate it.

Now follow these steps to reinstall the Start menu:

  1. Right-click the Windows logo in the taskbar.
  2. After the Power User menu opens, select Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  3. Click on Yes once the User Account Control dialog window opens.
  4. Once the PowerShell window opens, type the following line and hit the Enter key:

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

  1. Once the command completes, restart your system and try running a search.

Reset Cortana

  1. Right-click the Windows logo in the taskbar.
  2. Select Settings from the Power User menu.
  3. You can also tap the Windows logo and S keyboard buttons simultaneously to launch the Settings application.
  4. After Settings opens, click on Apps.
  5. Search for Cortana under Apps & Features.
  6. Click on Cortana, and then click on Advanced Options.
  7. Under Advanced Options, scroll down to and click on Reset.

Check for faulty system files and replace them

The search function could be malfunctioning because some important Windows files are corrupt. Fixing the problem here involves repairing those corrupted system files. To do that, you have to run the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) and SFC tools.

Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click on Run in the Power User menu.
  3. Pressing the Windows logo and R keyboard buttons will also open the Run dialog box.
  • After Run opens, type “command prompt” (without the quotes) into the text box, and then press the Ctrl, Shift and Enter keyboard buttons together.
  • Once the User Account Control dialog window pops up, click on the Yes button.
  • After the Command Prompt appears, go to the black screen, type the following line, and then hit the Enter key:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

  • DISM will now fetch the system files that the SFC will use to run the repair process. Normally, the tool uses the Windows Update utility to fetch these files; however, if the utility fails to deliver, you’ll have to use a Windows 10 installation DVD or another bootable media as the repair source.
  • Once you insert the bootable media, enter the following line:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:

C:\RepairSource\Windows

/LimitAccess

  • Note that theC:\RepairSource\Windows parameter represents the path to the Windows folder on the bootable media. If you have an ISO file for Windows, you can extract it and use it instead.
  • Once the command executes, move to the next step.
  1. Now, type “sfc /scannow” (without the quotes), then hit the Enter key.
  2. If you see a completion message that reads, “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them,” restart your system and the issue should be resolved.

Use a different user account

The issue might be connected to your current user account. Log off and log into another account and try performing a search. If the search function works without issues, then your usual user account is the problem.

If you don’t have another user account, you have to create it. The steps below will show you how to do that:

  1. Press the Windows and I keys on your keyboard simultaneously to summon the Settings application.
  2. Click on Accounts.
  3. Go to the left pane of the Accounts screen and click on Family & Other People.
  4. Now click on “Add someone else to this PC” under Other People in the right pane.
  5. Once the new screen pops up, click the “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” option.
  6. Click on “Add a user without a Microsoft account” on the next page and then enter the name and password of the account when the next screen shows up.
  7. Now go back to the Family & other people tab in the Accounts section of Settings.
  8. Locate the user account you just created, click on it and then click on the Change Account Type button.
  9. Choose Administrator under the Account type drop-down and then click OK.
  10. Reboot your system and log into the new account, then try running a search.

Rename the Cortana folder from a new user account

Some users reported that renaming the default Cortana folder did the trick. You have to do this from a different user account. If you don’t have another user account, create a new one just as we showed you above.

Log into the account and follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer by pressing the Windows + E keyboard shortcut.
  2. Once File Explorer opens, navigate to the left pane and click on This PC.
  3. Head to the right pane and open your Windows volume, which should be C.
  4. Open the Users folder.
  5. Open your main account (not the account you’re currently on).
  6. Next, open the AppData folder.
  7. After that, open the Local folder, and then open the Packages folder.
  8. Now, locate “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy” and rename it “Microsoft.Windows.Cortana_cw5n1h2txyewy – OLD” or whatever you choose.
  9. Go back to your main account and reset Cortana as we showed you above.
  10. If the reset option doesn’t work, reinstall the Start menu as shown above.

Run a full malware scan

The search function might be affected by malware. Run a full and comprehensive malware scan to fish out the virus and remove it. You can use Auslogics Anti-Malware to find the malicious program and permanently get rid of it.

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Conclusion

You now know the different methods of opening any program’s installation folder. If you don’t want to experience unnecessary glitches while using your system, install Auslogics BoostSpeed to get rid of junk files and bad registry entities that could slow your processor down.