[Tips] Using Windows system variables in your favorites

Windows system folders are usually located in standard locations. But this is not always true. For technical users who often have to browse these folders, Windows contains a list of predefined locations saved as system variables. For example, %TEMP% stands for something like: C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Temp. In addition to being constant on every system, these system variables also offer the advantage of being shorter to type.

Quick Access Popup supports Windows and DOS system variables in various favorites options. In this tutorial, you will see:

  • how to insert system variables in favorites location, start in folder and parameters;
  • in addition, you will see how to use the parameters property to launch DOS commands from the command-line (CMD).


In the Basic Settings tab, you can enter a system variable in the Location text box. In this example, I'm using the variable %COMSPEC% holding the location of the CMD (DOS command line) program.

Also, in the Advanced Settings tab, you can insert system variables in the Start In and Parameters text boxes (note: You need to run v9.1.1 to insert system variables in Start In).

In the following example, the Start In option %TEMP% will open the command line with the Windows temporary folder as the active (or current) directory. You could add a specific subfolder if required, for example %TEMP%\MyScratchPad\.

The Parameters text box below includes the system variable %WINDIR% which contains the system's Windows folder (usually C:\Windows). It starts with the /k command-line switch that executes the command(s) following it and keep the window open after the execution. The & character allows to execute successive commands. In this example:

  • dir %WINDIR%\*.exe is listing the exe files in the Windows folder (usually C:\Windows);
  • pause is making a pause to let you examine the result of the previous command;
  • copy %WINDIR%\Notepad.exe is copying the Notepad.exe file from the Windows folder to the current folder set by the Start In option above;
  • pause;
  • and dir *.exe is finally showing the copied Notepad.exe file as part of the other exe files in the temporary folder.

The full content of the Parameters text box is:
/k dir %WINDIR%\*.exe & pause & copy %WINDIR%\Notepad.exe & pause & dir *.exe

Many other system variables can be used, for example: %APPDATA%, %PUBLIC%, %TEMP% OR %USERPROFILE%, %LANG% (etc.). They can be used in any file path for folders, documents or applications location or advanced settings.

Please use the new QAP Support Google Group to ask questions or post comments.