Defrag Tools #133 - App Paths

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In this episode of Defrag Tools, Andrew Richards and Chad Beeder look in to why Win-R can launch some apps, but the Command Prompt can't.

[00:00] - W1ND(X)WS T-shirt
[02:38] - Andrew's PATH from Episode #132
[03:30] - Why does Excel launch from Win-R, but not from a CMD prompt?
[04:25] - Trace the launch with Process Monitor
[05:12] - Exclude Events after the Process Start event of excel.exe
[06:27] - Filter to Explorer (the app that launches Excel)
[06:50] - Filter to SUCCESS (as failures don't achieve anything)
[06:50] - Filter out the Close type events (as they don't achieve anything)
[07:22] - Search for 'excel'
[07:22] - HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths
[08:42] - "Jump To..." Registry Editor
[09:21] - Test the hypothesis by renaming excel.exe to excel1.exe
[10:30] - Old New Thing (Raymond Chen)
[11:30] - Application Registration (MSDN)
[14:22] - Process Monitor to the rescue... again.
[14:54] - Email us your issues at



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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    I'm enjoying some of the more focused topics. Keep it up!

  • User profile image

    A little bit confused by Chad [H] ... but well, thank you for the video :)

  • User profile image

    I have a small favor to ask you guys:). Could you share your desktop background somewhere? I can't seem to find it on the web and I just love it :D

  • User profile image
    @nadjibus: I do have that effect on people sometimes. Thanks for watching!
  • User profile image
    @rhin0x: Email us at and I'll send it to you.
  • User profile image
    Leo Giusti

    If you look up taskmgr.exe in the App Paths key, you will find that if you have asked Process Explorer to replace Task Manager, tskmgr.exe will actually point to Process Explorer.

  • User profile image

    So funny that his user name is Defrag_000. Luckily this issue has been fixed in windows 10. It won't add 000 to newly created users anymore.

  • User profile image

    This was in the comments for the Old New Thing article and I don't remember you mentioning this. So just type start before the filename in cmd and it uses the app path as well.


    Presumably you don't want to mess with console behavior with something that is very specific to Windows and the shell.

    You can get the behavior in the console by using the START command:

    cd \

    REM This won't work


    REM This will work

    start wordpad.exe

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