One Way to Run New Windows Applications from the Command Line

One of the annoying things about many modern Windows applications is that it is not easy to locate and invoke their executables. For example, how do you launch Windows Sound/Voice Recorder from the command line in Windows 10? Here is one way to find out how.

You can run explorer.exe shell:AppsFolder to open the Applications in the Windows UI, and then right-click the application.

If that context menu shows an “Open file location” option, then you can use that to run the Windows binary executable.

Otherwise, use the icon to launch the application. Right-click the taskbar or otherwise open Task Manager. Right-click on the process that you just started and select Properties. If that process does not have properties, then find a child process named something similar to that parent process (not Runtime Broker), and check its properties. Copy the value from the first text field on the General tab.

Microsoft.WindowsSoundRecorder_10.2103.28.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe

Cut out the part that appears to be a version identifier and secondary separator, but leave in one underscore.

Microsoft.WindowsSoundRecorder_8wekyb3d8bbwe

Add the explorer.exe shell:AppsFolder\ prefix and the !App suffix and give it a try. From a WSL bash shell with appropriate quoting/escaping for \ and !:

explorer.exe 'shell:AppsFolder\Microsoft.WindowsSoundRecorder_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App'

If that does not work, you may not be able to access C:\Program Files\WindowsApps directly, but you may be able to access its child directory with a name that matches the value from the General tab and in that directory, which may contain an AppxManifest.xml file.

C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WindowsSoundRecorder_10.2103.28.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\AppxManifest.xml

If you can access AppxManifest.xml for the program, then try replacing App with the Id attribute of any <Application> elements in AppxManifest.xml, and run explorer.exe with the change. For example, if I saw the following:

<Applications>
  <Application Id="RunMe" Executable="SoundRec.exe" EntryPoint="SoundRecorder.App">

Then I would try:

explorer.exe 'shell:AppsFolder\Microsoft.WindowsSoundRecorder_8wekyb3d8bbwe!RunMe' 

It’s that simple!

I am working on a rust program to create shortcuts for these types of things.

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