How to access your Windows files and folders via a Firefox tab

While writing 10 (more) Windows Explorer alternatives compared and reviewed (the article that kept this site offline for about 12 hours, and forced me to switch hosting providers), I came across a very cool Firefox add-on (via Lifehacker) that allows you to use use Firefox to access Windows Explorer. Since I didn’t really consider it an ‘explorer alternative’, I didn’t use it in that list. But it is pretty cool, so instead I’ve created this brief tutorial that will show you how to use IE Tab to access your files and folders though a tab in Firefox.

  1. First, make sure to install the IE Tab Firefox add-on (Windows only). As with most Firefox add-ons, you’ll need to restart Firefox for it to start working.
  2. Once Firefox restarts, open a new tab and enter the address:

    file:///c:/

    (note there’s no http in there at all)

    firefox address bar

  3. You should be presented with a list of the contents of your C: drive. Right-click in a blank part of that window and select View Page in IE Tab from the context menu.

    right-click firefox menu
    click to enlarge

  4. The tab will turn into a “Windows Explorer” view of your PC. From here you can open, move, copy, rename (pretty much anything you can think of) all of your files and folders. Navigate to a folder you frequently open (in this example I’ll use the My Documents folder).
  5. firefox as window explorer
    click to enlarge

  6. Drag the icon in your current “Explorer” tab to your Bookmarks Toolbar
  7. create an explorer shortcut
    click to enlarge

  8. And now you can use that bookmark to quickly access the My Documents folder (or whatever folder you used).
  9. explorer shortcut in firefox
    click to enlarge

  10. If you use the ‘normal’ method to add a bookmark this way (by selecting Bookmarks and then Bookmark This Page…) you won’t get the desired effect (the ‘bookmark’ won’t act as a link to Windows Explorer, it will just list the files and folders). If you right-click the shortcut in your Bookmarks Toolbar and select Properties you’ll notice that the Location: includes ietab, which is how the bookmark knows to load that “page” using your IE Tab add-on.
  11. firefox explorer bookmark properties

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