Access is denied exception when using Process.Start() to open folder


I have a winforms application in C# where I have to open a certain Folder. I use


This results in the following exception:

System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception (0x80004005): Access is denied

at System.Diagnostics.Process.StartWithShellExecuteEx(ProcessStartInfo startInfo)

at System.Diagnostics.Process.Start()

at System.Diagnostics.Process.Start(ProcessStartInfo startInfo)

at MyApp.openLogFolderToolStripMenuItem_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)

I have already checked the following things:

  • The folder exists
  • The user has rights to the folder (can open it in Explorer)

Another thing is that if I use Process.Start() to open a file inside this folder, it works.

Can anyone give me a hint?

Edit My goal is to open the folder in Explorer. The pathToFolder is something like H:\Something\App.Name\Log

asked on Stack Overflow Jan 27, 2016 by IRAndreas • edited Jan 27, 2016 by IRAndreas

6 Answers


According to MSDN ( the System.Diagnostics.Process.Start(string) runs the file or process (and therefore does not open the folder). For opening a folder, the sugests that you might do this with System.Diagnostics.Process.Start(string, string) where first should be a way to explorer, Total commander or something similar, and second should be a argument telling the used explorer what to do (open the folder pathToFolder).

I suppose that some system variable stores the value for "default folder viewer" but I do not know where. I will try to go for it and return later with the answer.

Hope that it helps.

EDIT: I did some quick digging around and to open the folder the following should do the trick:

System.Diagnostics.Process.Start(Environment.GetEnvironmentVariable("WINDIR") + @"\explorer.exe", pathToFolder);

Where first argument is a path to classical windows explorer and second is the actual path to the folder itself. It seem that widows does not by itself hold path to other "folder viewer" (such as Total Commander etc.), so this way is probably off the table.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 27, 2016 by Rao • edited Jan 27, 2016 by Rao

You can set the working directory like this but you can't run the directory itself only files or exe

var startInfo = new ProcessStartInfo();

startInfo.WorkingDirectory = //working directory

Process proc = Process.Start(startInfo);

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 27, 2016 by lyz

Try this:

var psi = new System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo() { FileName = pathToFolder, UseShellExecute = true };
answered on Stack Overflow Jan 27, 2016 by arkhivania

I usually use this to open file/directory:

    public static void OpenFile(string path, bool isDirectory = false)
        if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(path)) return;
        if ((isDirectory && Directory.Exists(path)) || (!isDirectory && File.Exists(path)))
            ProcessStartInfo pi = new ProcessStartInfo(path);
            pi.Arguments = Path.GetFileName(path);
            pi.UseShellExecute = true;
            pi.WindowStyle = ProcessWindowStyle.Normal;
            pi.Verb = "OPEN";

            Process proc = new Process();
            proc.StartInfo = pi;




If this doesn't work it may be a permission issue after all.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 27, 2016 by Arie

This error actually happens when there is a difference between the default behaviour of opening the file and the relative behaviour of opening the file. For example, if you have selected the default application to open .pdf files as Internet Explorer, and you are trying to open the same file using Process.Start() method. You will receive an exception because as per the default operations it should open that file in Internet Explorer and your application is trying to open it using Adobe reader.

To rectify this set the default application for the .pdf file as Adobe Reader and you won't receive this error any more. You can do this by, right-clicking on the file and then select, Default program or App. Further, select the default Program or App from the list of available programs and then select the Always use the selected program/App to open files of this type.

answered on Stack Overflow Jul 24, 2017 by

if it's a hyperlink for ASP.NET you can use alternative

answered on Stack Overflow Jun 16, 2020 by Serge Voloshenko

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