Locate the Windows system root directory

…in Windows 10 back to Windows 2000

You need to be able to find the system root directory in order to find the drivers that are actually in use, to find the system log files, and to find the debug crash dump files.

To locate the system root directory:

  • Press and hold the Windows key, then press the letter ‘R’. (On Windows 7, you can also click start->run… to get the same dialog box.)
  • Enter the word “cmd” in the program prompt, as shown, and press OK.

    Windows 10 Run cmd dialog;

  • A command window should appear. Enter the command “set systemroot” at the prompt, and press enter, as shown below. The system will display the system root. (The first example is from Windows 2000, the second is from Windows 10; but the same procedure works for Windows XP through Windows 8.1, too.)

Windows 2000:

Microsoft Windows 2000 [Version 5.00.2195]
(C) Copyright 1985-2000 Microsoft Corp.
C:\>set systemroot
SystemRoot=C:\WINNT
C:\>


Windows 10:

Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17763.316]
(c) 2018 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
C:\Users\example>set systemroot
SystemRoot=C:\WINDOWS
C:\Users\example>