Print the Contents of a Folder in Windows 7

June 3, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you have ever been asked to supply a list of folders on a drive or within another folder, the chances are that you opened Windows Explorer, browsed to the correct location on your disk, and started scribbling down the contents. You might even have typed them directly into Word or Notepad, or perhaps used a screen grab to save time (which you might have done by tapping the Print Screen button on your keyboard, running Microsoft Paint from Start > Programs > Accessories > Paint and using the Edit > Paste function).

There is, however, a much easier way to print file folders in Windows 7 using the command prompt. This method will output to a plain text document and include all of the information you need such as folder name, date created, etc., and can be set up in under a minute.

Print the Contents of a Folder in Windows 7

All you need to create a text output of files and folders in Windows 7 is administrator access to the command prompt and if you plan to print the contents of your folder, a printer.

Using the command line isn’t as difficult as it sounds. While it requires text input (something that harks back to MS DOS) it is only a basic command that we’re entering. As such there is no need to “fear the black box” of the command prompt. In fact this process is so easy you might even find yourself using the command line more often!

How to Print File Folders in Windows 7

To get started, go to Start and type cmd in the Search box. Wait for the results – at the top of the list you should see cmd.exe. Right-click this and select Run as Administrator. User Access Control will ask you to confirm this action.

The black box of the command prompt will open. By default, the box will read:


(If you have Windows installed on a different drive then the appropriate drive letter will be displayed).

The next step is to browse to the folder you wish to list the contents of. This can be done by typing:

C:\Windows\System32> cd\[foldername]

For instance if I wanted to list the contents of the Users folder I would type cd\users. To change to a different drive letter, enter it as:

C:\Windows\System32> D:\

When you have found the correct directory, enter dir to list the contents on screen and confirm that it is the right folder.

The next step is to create the output file. This is done by instructing Windows via the command prompt to output the filenames, folder names, and last accessed time and date into a text file which can then be opened in Notepad.

In the command prompt, type:

C:\Windows\System32> dir> contents.txt

All files and folders in that location will be saved as a list in the contents.txt file, which will be found in the same folder. This can then be opened, emailed or printed out.

As you can see, a remarkably simple process that can be completed in just a few seconds.

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