Change folder views and behavior

Using Folder Options in Control Panel, you can change the way your files and folders function, as well as how the content in your folders is displayed.

Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options.

Change the way folders are displayed

You can change the way your folders look and work to suit your needs. For example, you can open all files and folders with one click (like links in a webpage) instead of the usual double-click. Here is an overview of the settings you can change:

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Apply the current view settings (such as List, Details, or Large Icons) to all folders on your computer that are the same type as the folder you currently have open. (Documents and Music Details are examples of folder types.)

Do this

In the currently open folder, click Organize in the toolbar, and then click Folder and Search Options.

In Folder Options, click the View tab, and then click Apply to Folders. (To switch these folders back to their default settings, click Reset Folders.)

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Turn off the Details pane and the Preview pane in all folders. This setting gives you more room to display files by hiding panes you might not need.

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Click the General tab, and then click Use Windows classic folders. (To turn the panes back on, click Show preview and filters.)

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Open every new folder in its own folder window. This can be convenient if you want to keep all the folders you are working with on the screen at the same time.

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Click the General tab, and then click Open each folder in its own window. (To make each new folder replace the previous folder window, click Open each folder in the same window.)

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Open an item with a single click. Use this setting if you want files and folders to open with one click, just like links in a webpage.

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Click the General tab, and then click Single-click to open an item. (To switch back to the standard double-click, click Double-click to open an item.)

Tip

  • To restore the original behavior of your folders, click the General tab, and then click Restore Defaults.

Change advanced file and folder settings

You can make additional changes to the appearance and behavior of your files and folders by using the advanced settings of Folder Options in Control Panel. Here is an overview of the advanced settings that you can change:

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Always show static icons of files and never show thumbnail previews of files. Use this setting if the thumbnail previews are slowing down your computer. You'll get better performance by using static icons.

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Click the View tab, and then select the Always show icons, never thumbnails check box.

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Always show the menus above the toolbar. Use this setting if you prefer to have access to the Classic menus, which are hidden by default.

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Click the View tab, and then select the Always show menus check box.

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See the size of a folder in a tooltip when you rest your mouse pointer over the folder. Use this setting if you frequently need to know the total size of the contents of a folder and would like to see this information by resting the mouse pointer over the folder.

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Click the View tab, and then select the Display file size information in folder tips check box.

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See files and folders marked as hidden. Use this setting if you need to work with files that are usually hidden from view, such as user files that have been marked as hidden.

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Click the View tab, and then click Show hidden files and folders. For more information, see Show hidden files.

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See folders with lines that connect folders and subfolders.

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Click the View tab, and then clear the Display simple folder view in Navigation pane check box.

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See file name extensions as a part of file names. This is a good way to ensure that files are not malicious software disguised as common files.

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Click the View tab, and then clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box. For more information, see Show or hide file name extensions.

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See all system files that are usually hidden from view.

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Click the View tab, and then clear the Hide protected operating system files check box.

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Increase the stability of Windows by opening every folder in a separate part of memory. Use this setting if your computer frequently crashes, and you are trying to minimize problems or troubleshoot. Be aware, however, that doing this could slow down the performance of your computer.

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Click the View tab, and then select the Launch folder windows in a separate process check box.

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Ignore custom view settings for every folder and have every folder open using default settings instead. Use this setting to force all folders to stop using display settings you have specified.

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Click the View tab, and then clear the Remember each folder's view settings check box.

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Automatically open the folders that you were using when you last shut down Windows whenever you start your computer. Use this setting to help you preserve your work from session to session.

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Click the View tab, and then select the Restore previous folder windows at logon check box.

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Hide the drive letter of each drive or device in the Computer folder. Use this setting if you don't want to see drive letters displayed on your computer and prefer to see only the friendly name of each drive.

Do this

Click the View tab, and then clear the Show drive letters check box.

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Display encrypted or compressed NTFS files as ordinary files, without any unique color coding to identify them. Use this setting if you have encrypted or compressed NTFS files and do not want to see them represented differently than other files on your computer.

Do this

Click the View tab, and then clear the Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color check box.

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Turn off the tooltips that appear when you rest your mouse pointer over files. Use this setting if you don't want to see the file information that appears in tooltips when you rest the pointer over files and folders.

Do this

Click the View tab, and then clear the Show pop-up descriptions for folder and desktop items check box.

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Never show the contents of files in the Preview pane. Use this setting to improve the performance of your computer, or if you don't want to use the Preview pane.

Do this

Click the View tab, and then clear the Show preview handlers in preview pane check box.

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Add check boxes to file views to make it easier to select several files at once, which can be useful if it is difficult for you to hold the CTRL key while clicking to select multiple files.

Do this

Click the View tab, and then select the Use check boxes to select items check box.

Tip

  • To restore the original behavior of your advanced settings, click the View tab, and then click Restore Defaults.