Change folder options

You can change the way files and folders function and how items are displayed on your computer by using Folder Options in Control Panel.

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.

To change general file and folder settings

Find these settings on the General tab in Folder Options.

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Open each folder in its own folder window. Use this setting to keep all open folders that you're working with on the screen at the same time.

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Click Open each folder in its own window, and then click OK. (To make each newly opened folder replace the previous one, click Open each folder in the same window.)

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Open files and folders with a single click (just like links on a webpage).

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Click Single-click to open an item (point to select), and then click OK. (To switch back to the standard double-click, click Double-click to open an item (single-click to select).)

Tip

  • To restore the original settings on the General tab, click Restore Defaults, and then click OK.

To change advanced file and folder settings

Find these settings on the View tab in Folder Options.

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Always show icons, rather than thumbnail previews of files. Use this setting if thumbnail previews are slowing down your computer.

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Select the Always show icons, never thumbnails check box, and then click OK.

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

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Select the Always show menus check box, and then click OK.

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Always show the icon for a file in addition to the thumbnail (for easier access to the related program).

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Select the Display file icon on thumbnails check box, and then click OK.

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See the size of a folder in a tip when you point to the folder.

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Select the Display file size information in folder tips check box, and then click OK.

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

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Click Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and then click OK. For more information, see Show hidden files.

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Show removable media drives (such as card readers) in the Computer folder even if they currently don't have media inserted.

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Clear the Hide empty drives in the Computer folder check box, and then click OK. (This option doesn’t affect empty floppy disk drives, CD drives, or DVD drives.)

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

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Clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.

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See all system files that are usually hidden from view.

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Clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, and then click OK.

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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 stops working and you want to minimize or troubleshoot problems. Be aware, however, that doing this could slow your computer's performance.)

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Select the Launch folder windows in a separate process check box, and then click OK.

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Automatically open the folders that you were using when you last shut down Windows whenever you start your computer. This helps preserve your work from session to session.

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Select the Restore previous folder windows at logon check box, and then click OK.

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Hide the drive letter of each drive or device in the Computer folder. Use this setting if you prefer to see only the friendly name of each drive.

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Clear the Show drive letters check box, and then click OK.

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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 don't want to see these files represented differently than other files on your computer.

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Clear the Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color check box, and then click OK.

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Turn off the tips that display file information when you point to files.

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Clear the Show pop-up description for folder and desktop items check box, and then click OK.

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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.

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Clear the Show preview handlers in preview pane check box, and then click OK.

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Add check boxes to file views for easier selection of several files at once. This can be useful if it's difficult for you to hold down the Ctrl key while clicking to select multiple files.

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Select the Use check boxes to select items check box, and then click OK.

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Automatically put the cursor in the search box when you start typing. This can be useful if you don't often browse for files by typing the name of a file.

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Under When typing into list view, click Automatically type into the Search Box, and then click OK.

Tip

  • To restore the original settings on the View tab, click Restore Defaults, and then click OK.

To apply the current view setting to other folders

While browsing folders in the Computer folder, you can apply the current view setting to all folders on your computer that are optimized for the same content as the folder you have open. For instance, the My Pictures folder is optimized for picture files. If you open this folder and change the view to Large Icons, you can apply the Large Icons view to every folder that's optimized for pictures. (This setting does not apply when viewing files and folders using libraries.)

  1. Open a folder, click the arrow next to the Views button Picture of the Views button on the toolbar, and choose a view setting.
  2. On the toolbar, click Organize, and then click Folder and search options.

  3. In the Folder Options dialog box, click the View tab, click Apply to Folders, click Yes, and then click OK.

Tip

  • To change the type of file that a folder is optimized for, right-click the folder, click Properties, click the Customize tab, click a file type in the Optimize this folder for list, and then click OK.