Managing Windows Explorer Folder Options

by Wayne Maples [Published on 20 April 2004 / Last Updated on 20 April 2004]

You need to consider the Folder options of Explorer to control the way folders work and files display.
  • Right-click Start
  • Click Explore
  • Click Tools menu item
  • Click Folder Options

General Tab

  • Tasks
    Default is to Show common tasks in folders. This divides folder window into a task and folder pane. The task pane give access to File and Folder Tasks, Other Places, and Details.
    Recommendation: Select Use Windows classic folders and get a lot of space back.

  • Browse Folders
    Default is to Open each folder in the same window. Leave it as is. You don't want dozens or hundreds of windows opened up. If you want a particular folder to open in its own window, hold down Ctrl while double-clicking the folder you want opened in a new window.

  • Click items as follows
    Default is Double-click to open an item (single-click to select).
    You can choose whether to require a double or single click to open files and folders.

View Tab

  • Folder Views
    The Apply to All Folders button will apply the View options specified in the folder from which you chose Folder Options to All Folders. Good choice if you want one standard but not if you want different options for some folders.

  • Advanced Settings
    Some of the defaults are defined to protect you against yourself. Consider implications and definitely experiment with these settings. Puzzled about meaning of a setting : right-click the setting and pick What's This. Actually What's This works in most of Windows.
    • Remember each folder's View settings : if you want different settings for certain folders
    • Display the contents of System Folders: option for admins
    • Show hidden files and folders : option for admins and techies
    • Show Control Panel in My Computer : maybe
    • Use simple file sharing (Recommended) : not if you are used to classic file sharing
    • Hide extensions for known file types : not for me
    • Display the full path in the Title bar

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