Windows 7 Windows Explorer Tips

Use check boxes to select multiple files
In order to select multiple files for an operation such as copying, moving or deleting in Windows Explorer, you generally use the keyboard and the mouse, Ctrl-clicking every file you want to select.

If you prefer you can select multiple files in Windows 7 using only your mouse, via check boxes. To do it:

  1. In Windows Explorer, click Organise, and then select ‘Folder and search options’.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. In Advanced Settings, scroll down and check the box next to ‘Use check boxes to select items’. Click ok.
  4. From now on, when you hover your mouse over a file in Windows Explorer, a check box will appear next to it; click it to select the file. Once a file is selected, the checked box remains next to it; if you uncheck it, the box will disappear when you move your mouse away.

Open a command prompt at any folder
When in Windows Explorer, you can open a command prompt to any folder (tip does exactly what the Windows XP PowerToy ‘Open Command Window Here’ does).

To use it, hold down the Shift key and right-click a folder, then choose ‘Open command window here’ from the context menu that appears. (Note that this tip doesn’t work in the Documents folder.)

Protect the privacy of your Explorer searches
When you search through your PC from Windows Explorer, you can see the most recent searches that have been performed.

If you share a PC and don’t want others to see what you’ve searched for, turn off the recent searches feature using the following steps:

  1. In the Start menu’s Search box, type GPEDIT.MSC and press Enter to launch the Group Policy Editor.
  2. Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer.
  3. Double-click ‘Turn off display of recent search entries in the Windows Explorer search box’ and select Enabled from the screen that appears.
  4. Then click OK. The recent searches feature will now be turned off

Set a new Windows Explorer launch folder
By default, Windows Explorer always opens to the Libraries folder. That’s fine if you use Microsoft’s default file organisation, which designates Libraries as the overall container for your folders.

But what if you don’t, you might prefer to have Windows Explorer open to Computer or any other folder you choose. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Right-click the Windows Explorer icon on the taskbar (it’s the one that looks like a folder), and then right-click the Windows Explorer icon from the context menu that appears and select Properties. The Windows Explorer Properties dialog box appears.
  2. You’ll have to edit the Target field on the Shortcut tab of this dialog box in order to change the default location at which Explorer opens.

If you want Explorer to open to a specific folder, simply enter the name of the folder, substituting your folder name for Folder, below, like this:

%windir%\explorer.exe c:\Folder

So to open Explorer to the folder named Budget, you would type this in the Target field:%windir%\explorer.exe c:\Budget

If you want Explorer to open to special, pre-set locations, such as Computer, you’ll need to enter special syntax in the Target field.

Following is a list of four common locations and the syntax to use, followed by the syntax for the Libraries folder in case you ever want to revert to the default.

Computer: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
My Documents:%windir%\explorer.exe ::{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
Network: %windir%\explorer.exe ::{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
Libraries: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe

After you’ve changed the Target field, click ok. Next time you launch Windows Explorer, it will open to the new location you’ve designated.

Show all your drives in Windows Explorer
By default, Windows 7 hides empty drives such as memory card readers, when you go to Computer in Windows Explorer. To change this default behaviour and  see all drives them even if there’s nothing there:

  1. Launch Windows Explorer and press the Alt button to reveal the top menu.
  2. Select Tools > Folder Options and click the View tab.
  3. Under ‘Advanced settings’, uncheck the box next to ‘Hide empty drives in the Computer folder’. Click OK. The drives will now always be visible.

More tips…


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