File Ex­plorer

Windows Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 TOP 60 TIMESAVING TIPS & TRICKS -

Save your searches

The best way to search PC re­mains File Ex­plorer’s search bar – use the tools on the Rib­bon’s Search tab to help nar­row re­sults by file type, size and other prop­er­ties. Re­cently used search terms re­main avail­able via the ‘Re­cent searches’ drop-down menu, but if you keep com­ing back to the same terms again and again, click ‘Save search’ to per­ma­nently store them. These searches are ac­ces­si­ble from the Searches folder in­side your user folder, but you can pin them to the Start menu for eas­ier ac­cess (right-click a search en­try to do so).

Con­fig­ure Quick ac­cess

The ‘Quick ac­cess’ menu in File Ex­plorer’s left-hand Nav­i­ga­tion pane is your best friend – pin fre­quently ac­cessed fold­ers here for quick ac­cess when needed by drag­ging them into place from the main File Ex­plorer pane. Right-click a pinned folder and choose ‘Un­pin from Quick Ac­cess’ to re­move it. Re­cently ac­cessed fold­ers are dis­played here by de­fault, too. To see re­cently ac­cessed files, click the ‘Quick ac­cess’ short­cut to view them be­neath your pinned and re­cently ac­cessed fold­ers. To hide ei­ther from this view, right-click ‘Quick ac­cess’ and choose Op­tions to untick un­wanted el­e­ments.

Add ex­tra el­e­ments

By de­fault, the Nav­i­ga­tion pane shows ‘Quick ac­cess’, This PC and a hand­ful of ex­tras, such as OneDrive. You can add Li­braries, Re­cy­cle Bin and Con­trol Panel short­cuts by right-click­ing blank space in the Nav­i­ga­tion Bar and choos­ing ‘Show all fold­ers’ – they will all ap­pear un­der This PC.

Se­lec­tively pin short­cuts

If This PC now ap­pears too clut­tered, right-click and choose ‘Show all fold­ers’ again to re­move them. Now type

shell:desk­top into the Ad­dress bar and you’ll see the items ap­pear as stand­alone short­cuts – drag those you want across into the ‘Quick ac­cess’ menu to open them from there in­stead.

Re­move un­wanted items

Not ev­ery­one is a fan of OneDrive, so hav­ing its icon ap­pear – along with other se­lected third-party cloud providers – in the Nav­i­ga­tion pane may not be your cup of tea. If you can’t find an op­tion in the pro­gram’s own set­tings to re­move it from view, press [Win] + [R], type regedit and press [En­ter]. Next, press [Ctrl] + [F], type sys­tem.ispinned and click Find Next. You’ll find your­self some­where in­side the Com­puter\ HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID branch. Select the key and use the (De­fault) value on the right to iden­tify it. If it’s the one you want to hide, dou­ble-click the Sys­tem.IsPinnedToNameS­paceTree value and change it to 0. The item will in­stantly van­ish (change it back to 1 to re­store it again). Re­peat the search to find other un­wanted en­tries.

Switch de­fault view

When you open File Ex­plorer from its Taskbar short­cut, it’ll dis­play your ‘Quick ac­cess’ folder by de­fault. You can change the de­fault view to This PC in­stead by right-click­ing the ‘Quick ac­cess’ folder in the Nav­i­ga­tion pane and choos­ing Op­tions, then se­lect­ing This PC un­der ‘Open File Ex­plorer to:’. It’s also pos­si­ble to set the de­fault folder to Down­loads if you wish – you will need to use Wi­naero Tweaker (select File Ex­plorer > File Ex­plorer Star­ing Folder) in this event.

Col­late favourite com­mands

Like its con­tem­po­raries in Of­fice and other ap­pli­ca­tions, File Ex­plorer’s Rib­bon fea­tures a Quick Ac­cess Tool­bar in the top-left cor­ner of the win­dow, which en­ables you to ‘pin’ favourite com­mands from else­where on the Rib­bon – these are al­ways vis­i­ble and easy to ac­cess. You can add com­mon ones such as Prop­er­ties, Re­name or Delete by click­ing the drop-down menu to its right, but you’re not re­stricted to these op­tions. Sim­ply right-click your cho­sen com­mand on the Rib­bon and choose ‘Add to Quick Ac­cess Tool­bar’. If you run out of space, click the drop­down ar­row next to it again, but this time choose ‘Show be­low the Rib­bon’ to dis­play all your com­mands in a tool­bar be­neath the Rib­bon.

Quick-fire cus­tom views

File Ex­plorer makes it easy to view or hide hid­den items, show file ex­ten­sions and dis­play tick boxes next to each item to make it eas­ier to select non­con­sec­u­tive items in a folder – you’ll find these op­tions grouped to­gether in the ‘Show/hide’ sec­tion of the View tab on the Rib­bon. You can even quickly hide se­lected items from view us­ing the ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled but­ton.

Bulk ac­tions

Fed up with per­form­ing the same repet­i­tive ac­tion on a group of files one at a time? With ‘Item check boxes’ se­lected, you can per­form cer­tain ac­tions across any cur­rently se­lected files with one click. Uni­ver­sal ac­tions such as Re­name, Delete, At­tach To Email or Com­press To Zip File can be found on the Home and Share tabs (but check the box at the end of the fea­ture for a bet­ter bulk-re­nam­ing tool). If you select a group of photo files you can also ro­tate them all 90-de­grees clock­wise or counter-clock­wise un­der the Pic­ture Tools > Man­age tab.

Hide the Rib­bon

While it’s pos­si­ble to hide or show the Rib­bon us­ing the ‘^’ and ‘v’ but­tons in the top right-hand cor­ner, it’s just as quick – if not quicker – to sim­ply

dou­ble-click a Rib­bon tab header, which does the same thing. To tem­po­rar­ily view a tab’s con­tents with­out bring­ing the whole Rib­bon back into fo­cus, just click on it once – it’ll van­ish when you next click away from it.

Cus­tomise by folder type

Do you find your­self hav­ing to tweak the view set­tings of spe­cific fold­ers based on their con­tents? You can des­ig­nate cer­tain fold­ers as a spe­cific type (Gen­eral, Doc­u­ments, Pic­tures, Mu­sic or Videos) by right-click­ing in­side the folder and choos­ing 'Cus­tomise this folder…' Once done, you can fur­ther cus­tomise how the folder ap­pears via the View tab on the Rib­bon. If you’d like to ap­ply the same set­tings to other fold­ers of the same type for a more con­sis­tent look, click Op­tions > 'Change folder and search op­tions' > 'View tab’ and click ‘Ap­ply to Fold­ers’.

Quick-fire shared fold­ers

The quick­est way to share a folder is to right-click it and open the ‘Give ac­cess to’ sub-menu. From here you will be able to share it with other users of your com­puter – how­ever, you should ig­nore any Homegroup op­tions as Mi­crosoft has now dep­re­cated this fea­ture.

Choose ‘Spe­cific peo­ple’ if you are only plan­ning to share the folder with your­self or wish to share with ad­di­tional peo­ple (such as the 'Ev­ery­one’ user, which gives uni­ver­sal ac­cess with­out the need for a pass­word).

Add tabs to File Ex­plorer

Any­one who reg­u­larly has two or more File Ex­plorer win­dows open will love this next tip: down­load and in­stall QTTabBar from­ and it’ll in­te­grate it­self with File Ex­plorer, en­abling you to browse mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions through a se­ries of tabs once you select QTTabBar from the Op­tions menu un­der the File Ex­plorer Rib­bon’s View tab. You’ll see the tabs at the top of the screen – press [Ctrl] + [N] and a du­pli­cate tab of the cur­rent one will ap­pear be­neath the Ad­dress bar or click the '+' but­ton to select a new lo­ca­tion man­u­ally. You can copy or move files be­tween dif­fer­ent tabs by drag­ging them from the cur­rent win­dow on top of an­other tab, or by right-click­ing the tab for more op­tions.

QTTabBar ex­tras

QTTabBar comes with two handy ex­tras – pop-up pre­views of sup­ported for­mats (mu­sic, video and im­age) when you roll the mouse over an item, plus look out for a small down ar­row icon that ap­pears when you roll the cur­sor over a folder – click this and you’ll be able to view (and browse to) con­tent in­side that folder, too.

Gain an ap­pli­ca­tion launcher

QTTabBar can be ex­panded in other ways, too: select QT Com­mand Bar to un­lock a host of ex­tras – cus­tomised folder groups for easy ac­cess, plus click­able but­tons to re­cently ac­cessed fold­ers and files. There’s also a greyed­out ap­pli­ca­tion launcher but­ton – sim­ply drag a pro­gram short­cut on to here to add it. To man­age your apps – in­clud­ing adding a key­board short­cut – right-click to the right of the tool­bar and choose QTTabBar Op­tions > Ap­pli­ca­tion launcher.

Make use of the Rib­bon’s Quick Ac­cess tool­bar to place fre­quently ac­cessed com­mands at your fin­ger­tips.

One of the big­gest time-sav­ing fea­tures of File Ex­plorer is the Quick ac­cess menu.

QTTabBar takes File Ex­plorer to the next level with tabs, pop-up pre­views and other handy fea­tures.

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