Windows 8 – Appearance and Personalization – Folder Options

This applet gives you a refined control over the appearance of Windows Explorer. Through this applet, you can significantly improve your efficiency of browsing the file system of your machine by customizing minute details of Windows Explorer.

How to Launch It

  • Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
  • Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
  • Select “Appearance and Personalization” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
  • Select “Folder Options”. This will launch the applet as 3-tabbed small window.

The applet divides its functions in 3 tabs.

General

This tab includes the customization options that will be seen in every window of Windows Explorer.

This tab provides you following customizations.

  • While browsing through your file system, you essentially have to access several folders. The default behavior of Explorer is to open a folder in the same window. You can configure this behavior so that every opened folder will launch in a new window.
  • The default mouse action to open a file/folder is to double click on it. If you are lazy like me, you can change it so that the selected file/folder will open at a single click. Keep in mind, though, that this might take some time to get used to. If you were used to single clicking an item to select it, that won’t work anymore. The item will directly open on a single click.
  • You can customize the left-hand navigation pane as follows.
    • Add/remove a Favorites bar for quick access to your frequently used folders.
    • Show all folders of a current selection on the navigation pane.
    • Point the selection in the navigation tree to the current location of the window.

View Tab

You can change the overall view of the Explorer in this tab. The changes can depend on the current content shown by the Explorer. This tab contains customizations to all the minute details of the Explorer’s interface.

Suppose that you are navigating a folder that contains only photos. It is natural that you would want a thumbnail view of all the photos in the Explorer itself. So, you set it by selecting “extra-large icons”, “large icons” or “medium icons” view type.

Now, you can view all the images through their thumbnails. Sweet! Now, suppose that a thought crosses your mind – how can I have the thumbnail view as default for all the folders containing pictures? Well, you can do it in the view tab of this applet.

Besides that, there are several small customizations, some of which are listed below.

  • Customize image files to show only icons; no thumbnails.
  • Show/hide size information of a file/folder in its tool tip.
  • Show/hide hidden file and folders.
  • Window, by default, hides file extensions for known file types. For example, it won’t display extensions for image files, executable files, etc. You can change that behavior to show extensions for all the file types.
  • Show full path in the title bar. Explorer will show the full address path of the current folder on the title bar.

  • Use check boxes to select files. This way, you can select multiple files without having to use the “Control” key.
  • Show/hide the status bar.
  • Show/hide the drive letters.

Search Tab

You can customize the behavior of the search functionality of the Explorer.

  • You can enable partial matches so that Windows will list all the files that contains the search term in its name, instead of making an exact match to the search term.
  • You can prohibit Explorer from using the index while searching system files and folders. Windows will stop indexing the system files and folders. However, searches in those locations will become slow due to the lack of indexed data.
  • If you are searching a non-indexed location, then you can specify whether or not to search into system folders residing in that location.
  • You can include or exclude compressed files while searching in non-indexed location, thus, saving a lot of time.
  • You can ask Windows not to search the contents of files in a non-indexed location, in order to shorten the time of search.

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