Best Windows File Explorer Tips and Tricks for Windows 10

Windows OS comes with an inbuilt File Explorer which everyone uses on a daily basis. Even though there are many Explorer alternatives available, the default files explorer remains the most used mostly because it’s pretty much straightforward and easy to use for anyone. That said, it also remains the most underused application on Windows 10, and there are so many things you can do with a File Explorer. In this post, I am talking about some of the best File Explorer Tips and Tricks for managing your files.

Windows 10 File Explorer Tips & Tricks

These tips will help you get the best out of Windows 10 File Explorer. The tricks we cover are:

  1. Share Files instantly with Windows 10 Apps
  2. Find More Apps for your Files
  3. Open This PC by default
  4. Delete Recent Files History
  5. Rename Multiple Files with the name of your choice
  6. Show Recycle Bin in the Sidebar on Demand
  7. Disable Advertisement in Windows Explorer
  8. Create new file types, and more!

1] Share Files instantly with Windows 10 Apps:

Windows 10 now comes with native sharing which allows one to share multiple or a single file with apps like Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, Fresh paint, OneNote, Paint 3D and so on.

File Explorer Trips and Tricks for Windows 10

  • Select multiple files, right-click, and click on Share.
  • This will open up Share menu which reveals the list of frequently contacted people, and list of apps which support it.
  • Select the app or contact with which you want to share, and it will open that app with all the files attached.

In case you cannot find the app in the menu, you can choose to Goto Store option, and download the app. Only if the app supports this feature, it will be listed.

It is also the best way to directly email a bunch of files to anyone. Interesting to note, that Windows 10 doesn’t open the full outlook, but offers you inline way or everything under a small window for a seamless experience.

TIP: See how you can show encrypted or compressed files in color.

2] Find More Apps for your Files:

There are a lot of apps in the store which might offer to do more things that the native app that comes preinstalled on the Windows 10. So for example, if you want something better than notepad, all you need to do is:

  • Right-Click on the file.
  • Go to Open With and then select “Search the Store.”

This will search the Microsoft Store for apps which select the file type. You can then decide which apps to try based on their description, and rating.

3] Open This PC by default:

Remember the days when clicking on the files explorer icon opened “My PC” revealing the list of hard drives, your CD Rom, and another connected device? That’s not the default case anymore, and now you get to see a “Quick Access” section which reveals your frequently used files, a bunch of shortcuts.  While they are useful, you can always access them by doing a right click on the File Explorer icon on the taskbar.

So here is how you can make File Explorer open to This PC instead of Quick Access.

  • Open File Explorer, and right-click on the “Quick Access” icon on the left panel. Select Options.

  • This opens the “Folder Options” Window.
  • In the General tab, look for a label which says “Open File Explorer to.”
  • Select “This PC” from the drop-down.
  • Save, and exit.

This will make sure Windows File Explorer will open “This PC” which shows all hard-drive partitions, and folders.

4] Delete Recent Files History:

If you have a PC which is used by a lot of people, its a very good idea to clear the recently or frequently visited files for good. Even though its always a good idea that you create a separate user for yourself, and guest account for others, but if that’s not the case and your family member shave privilege to log in to your account, you need to be careful about it.

  • Open Folder Option by following the steps mentioned above.
  • Look for the “Privacy” section.
  • Here you have two options.
    • Show recently used files in Quick Access
    • Show frequently used folders in Quick Access.
  • Uncheck both of them.

This will make sure nothing gets listed and shown to everybody. To clear all recent file list till now, click on the clear button to clear File Explorer History.”

5] Rename Multiple Files with the name of your choice

If you been using Windows for a long time, you already know that when renaming multiple files, Windows takes the name of the first file you choose, and then adds suffix with numbers in brackets. Like you see in the picture below.

Now, what if you want to rename multiple files, but every name should be different, and you don’t have to use the rename menu or press F2 for every file? That’s possible and here is how you do it.

  • Select first file, press F2 or right click > Rename.
  • Once you are sure with the name, press TAB.
  • You will see that the next file is in “Rename Mode” and here you can enter the name of your choice.
  • Keep pressing TAB till you are done. In case you want to skip few files in between, just press Tab to skip.

TIP: You can also batch rename files and file extensions using CMD.

6] Show Recycle Bin in the Sidebar on Demand

Windows 10 hides a bunch of folders including Recycle Bin from the Windows Explorer Navigation bar on the left. While you may argue that pressing delete is better than drag, and drop, but many might prefer drag, and drop files to be available right away. Apart from this, it also helps to quickly access the recycle bin in case you want to restore some of the deleted files.

  • Right-click anywhere on an empty place on the Navigation bar panel.
  • This will open a list of options including “Show All Folders.”
  • Select it, and it will display Recycle Bin.

The only annoyance is it also reveals a bunch of folders which you might not like. So to hide, just retrace the option in a similar way.

TIP: You can also display Recycle Bin in This PC folder or pin it to Quick Access.

7] Disable Advertisement in Windows Explorer:

Microsoft promotes its own apps to Windows consumer, and along with Start menu, and Notification panel, the advertisement appears in File Explorer as well. Even though the intentions are good, these are distracting when you are occupied with work. Luckily, these ads in Explorer can be disabled.

  • Open the Folder Options, then switch to View Tab.
  • Under Advanced Settings, scroll down to look for a checkbox which says “Show Sync Provider Notifications.”
  • Uncheck it. Then click ok, and all those advertisements will be gone.

8] Miss Creating new file types? Here is the hack

In previous versions of Windows, there used to be an option which allows you to quickly create a file type including image files, a notepad, and so on. It used to come super handy when I had to quickly note something. You might have a different use case, but you get the idea. Windows 10 doesn’t have this option,  but you can easily add new file type in the New item of the context menu with a registry modification.

Warning: This is only for those who understand registry. If you don’t, do not try it.

  • Open a Notepad and paste the following:
    • Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    • [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.XXX\ShellNew] “NullFile”=””
  • Replace the “.XXX’ with any desired file type such as .png, .docx, etc.
  • Now save the file as “ADD PNG.reg”. You will be asked to confirm your action.
  • Once done, double-click on this reg file, and it will add the extension under “new.”

Once you have added the needed file types, it should look like the image below.

Much has changed post-Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and File Explorer has got more features that integrate with rest of the operating system, bringing it close to mobile like experience, and it fit wells with this generation of users.

If you have any tip which you think is worth noting, sound off in comments!

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Ashish is a veteran Windows, and Xbox user who excels in writing tips, tricks, and features on it to improve your day to day experience with your devices.