How to customize Explorer in Windows 10

Windows File Explorer, popularly known as just Explorer is the heart of Windows UI. Every interaction you make with files, and folders are through Explorer. As the OS has evolved, so did the File Explorer, and in this guide, we will share how you can customize Explorer in Windows 10.

How to customize Explorer in Windows 10

How to customize Explorer in Windows 10

The default Explorer view offers access to all user folders, and drives. On the top, you have few fixed tabs like File, View, and more show up based on what you select and your current location. For example, when you choose an image, you get a Picture Tools menu, while you get Application tools when you select an executable. The fact is the list is dynamic, and keep changing all the time based on the situation.

Dynamic Menu of Windows Explorer

Since we are dealing to customize Explorer in Windows 10, most of them are available in the Options section of View tab, and some are related to the context menu.

Customize “View” in Explorer

How you want to look at your files, depend entirely on the kind of work you engage into regularly. In the view tab of the ribbon menu, you can switch from extra large (suitable for images) to Large icons to Details which adds date, type, size to the files, folders, and tags if you use it.

Next, you can choose to Sort & Group files and folders by size, date, name, etc. If you feel something is missing, you can select “Add Columns” in detailed view.

Customize Explorer View

Apart from file views, you can add two side panes to extend them. It is useful for individual files if you do not wish to use details mode.

  • Preview Pane: Useful for Images and media files.
  • Details Pane: Useful when you deal with a lot of files where you need to check details like size, creation date, and so on.

Then you have a Navigation Pane, which adds tree like explorer structure on the left. It helps you to navigate between the folders quickly.

Lastly, you have a few more options. Enable

  • checkboxes for easy selection of multiple items
  • viewing of file extensions
  • View hidden files and folders. More here on how to hide/unhide folders in Windows 

Customize “Folder Options” in Explorer

customize Explorer in Windows 10

In the view menu, you have the Options. When you click on it, it opens a pop-up window which offers a plethora of choices you can make. They are majorly for folders and search. Here you have three significant configurations–General, View, and Search. We are going to look at the first two.

TIP: Make sure to check out Windows Explorer Tips and Tricks.

General Folder Options

Quick Access

Change Default Folder

Choose quick access when you want to go to your frequently used folders, and files without wasting much time. If you also want quick access to drives, enable navigation pane, and you have the best of both.

Do you use a Touch Screen?

You can choose to open the folders with a single click, but it could be annoying when using a mouse. If you have a touch screen, a single tap can open the folder. Double click with touch is slightly irritating.


Customize View Options

Here you get micro control on what you get to see for the files and folders. Right from icons, to menus, to full path, the option to hide empty drives and so on.  Here are few which you should look at-

Automatically type in the search box: 

When we open any folder, we usually search an item. If you have an extensive collection of files and folders, enable this option. So when you need to find something, it will type it in the search box and filter the results.

Search in Windows Explorer

When you click on the search box or type with this option enabled, you get a couple of filter option. It helps you to narrow down search result to find the exact file or folder you were trying to find. You can limit on file size, type, date modified and so on.

Restore Previous Folders on Login:

It helps you to resume work even faster as it will open the folders you work often. All you need to is shut down those the computer without closing them.

Using these options in View, you can create a minimal or an illustrated view of the folders. Useful or not depends on your work.

Lastly, you don’t have to apply the same view to all folders. When you open the view configuration being in a folder, you only customize the look for that folder. So the best way to go ahead is to customize with the folders you work with, and leave others. Though you can choose to apply the current view to all folders with “Apply to folders” button.

If something doesn’t fit, you can always reset the Folder view.

That is pretty much you should know about how you can customize Explorer in Windows 10. Though I would repeat that everything depends on your work, most of the consumers don’t really change anything unless its a need, but those who need to handle a lot of files and folders, these are really helpful.

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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.

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