Windows 8.1 File Explorer Features

If you have installed Windows 8.1. the first thing you will notice when you open Windows Explorer or rather File Explorer, is that when you click on the Explorer icon in the taskbar, the following window opens.

Windows 8.1 file explorer

windows 8.1 file explorer

No longer are the Libraries displayed. Instead all your Devices & Drives along with your personal folders like Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos and Desktop are displayed.

Those who did not like the Libraries opening when they clicked on the Explorer icon, changed it so that the Computer folder opened.

However, with this change, users will be able to access their Drives as well as their personal folders when they open the My Computer or Computer folder – which is now called as This PC.

If you wish to hide these folders, you can click on the small arrow to collapse and consequently hide them.

Show, Hide Libraries, Favorites in Windows 8.1 explorer navigation pane

Right-clicking in the left navigation panel will offer you several options to:


  • Show favorites
  • Show Libraries
  • Show all folders
  • Expand tocurrent folder.

I never liked my Explorer opening to Libraries, and so prefer the current look of My PC.

How are you liking this change?

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. abodooma

    I never put anything in these folders, I always use my D drive which contains everything
    It’s very annoying to have to slide down navigation pane below these folders to get to D in open/save dialog boxes

    Is there a way to hide these folders permanently?
    or at least not show them in the navigation pane on the left?

  2. jensen

    Right now I do not have the English Windows with me

    Click on the library icon at the bottom.

    Right click the individual icon

    select properties

    At the bottom fields remove the check mark in “show in the navigation something” 🙂

    What I have done on mu computers are:
    I have redirected the individual folders properties to points to the folders in the E drive

  3. abodooma

    WoW thanks, I moved my user folders to D drive.. very useful feature

  4. ThisPC

    Yes. Take a look at here: gg. gg / ThisPC

  5. hede

    It would really be nice if someone could come up with the information on how to show/hide this settings trough changes to the registry, so us that wants to make it trough GPO, can make the changes there….

  6. Reba Taylor

    When in File Explorer, (earlier Windows Explorer) When I right click on a file to delete it or rename it, the little circle goes on forever and nothing changes. I go to control alt delete and task manager comes up. There is nothing there, but when I go back, the circle has stopped, and I can delete it from the x at the top. Why does the right click no longer work? This is the Window’s 8.1 edition

  7. Looks like something is making your explorer.exe hang when you try to Delete. Check if point 9 here helps you:

  8. Reba Taylor

    Thanks, but too deep for me.

    Sent from my iPad

  9. Alok

    When i right click on a file or folder and select properties then it is taking long to show its properties. Pls i need help urgently it was not the case before i reinstalled 8.1

  10. Could you see if there are and explorer addons which is causing it to hang?

  11. Alok

    No it was not completely hanging, just properties was taking long to open. I think it was bcoz i changed the drive later from the disk management anyways i did a reinstall and its working nice till now

  12. Tim Chambers


    I have a few folders under Favourites in the file explorer in Windows 8.1. Unlike all the other folders in the navigation panel, these do not have the little triangles to expand these folders – is there any way to get them to show up?

    I find them useful – not sure why they don’t appear for favourite folders

  13. That’s the way it is I guess. They don’t appear in my File Explorer too.

  14. Brian Donovan

    Can I install win7 file explorer on win8?

    Win file explorer is fatally flawed, it can’t find the file I am looking right at not, in the user directory! Search it online, thousands of reports of files known to be on the drive that win8 FE misses. It’s broken, always has been.

  15. No that cannot be done.

  16. Ferdy Art Ras

    Can I do that the same for my computer too of the windows7 ? please.. help with a quick response. Thanks before ;D

  17. delmaracer

    I like the utility of Explorer. But in Win 8.1 they removed the ability to change the file name upon opening. Too bad. MS usually seems to screw up some good useable functions.

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