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Get the most out of File Explorer on Windows 10?

The Windows 10 File Explorer is the main part of managing Windows documents and folders, with multiple customization and user optimization options.

The Windows 10 File Explorer , formerly known as Windows Explorer, was one of the most important and vital applications in Windows. In it’s popular Windows 10, Microsoft has changed the design of the app’s interface to make it easier to simplify, navigate, and manage files. Manage all kinds of folders and applications on a personal computer, peripheral storage drive, or any computer on a local network can also be done easily in Windows 10 File Explorer.

Windows users know that the file management system has been around for years in various versions of the most popular PC operating system. Over the years, with the release of various versions of Windows, the system has undergone numerous changes and optimizations, and even some of its features have been removed. Finally, the basic usage of the Windows file management system and document remains the same.

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Although using the File Explorer may seem simple at first glance, there are some very extensive and complex settings that can be used to increase the efficiency of the Windows file and folder management system. Regardless of why you are using Windows 10, which can be because of study or office, the File Explorer has several personalization and optimization options, and familiarity with them is not without merit. In the rest of this article, we will explain the various options and capabilities of the File Explorer in Windows 10.

How to open File Explorer in Windows 10?

In Windows 10, you have several ways to open or run the File Explorer application. All of the following will apply to your application:

  • Click the File Explorer icon on the Windows taskbar.
  • Use Windows + E shortcut keys.
  • Click on the File Exporer icon in the Start menu navigation panel.
  • Search for File Explorer in the Start menu.
  • Use the explorer command in the Run section.
  • Right-click on the Start button and select File Explorer.

How to open “This PC” in File Explorer?

When you run the File Explorer, the Quick Access window opens by default, which is different from the familiar My Computer interface. If you want to open another window (for example, This PC, which is similar to My Computer) each time you open the File Explorer, follow these steps.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • In the View tab, click Options.
  • From the Open File Explorer drop-down menu, select This PC.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button.

How to view File Extensions in File Explorer?

Follow the steps below to view file extensions in the File Explorer application.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • In the View tab, click Options.
  • When the new window appears, click the View tab.
  • Uncheck Hide extension for known file types.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button.

Instead of the above steps, you can select the File name extensions option in the View tab in the File Explorer.

How to view hidden files in File Explorer?

Follow the steps below to view files that have the Hidden option selected in their settings.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • In the View tab, click Options.
  • When the new window appears, click the View tab.
  • In the Hidden files and folders section, select Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Then click the OK button.

In the steps above, you can also uncheck “Hide protected operating system files”. This is commonly used to view Windows system files and troubleshoot them, or to identify virus files with a legal appearance.

Instead of the above options, you can select the Hidden items option from the View tab in the main window of the File Explorer.

How to Customize Quick Access in File Explorer?

The File Explorer provides quick access to addresses and folders that you visit regularly. In the right bar of the File Explorer, you will see the Quick Access menu, and at the top left of the app, there is a menu for quick access to commands such as Undo, Redo, and Delete.

Customize Quick Access in the navigation panel

Follow the steps below to delete or add addresses and folders in the Quick access menu of the File Explorer.

  • first open the File Explorer.
  • Go to the address or folder you want to add to the quick access window.
  • Select the desired folder.
  • From the top menu and the Home tab, select the Pin to Quick access option. You can also right-click on the Quick access option in the sidebar and select Pin current folder to Quick access.

To remove folders from the Quick access menu, right-click on the desired folder and select Unpin from Quick access.

How to show only manually pinned folders?

The quick access menu will show you folders and frequently used addresses next to folders that you have manually added to the menu. If you want to see only the manual folders in the menu, follow these steps.

  • First open the File Explorer.
  • In the Home tab, click Options.
  • Enter the Generals tab.
  • In the Privacy section, uncheck Show frequently used folders in Quick access.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • And then click the OK button.

Quick access menu in the toolbar

The Quick Access toolbar gives you frequently used commands in a functional structure. You can also customize the commands in the toolbar to display only the required items. To personalize this section, follow these steps:

  • First open the File Explorer.
  • Click the arrow button in the top left menu of the window.
  • Select the desired command from the available options: Undo, Redo, Properties, New Folder or Rename.
  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 to add or remove commands.

To add other options, you can click on any application button from the top menu of the File Explorer and select Add to Quick Access toolbar.

In addition to adding and removing commands, you can also move the Quick Access Toolbar. To do this, right-click on the toolbar and select one of the two options, Show Quick Access toolbar below the Ribbon or Show Quick Access toolbar above the Ribbon.

How to display file preview in File Explorer?

Follow the steps below to display the details or preview the file in the File Explorer.

  • First open the File Explorer.
  • Click View.
  • Click the Preview pane option.
  • By selecting the desired file, its preview will be seen in the window in the right menu.
  • Click the Details pane option.
  • By selecting the desired file, its details such as volume and date of creation and manufacturer and other items will be displayed in the menu on the right.

When the preview options and file details are enabled in the top bar, every time you click on a file, its additional information is displayed in the menu on the right.

How to use search in File Explorer?

Searching through files using the search bar in File Explorer is not very complicated, but with some settings it can be multiplied. Follow the steps below to advanced search in the File Explorer.

  • First open the File Explorer.
  • Write the search term in the search box to the right of the window and press Enter.

If the search results are different from the ones you are looking for, you can use the Search tab to limit and optimize the results. For example, by clicking on the Current folder option, the search is limited to the current folder in the File Explorer.

Refine Search

Imagine looking for a specific file that has been edited over a period of time. You can choose the time period you want by selecting the Date modified option from the Search tab. Options specify the time range from one day to one year.

You can use the options in the Refine submenu to optimize your search. For example, you can use the Kind option to specify the type of file content that has options such as Document, Folder, Music, Picture, Game, and so on. In addition, in the Size section, the search can be restricted to files with a specified size range. Other options are in the other properties section and include things like the user who created the file, the tag, and so on.

Search Options

The options section in the Search tab gives you several options. For example, by selecting Recent searches, you can see your recent searches, which will be useful in searching with similar and repetitive options and settings. Advanced options in the menu can also be used to select advanced settings such as compressing folders to search results.

Resize the Search Box

If the search box is too small for you, you can easily enlarge the window by selecting the left edge and dragging it to the left.

How to use Ribbon in File Explorer

The ribbon or ribbon section in the File Explorer performs similarly to sections in other Microsoft software, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The ribbon bar is not displayed by default, and you must first select the desired tab to view the options available for each set of settings. Home, Share, and View are the default tabs available for the top bar. You can display the bar by default by pressing the CTRL + F1 keys or the arrow key at the top and right of the window.

Home Tab

Most of the basic commands required for the user are in the Home tab. The most widely used are Copy, Paste and Cut.

Share Tab

As the name implies, you can see a variety of file sharing activities with other people and advanced file sharing options. In addition, in this section, you can create a zip folder from your desired folder.

View tab

In this tab, you can see all kinds of commands and settings to control the appearance and order of files and folders. Using this tab, you can activate and deactivate the preview windows and file details, as well as set the display pattern of files and folders and their sorting pattern (order, name, type, dimensions, editing date, etc.) in this section.

As explained in the previous sections, quick access to some settings, such as viewing hidden files and displaying file extensions, is also possible via the View tab. Many of the options in the File Explorer are available from both the Options window and the tab.

In addition to the default tabs, additional tabs are probably displayed at the top of the ribbon bar, depending on the content in a folder or selected file. One of the most widely used tabs is called Pictures, which is activated if you select an image. With this tab, you can take actions such as rotating the image or viewing it as a slideshow or selecting it as the Windows background.

How to access network drives in File Explorer?

If you need files stored on a computer or other server on a local area network, there are several ways to access them in File Explorer. For example, you can use the Network tab to view files, or add your desired URL to the Quick Access List for faster access. You can also add a folder to the network as a network drive to the This PC window.

View network files

Follow the steps below to access the files on the network.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • From the left navigation menu, select Network.
  • Double-click on the computer name on the network.
  • Enter the computer using the relevant username and password (if required).
  • Open the desired folder (previously set as the shared network folder on the target computer).

Add network drive

If you need constant and fast access to the network drive, you can add it to This PC, which is done with the Map command.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • From the navigation menu, select This PC.
  • In the Computer tab, select the Map network drive option.
  • In the window that opens, from the Drive drop-down menu, select a letter for your new drive.
  • Click the Browse button and select the folder you want on the network.
  • Click the OK button. (The other two options, Reconnect at sign-in and Connect with different credentials) are optional and depend on the configuration of the local network settings.
  • Here click on the Finish button and at the end, if necessary, enter your username and password of your network account.

After performing the above steps, the folder on the network will appear as a drive in the “This PC” window. As mentioned, configuring and adding a network folder to the Quick access navigation menu also gives them quick access.

How to set the File Explorer settings to default?

Although users can reset the Explorer file to default, it is not possible to reset all settings once. In fact, you need to reset the settings for each section separately.

Restore General settings

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Select the Options button from the Home tab.
  • Then select General tab.
  • Select the Restore Default option.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button.

After performing the above steps, all the settings related to folder browsing, navigation and privacy settings in the File Explorer will be restored to the default state.

Settings for viewing folders

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Select the Options button from the Home tab.
  • Select the View tab.
  • In the Folder views section, press the Reset Folders button.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button.

By following the steps above, the folder will be displayed by default.

Restore View settings

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Select the Options button from the Home tab.
  • Select the View tab.
  • Press the Restore Defaults button.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button.

By following the steps above, all settings, including advanced options for displaying folders and files such as hidden folders and navigation bars, will be restored to default.

How to add recycle bin to File Explorer navigation bar?

Follow the steps below to add the popular Windows Recycle bin to the File Explorer navigation bar.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Select the Options button from the Home tab.
  • Select the View tab.
  • In the Advanced settings section of the Navigation pane, select Show all folders.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button.

With the above settings, in addition to the Recycle bin, the Control Panel button is also added to the navigation bar.

How to display the libraries section in the File Explorer?

The Windows 7 libraries section had a lot of fans, which by default are not visible in the Windows 10 File Explorer. If you also need to view this section in the File Explorer navigation bar, follow these steps.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Select the Options button from the Home tab.
  • Select the View tab.
  • In the Advanced settings section of the Navigation pane, enable the Show libraries option.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • Click the OK button.

With the above settings, popular options and libraries such as Camera Roll, Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos appear in the File Explorer navigation bar.

How to customize folder display in File Explorer?

The File Explorer has five different patterns for personalizing folder indexes. These templates include General items, Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos. Each template implements a specific form of icons along with sorting and grouping related to the type of folder content. Patterns can be customized and their settings can be changed using the following steps.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Enter the address in which you want to customize the folder display settings.
  • Right-click on the folder and select Properties.
  • Select the Customize tab.
  • In the “What kind of folder do you want?” section, from the drop-down menu under Optimize this folder for, select the option that most closely matches the content in the folder (one of the top five options).
  • You can also select the option Apply this template to all sub-folders.
  • In addition, you can select a file from the Folder pictures section as the folder icon. Of course, Windows itself produces a suitable fingerprint image by default using the folders in the folder.
  • In the Folder icons section, you can select the Change Icon button to change the default folder icon. In this section, in addition to the default icons, a personal icon file can be selected from the computer.
  • Click the OK button.

How to display icons instead of thumbnails in File Explorer?

Using the files in a folder, the File Explorer displays a thumbnail image as a folder icon that makes it easy to identify the content in it. You can change these settings and see only the folder icon. Follow the steps below to disable Thumbnail in the File Explorer.

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Select the Options button from the Home tab.
  • Select the View tab.
  • In the Advance settings section and the Files and Folders sub-menu, select Always show icons, never thumbnails.
  • Disable the Display file icon thumbnails option.

How to recover previous versions of files in File Explorer?

If you’ve enabled the File History feature in Windows 10, you can easily restore previous versions of the files in the File Explorer. Even files that are accidentally deleted from the explorer will be recoverable with this feature. Follow the steps below to recover the previous version of the files:

  • Open the File Explorer.
  • Go to the address where the file or content to recover is located.
  • Select the desired file or folder.
  • In the Home tab, click the History button.
  • Use the back and forth control buttons to find the version you want to recover.
  • Select the desired final file or folder. Don’t forget that by restoring previous versions, the previous status of the file will replace the current status. To prevent data loss, first make a copy of the file.
  • Finally, press the green Restore button.
  • Select the Replace the file in the destination option.

The steps above will return the file or folder you want to the previous state.

Applicable shortcut keys for File Explorer

The File Explorer provides you with several shortcut keys for managing files and folders. Here are some of them.

  1. Windows + E: Open the File Explorer
  2. Ctrl + Shift + N: Create a new folder
  3. Ctrl + N: Open a new File Explorer window
  4. Alt + Left: Return to previous folder
  5. Alt + Right: Go to the next folder in history
  6. Alt + Up: Moves to a higher level (in the tree structure of folders)
  7. Ctrl + F or F3: Start Search
  8. Ctrl + L: Select the address bar
  9. Ctrl + Shift + Number 1-8: Change folder view (from small to large)
  10. F4: Open the address bar and address history
  11. F5: Reload the existing window of the File Explorer
  12. Ctrl + C: Copy
  13. Ctrl + X: Cut
  14. Ctrl + V: Paste
  15. Ctrl + A: Select all items
  16. Ctrl + Z: Cancel a command
  17. Ctrl + Y: Run the command again
  18. F2: Rename

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Source: Windows Central & Zoomit

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