Easy methods to Customise File Explorer in Home windows 10

The File Explorer program, formerly known as Windows Explorer, has been a core element of the operating system for decades. Like most of the different parts of the operating system, they've made a noticeable overhaul in Windows 10. There are plenty of new tools to get used to, although the basic layout and functionality will be familiar to anyone who has used Windows XP or later. Here is a quick guide to some of the intricacies of the new File Explorer.

Fast access

The Quick Access area, which by default is the first section of the Navigation Pane in the left column, is essentially a bookmark bar for File Explorer. Both your recently visited folders and pinned folders (folders that you manually assign to this area) are displayed for easy access to and from any folder in Windows. You can do this with any folder in Windows – just right-click or long-press any folder on any screen, then click Pin to Quick Access.

Michael Crider / Digital Trends

Now you can open this folder from any other folder instantly. Dragging and dropping files and folders moves them (or copies them if they are on a separate drive). To remove a folder from the quick access view, simply click on the pin symbol to the right of the folder name. To remove frequently accessed folders, right-click the folder and select Remove from Quick Access.

OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service, has a dedicated folder under the "Quick Access" area. Other folders on your computer are available in a tree view under OneDrive.

Multifunction bar interface

Most of the File Explorer UI is dedicated to displaying icons and the tree view on the left, since 90% of the time you open and move files and folders. The ribbon interface (introduced in Windows 8) has advanced features that you can open by clicking Start, Share, or View. You can make this area visible at any time by clicking the Down button next to the folder name in the window header and then deactivating the Minimize the Ribbon option.

File Explorer minimizes the ribbonMichael Crider / Digital Trends

The Home ribbon isn't all that useful, if only because the functions it contains are available as standard clicks or familiar keyboard shortcuts like copy and paste. Share shows features that are less common: Use these buttons to send specific files or folders to a ZIP archive, print or fax documents, burn files to a CD or DVD, or share them using the network tools built into Windows.

File Explorer ribbon largeMichael Crider / Digital Trends

There are a few other interesting tools on the View tab. Here you can toggle the Navigation Pane (where the quick access section is located) on or off, and separate areas for Preview (where larger versions of things like photos or videos are shown) and Details (where more technical aspects of a file or are shown show or hide group of files at a glance). In the Layout section, you can choose completely different views for this particular folder. Additional tools are available by clicking the Options icon, then clicking Change Folder and clicking Search Options. Try out the different view options. Some of these can be very useful, especially in folders with large amounts of files.

File menu

In later versions of Windows they moved much of the File menu functions to other areas of File Explorer, but there are still some useful tools for power users here. For both the command prompt and the Windows PowerShell tools, you can open new instances with the current folder already active in the File menu (which can save a lot of tedious typing). Do you need administrator rights? Hover over the icon, then click Open Command Prompt / Windows PowerShell as Administrator.

File Explorer File MenuMichael Crider / Digital Trends

There are a few other tricks. To quickly get to a Quick Access folder without using the mouse, click Alt + F to open the File menu. From here click on any number key to open the corresponding quick access folder one by one. You can also change the Folders view and use search options to easily pin or remove a folder.

Image tools

File Explorer also includes some basic photo tools, but they are hidden by default. Open a folder with photo files and click on one. A new yellow tab, Image Tools, appears above the Manage Ribbon tab. Click it and you'll have quick access to tools to rotate a photo left or right, start a slideshow with the default photo viewer, or set a photo as your desktop background.

File Explorer Image ToolsMichael Crider / Digital Trends


File Explorer, like most modern internet browsers, has a search bar. It's an integral part of Windows. However, if you use the search functionality in File Explorer itself, your search will be limited to the folder you currently have open (plus any files contained in folders within that folder).

File Explorer SearchMichael Crider / Digital Trends

This is especially useful when you have tens or even hundreds of files in a folder. Just start typing in the search bar and you'll see matching results. Certain file types, such as. Documents such as Word are also displayed if your search query matches the contents of the file. If you're not sure exactly where any of your search results are, right-click them and select "Open File Location" to immediately open the appropriate folder.

Clicking the search bar also opens the Search Tools area of ​​the ribbon interface (which is normally hidden). Here you can limit your search to the current folder, search for files or folders that were changed on a specific date, search by file size or type, and save certain searches for later access.

Unfortunately, File Explorer Search doesn't offer all of the functionality of a full Cortana search. For example, you cannot search for "Word documents December or later" (you can, but you will not get relevant results).

Useful keyboard shortcuts

There are dozen of keyboard shortcuts available in File Explorer, but here are some of the most useful:

  • Windows key + E. – Open a new instance of File Explorer from anywhere in Windows.
  • Alt + P. – Show or hide the preview window.
  • Alt + Shift + P. – Show or hide the details area.
  • Alt + left arrow key – Go back one folder in your history.
  • Alt + up arrow key – Go up a folder in the folder structure.
  • Ctrl + N. – Open a new file explorer window.
  • Ctrl + E. – Activate the search bar.
  • Ctrl + Shift + N. – Create a new folder in the current folder.
  • Ctrl + mouse wheel up or down – Increase or decrease the size of icons and thumbnails.

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