Windows Explorer Tips & Tricks

Windows Vista introduced a big number of changes to many applications, including Windows Explorer. In this article I will show you a few cool trips & tricks that can help when working with a large number of files. If you know other useful tips and tricks don’t hesitate to share it with us in a comment.

How to customize the details columns

When browsing through your files, Windows Explorer shows different columns with details depending on the content of each folder your open. There are cases when the details shown in each of the columns are not very relevant. In such scenarios you can easily customize the information shown.

To do this, right click anywhere on the bar that contains the columns with details. You will see a menu with a predefined set of fields with details. Check the details that interest you by clicking on them. If you want to see other details not included in this list, click on More.

Windows Explorer

Check the details that interest you and then click on OK. Here you can also change the order in which they are shown. Select one item from the details list and then click on Move Up or Move Down until it reaches the desired position.

Windows Explorer

Now, Windows Explorer will show columns containing only the details which you selected.

How to stack items

One of the cool things that you can do in Windows Explorer is to stack files by different criteria. For example, I find it useful to stack files by type. To do this, click on the small arrow from the right of the Type column and then click on Stack by Type.

Windows Explorer

Now you will see all the files in stacks ordered by type. The bigger the stack, the bigger the number of files of that type. When you open a stack Windows Explorer will show only the files of that type.

Windows Explorer

As I said before, you can stack files by any criteria: name, file size, rating, etc.

How to group items

In Windows Explorer you can also group items by any criteria: file name, type, size, etc. For this example we grouped the files in a folder by Name. To do it, click on the small arrow from the right of the Name column and then select Group.

Windows Explorer

As you can see in the screenshot below, all the files are now grouped according to their name. This can help you identify files quicker.

Windows Explorer

Related articles:

Enable the “Copy To Folder” and “Move To Folder” options in your right click menu
Folder Options
How to use the Send To menu and how to customize it

8 thoughts on “Windows Explorer Tips & Tricks”

  1. Little better Explorer
    Well, all this improvements in Explorer are welcome, and makes easier handling files, but I can’t understand why it is so difficult to implement dual view like every most ordinary free file manager that exists. It would make explorer one of the best free file managers that is already implemented in OS, and loto of people would never have need for anything else. That’s just my opinion.

  2. Nice post
    I love this little tutorial of yours. I am very envious and ashamed since i didnt know some of the tricks you reported here. Anyway good job and thanks for sharing. I will keep an eye on this blog of yours. greets!

  3. I’ve tried the sorting
    I’ve tried the sorting before and have found that it works fine when I do it – but when I close out the folder and then go back in later – it goes back to the default…..very frustrating.

  4. customizing windows explorer header fields
    Does anyone know if new fields can be added by the user? I have folder for 500+ companies in various industries. Often, I need to find all companies in a given industry. We recently set up a new folder by industry that contains shortcust to the respective companies in the Companies folder. If I can add a customized fields, then I can sort by the Industry instead os using the Industry folder populated with shortcust.

  5. Vista – Renaming pictures – problem with date/time stamp
    When I select a bunch of pictures in Windows Explorer to rename with the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc after them – they do not take into account the date/time taken. For example, I’m expecting the first picture taken a week ago to be named ‘Pat (1)’ and the 9th picture taken yesterday to be named ‘Pat (9)’ . This is how it’s always worked in prior Windows operating systems, including WIndows XP. Does anyone know how to fix this? I take a lot of photos and it’s very time consuming to fix these renames. Appreciate ANY help …. thanks

  6. i am very confused by the
    i am very confused by the sorting criteria. Sometimes it seem if I select say 20 pictures and give them a common name, say “beach trip”, at first it names them beach trip, then beach trip (1), beach trip (2) in the order they appear, left to right then down ending with “beach trip (19). But sometimes when I sort them by name, “beach trip” will be after “beach trip (19). Sometimes beach trip (11) through (19) will come after (1) then (2) will come after those. How do I set it so it is organized in normal order?

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