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Windows / Getting Back the Folders Sidebar

< Microsoft Office Tips and Tricks | Working With Windows | Customizing Your Open Files Places Bar >

Getting Back the Folders Sidebar

WinXP, in order to protect itself from its users, tries to hide much of the geeky stuff by default. I suppose this is “a good thing”, but it is often extremely annoying to us geeks. One of those types of annoyances occurs with the default settings for Explorer.

Defaultly, when you click on My Computer you get an Explorer view with a bunch of “useful” things to do in the left column. Usually, none of them are useful for what I’m doing at the moment, which is slogging through the file system.

Default Explorer View

Of course, all I had to do was click the Folders button in the Toolbar. Every blessed time I clicked on My Computer, I also had to click on the Folders button.

I searched google… and searched… and searched. Google simply was not understanding what I was really looking for. All sorts of different sidebars, adware advice, etc. Everything but a direct answer to what I thought was a simple question. Others had even asked the simple question in forums/groups and google dutifully took me to their question… which either remained unanswered or the answers in the thread actually related to a different thread.

Finally, I found the answer buried in this thread. That answer is expounded upon here, so that I can remember it for next time (because I know I already found this out once before but still don’t remember ever knowing this answer) and in case it proves useful for someone else googling this problem.


Go to Control Panel and open up Folder Options.

Folder Options

Click on the File Types tab and click on the Folder entry in the File Types column.

Select Folder File Type

Now click on the Advanced button. On the Edit File Type popup, select explore in the Actions list.

Select explore Action

Click on the Set Default button and OK your way out of there.

The next time you click on My Computer, the Folders button will already be selected for you!

Explorer with Folder Sidebar

< Microsoft Office Tips and Tricks | Working With Windows | Customizing Your Open Files Places Bar >


The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

Ayn Rand

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