How to customize your folder options in Windows

In this tech tip, we’ll show you where and how you can customize your folder options.

  1. Go to Start and open up Control Panel.
  2. Select and open Folder Options.

    (If you’re viewing by “category” instead of “all items”, go to Appearance and Personalization > Folder Options.)

    The Folder Options window will open. There will be three tabs: General, View, and Search.


General Tab

Here you can choose from these options to change how you interact with folders and the navigation pane.

  • How to browse folders: should each folder open in the same window, or in a new window?
  • Click behavior: Do you want to open a folder using a single click or a double click?
  • Navigation pane: Do you want the Navigation Pane to show all folders? Do you want the Navigation Pane to always expand to the current folder you’re in?

The Navigation Pane is the left-hand sidebar when using Windows Explorer to navigate files and folders, as seen in the below screenshot.


View Tab

In the View Tab, you can customize what you see when looking at files and folders. Simply select a checkbox in the Advance settings list, and click the Apply button. Some options include:

  • Display file icon on thumbnails (checked by default)
  • Display file size information in folder tips (checked by default)
  • Hide extension for known file types (very handy to keep this turned off so that you can see file extensions)
  • Use checkboxes to select items (useful if you don’t want to use other methods of selecting multiple items, like holding down Ctrl or Shift)

There are many options here, and most of them you won’t need to work with unless you are doing advanced technical work on your machine.

If you make changes and want to undo them, you can use the Restore Defaults button.


Search Tab

And then there is the Search tab, which controls these options.

  • What to search: Should it search both file names and contents, or just file names depending on indexing?
  • How to search: Should subfolders be included in search? Partial matches? Natural language search? Should the index be used?
  • Searching non-indexed locations: Should system directories and/or compressed files be included?

This is probably for power users of search in Windows Explorer, but if you’re frustrated that search doesn’t seem to be looking inside your files, or in your subfolders, you can see what your settings are here and tweak them.


When you’re done making changes. . .

After you’ve made any changes on each tab, click the Apply button. Click OK to exit.

And that’s it! Now you know how to customize your file, folder, and search options to suit your preferences.