Best Windows File Explorer Tricks and Tweaks


Rename Multiple Files

You probably already know how to rename individual files, but did you know that the process is very similar to batch rename a group of files?

First, select the files you want to rename. You can hold down Ctrl and left-click to select specific files or press Ctrl + A to select all in the folder. Right-click the file you want first in the sequence (this process appends numbers to the end of the file) and click Rename.

Input whatever name you want all the files to have and press Enter. File Explorer will now rename all the selected files in numerical order.

Delete File Browsing History

By default, File Explorer will keep a record of all the recent files you’ve opened as well as your recent searches. It’s good to quickly return to something, but perhaps you want to clear the history or turn this feature off entirely.

To begin, open File Explorer and click File > Change folder and search options. On the General tab and beneath the Privacy section, click Clear to remove all your File Explorer history.

If you want to disable the history, uncheck either or both Show recently used files in Quick access and Show frequently used folders in Quick access. Then click OK.

Disable Adverts

As if there weren’t enough adverts everywhere else, Microsoft has recently started displaying adverts in File Explorer to flog some of their products like an Office 365 subscription. You can close these individually by pressing the X in the top right corner, but let’s stop them from ever appearing.

Open File Explorer and click File > Change folder and search options. Switch to the View tab. Scroll down and uncheck Show sync provider notifications. Then click OK.

Open File Explorer on This PC

File Explorer opens on the Quick Access page by default. If you’ve got no use for this then you can switch it to open on This PC instead.

Open File Explorer and go to File > Change folder and search options. On the Open File Explorer to drop down, change this to This PC. Then click OK.

Show Recycle Bin and Control Panel in Sidebar

The navigation pane appears on the left-hand side of File Explorer and lets you move between things like Quick Access and This PC. By default, this list doesn’t include the Recycle Bin or Control Panel, but it’s very easy to add them in.

Simply right-click an empty space on the navigation pane and click Show all folders.

You’ll notice that, apart from Quick access, Desktop is now the only top level folder, with things like This PC and Network now branching off it, along with the addition of the Recycle Bin and Control Panel

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

If there’s one way to quickly become a power Windows user, it’s keyboard shortcuts for File Explorer. Once you master these you’ll wonder why you ever wasted your time clicking. Here is a selection of some of the most common:

  • Windows key + E opens File Explorer
  • Ctrl + N opens a new File Explorer window of the same folder.
  • Ctrl + W closes the window.
  • Ctrl + D selects the address bar.
  • Ctrl + F selects the search box.
  • Ctrl + Shift + N creates a folder.
  • Alt + Up goes up a folder level.
  • Alt + Right/Left goes forward or back.

Speedily Rotate Pictures

If you’ve got pictures on your computer that you want to rotate, you can easily do this inside File Explorer. This works on individual pictures or in bulk, so either left-click the picture or select the specific range.

In the ribbon go to Manage and click either Rotate left or Rotate right. Done! While you’re here, you can also choose to enter a Slide show or Set as background.

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