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Welcome to Microsoft Windows 10 Tips & Tricks

10 Best Windows 10 File Explorer Tips & Tricks


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The File Explorer is the default file browser in Windows operating system. The File Browser has remained mostly unchanged in the latest Windows 10 as well.

We all use the File Explorer every day, but many of us don’t know some of the hidden or lesser-known features of the File Explorer.

In this article, we will share the ten useful tips and tricks for the File Explorer in Windows 10. In no particular order, following are the ten useful tips and tricks for Windows 10 File Explorer. Some of these tips will work for earlier versions of Windows as well.

Open File Explorer to This PC

Not everyone wants to see recently used files and frequently opened folders upon opening the File Explorer. Although you can quickly navigate to This PC from the Quick Access, it makes sense to configure the File Explorer to open to This PC if you don’t use the Quick Access that often.

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Refer to our how to open the File Explorer to This PC guide for directions.

Quickly show or hide the ribbon

The File Explorer uses ribbon in Windows 10. If you are running Windows 10 on a PC with a relatively small screen, you might want to hide the File Explorer ribbon to see more files and folders.

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While there is an arrow icon in the File Explorer to show or hide the ribbon, we recommend you use the Ctrl + F1 hotkey to show/hide the File Explorer ribbon quickly.

Access hidden context menu options

When you right-click on a file or folder in File Explorer, you get the context menu (right-click menu) with many options, but not all options are visible. To view all options in the context menu, hold down the Shift key and then perform a right-click on a file/folder.

For instance, the Copy as path option is hidden by default.

Use the address bar to navigate quickly

If you know the path to a file or folder, you can simply type the path to the file or folder in the File Explorer address bar to quickly navigate to it. If you have copied the path, simply paste it in the File Explorer address bar and then hit the Enter key to navigate to the location quickly.

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Open websites from File Explorer address bar

Not many users are aware of this feature of the File Explorer address bar. You can simply type the URL of a website and then hit the Enter key to open the website in your default web browser. For instance, if you type Google.com in the address bar and then press Enter, Google.com will be opened in your default web browser.

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Rotate images right from File Explorer

You don’t need to open a picture file with the Photos app and then rotate it. In Windows 10, you can change the orientation of a photo from within the File Explorer.

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To rotate a picture, select it, click the Picture Tools tab (the Pictures Tools tab won’t appear unless you have selected a photo) and then click either Rotate left or Rotate right icon.

The hidden way to close a File Explorer window

You know that you can close a File Explorer window by either clicking the close button (located top right) or using the Alt + F4 hotkey. Did you know you can close a File Explorer window with a double-click?

Yes, you can close a File Explorer window by simply double-clicking on the File Explorer icon located at the top left of the toolbar (refer the picture below). You can use this trick to close classic desktop applications as well.

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Hold down the Ctrl key to copy instead of move

With default settings, when you drag a file from one folder to another folder, the file is moved to the new location. If you would rather like to copy a file from one location to another by dragging it, hold down the Ctrl key while dragging it to copy the file instead of moving it.

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Enable thumbnails for all file types

The File Explorer in Windows 10 supports the thumbnail view for many file types. That said, the File Explorer doesn’t show thumbnails for some file types. For instance, it doesn’t support the thumbnail view for PDF files.

You can enable the thumbnail view for most popular file types by installing free software. Refer to our how to enable thumbnails for common video/audio file types and enable thumbnail for PDF files guide for directions.

Quickly preview photos and documents

You don’t need to open a photo or document with an application to view it. When you are in File Explorer, select a photo or supported document (like Office and text files) and then hit the Alt + P to preview the file right within the File Explorer. The feature is very useful, especially when you are not using the thumbnail view for files.

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Use these keyboard shortcuts

You probably know the basic keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V. In addition to these keyboard shortcuts, there are a few more you should memorize to make the best of File Explorer.

Ctrl + Shift + N – New folder

Alt + up/left/right arrow – to navigate to up, backward and forward

Alt + Enter – open file or folder properties

Shift + Delete – permanently delete files

Shift + F10 – open the context menu

If the File Explorer opening slowly, refer to the directions in our fix to File Explorer opening slowly in Windows 10 article.



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