One of the most significant changes to Vista's interface isthe new look of the Windows Explorer file management tool. Explorer has undergonemuch more than just cosmetic changes.
It's now more intuitive and easier to usein many ways-although it may take a little getting used to for those who havebecome set in the ways of its Windows 2000/XP predecessors. In this article,we'll take a look at the new Explorer and how you can use it to make everydaytasks easier. Exploring the Explorer interfaceThe first thing you'll notice when you open the new Exploreris that it's a bit busier than the default XP Explorer window. As shown in FigureA, the left pane is now divided into two sections, and another toolbar appearsunder the Standard Buttons toolbar (Back, Forward, Up, Search, Folders, and View)that's displayed by default in XP.
This new toolbar, which offers Organize,Views, Share, and Burn buttons, can't be turned off. (You can opt to not displaythe Standard Buttons bar in XP.)Figure AThe default view of Explorer has a slightly busy look.Additional buttons appear on this toolbar depending on thetype of folder or file that's selected.
For instance, when a music file isselected, Play and Play All buttons appear. If a folder containing picturefiles is selected, Preview, SlideShow, Print, andE-mail buttons appear.There's also a section at the bottom that displays when thestatus bar isn't turned on. It shows the number of items in the selected folder-informationthat was part of the status bar in XP.Another difference is the way the file path is displayed inthe address bar. In XP, if you want to back up to a folder above the one you'rein, you can either click the Back button (sometimes repeatedly) or press Backspaceto erase the part of the folder structure below the one you want to go to. InVista, you simply click in the address bar on the folder you want to go to,regardless of where it is in the hierarchy. It's a small thing, but it makesnavigation a lot quicker.
That Favorite Links pane on the left side gives you aquick-click way to get to-your Documents, Pictures, and Music folders, recentlychanged files (including e-mail messages), and search folders. A number ofdefault search folders already populate this link, including.Attachments.Favorite Music.Fresh Tracks.Important E-mail.Last 7 Days E-mail.Last 30 Days Documents.Last 30 Days Pictures And Videos.Recently Changed (also directly accessible as aFavorite Link).Shared By Me files and folders.Unread E-mail.User's FilesSaved searchesIn addition to using the default searches, you can create andsave your own.
File Explorer on in Light App Mode showing and drives, with the ribbon minimizedIncluded withand laterReplaces,File Explorer, previously known as Windows Explorer, is a application that is included with releases of the from onwards. It provides a for accessing the. It is also the component of the operating system that presents many user interface items on the screen such as the. Controlling the computer is possible without Windows Explorer running (for example, the File Run command in Task Manager on NT-derived versions of Windows will function without it, as will commands typed in a command prompt window). Contents.Overview Windows Explorer was first included with as a replacement for, which came with all versions of operating systems.
Explorer could be accessed by double-clicking the new My Computer desktop icon, or launched from the new that replaced the earlier. There is also a shortcut key combination: + E. Successive versions of Windows (and in some cases, ) introduced new features and capabilities, removed other features, and generally progressed from being a simple file system navigation tool into a task-based file management system.While 'Windows Explorer' or 'File Explorer' is a term most commonly used to describe the file management aspect of the operating system, the Explorer process also houses the operating system's search functionality and File Type associations (based on ), and is responsible for displaying the, the, the, and the. Collectively, these features are known as the.After a user logs in, the explorer process is created by userinit process.
Userinit performs some initialization of the user environment (such as running the login script and applying group policies) and then looks in the registry at the Shell value and creates a process to run the system-defined shell – by default, Explorer.exe. Then Userinit exits. This is why Explorer.exe is shown by various process explorers with no parent – its parent has exited.History In 1995, first released test versions of a shell refresh, named the Shell Technology Preview, and often referred to informally as 'NewShell'. The update was designed to replace the Windows 3.x Program Manager/File Manager based shell with Windows Explorer.
The release provided capabilities quite similar to that of the Windows 'Chicago' ( for Windows 95) shell during its late beta phases, however was intended to be nothing more than a test release. There were two public releases of the Shell Technology Preview, made available to and users: 26 May 1995 and 8 August 1995. Both held Windows Explorer builds of 3.51.1053.1. The Shell Technology Preview program never saw a final release under NT 3.51. The integrated media player in Windows Explorer in playing a sequence on Media folder.The 'Web-style' folders view, with the left Explorer pane displaying details for the object currently selected, is turned on by default. For certain file types, such as pictures and media files, a preview is also displayed in the left pane.
The Windows 2000 Explorer featured an interactive media player as the previewer for sound and video files. However, such a previewer can be enabled in through the use of folder customization templates. Windows Explorer in Windows 2000 and Windows ME allows for custom thumbnail previewers and handlers. The default file tooltip displays file title, author, subject and comments; this metadata may be read from a special stream, if the file is on an NTFS volume, or from an stream, if the file is a structured storage document. All documents since make use of, so their metadata is displayable in the Windows 2000 Explorer default. Can also store comments which are displayed as a tooltip when the mouse hovers over the shortcut.The right-hand pane, which usually just lists files and folders, can also be customized. For example, the contents of the system folders aren't displayed by default, instead showing in the right pane a warning to the user that modifying the contents of the system folders could harm their computer.
It's possible to define additional Explorer panes by using elements in folder template files. This feature was abused by that employed malicious scripts, applets, or controls in folder template files as their infection vector. Two such viruses are VBS/Roor-C and VBS.Redlof.a.Other Explorer UI elements that can be customized include columns in 'Details' view, icon overlays, and search providers: the new DHTML-based search pane is integrated into Windows 2000 Explorer, unlike the separate search dialog found in all previous Explorer versions.Search capabilities were added, offering full-text searches of documents, with options to filter by date (including arbitrary ranges like 'modified within the last week'), size, and file type. The has also been integrated into the operating system and the search pane built into Explorer allows searching files indexed by its database. The ability to customize the standard buttons was also added.Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Windows Explorer in, showing All Users folder contents.There were significant changes made to Windows Explorer in, both visually and functionally. Microsoft focused especially on making Explorer more discoverable and task-based, as well as adding a number of features to reflect the growing use of a computer as a.Windows Explorer in contains all the same features as Windows XP, but the task panes and search companion are disabled by default.Task pane The task pane is displayed on the left-hand side of the window instead of the traditional folder tree view.
It presents the user with a list of common actions and destinations that are relevant to the current directory or file(s) selected. For instance, when in a directory containing mostly pictures, a set of 'Picture tasks' is shown, offering the options to display these pictures as a slide show, to print them out, or to go online to order prints. Conversely, a folder containing music files would offer options to play those files in a media player, or to go online to purchase music. Windows XP had a Media bar but it was removed with SP1. The Media Bar was only available with Windows XP RTM.Every folder also has 'File and Folder Tasks', offering options to create new folders, share a folder on the local network, publish files or folders to a web site, and other common tasks like copying, renaming, moving, and deleting files or folders. File types that have identified themselves as being printable also have an option listed to print the file.Underneath 'File and Folder Tasks' is 'Other Places', with links to other common locations such as 'My Computer', 'Control Panel', and 'My Documents'.
These also change depending on what folder the user was in, leading to some criticism of Microsoft for not being consistent in displaying navigation choices.Underneath 'Other Places' is a 'Details' pane which gives additional information – typically file size and date, but depending on the file type, a thumbnail preview, author, image dimensions, or other details.The 'Folders' button on the Windows Explorer toolbar toggles between the traditional tree view of folders, and the task pane. Users can get rid of the task pane or restore it using the sequence: Tools – Folder Options – General – Show Common Tasks/Use Windows Classic Folders.Search companion. Windows Explorer's default Search Companion, Rover inMicrosoft introduced animated 'Search Companions' in an attempt to make searching more engaging and friendly; the default character is a puppy named Rover (previously used in ), with three other characters (Merlin the magician, Earl the surfer, and Courtney) also available. These search companions use the same technology as 's, even incorporating 'tricks' and sound effects, and they can be used as Office Assistants if their files are copied into the C:Windowsmsagentchars folder.The search capability itself is fairly similar to Windows ME and Windows 2000, with one major addition: Search can also be instructed to search only files that are categorically 'Documents' or 'Pictures, music and video'; this feature is noteworthy largely because of how Windows determines what types of files can be classified under these categories. In order to maintain a relevant list of file types, Windows Explorer connects to Microsoft and downloads a set of XML files that define what these file types are. The Search Companion can be disabled in favor of the classic search pane used in Windows 2000 by using the applet from, or by manually editing the registry.Image handling.
Folder thumbnail preview icon onWindows XP improves image preview in Explorer by offering a Filmstrip view. 'Back' and 'Previous' buttons facilitate navigation through the pictures, and a pair of 'Rotate' buttons offer 90-degree clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation of images. Aside from the Filmstrip view mode, there is a 'Thumbnails' mode, which displays -sized images in the folder. A Folder containing images will also show thumbnails of four of the images from that folder overlaid on top of a large folder icon.Web publishing Web sites that offer image hosting services can be plugged into Windows Explorer, which the user can use to select images on their computer, and have them uploaded correctly without dealing with comparatively complex solutions involving FTP or web interfaces. Other changes.
Explorer gained the ability to understand the metadata of a number of types of files. Windows Explorer in, showing Public folder contents.
Search, organizing and metadata Windows Explorer includes significant changes from previous versions of Windows such as improved filtering, sorting, grouping and stacking. Combined with integrated desktop search, Windows Explorer allows users to find and organize their files in new ways, such as stacks. The new Stacks viewing mode groups files according to the criterion specified by the user. Stacks can be clicked to filter the files shown in Windows Explorer. There is also the ability to save searches as virtual folders or search folders. A search folder is simply an XML file, which stores the query in a form that can be used by the Windows search subsystem. When accessed, the search is executed and the results are aggregated and presented as a virtual folder.
Windows Vista includes six search folders by default: recent documents, recent e-mail, recent music, recent pictures and videos, recent changed, and 'Shared by Me'. When sorting items, the sort order no longer remains consistently Ascending or Descending. Each property has a preferred sort direction. For example, sort by date defaults to descending order, as does size.
But name and type default to ascending order.Searching for files containing a given text string became problematic with Vista unless the files have been indexed. An alternative is to use the findstr command-line function. After right-clicking on a folder one can open a command-line prompt in that folder.Windows Explorer also contains modifications in the visualization of files on a computer. A new addition to Windows Explorer in Vista and Server 2008 is the details pane, which displays metadata and information relating to the currently selected file or folder. The details pane will also display a thumbnail of the file or an icon of the filetype if the file does not contain visual information. Furthermore, different imagery is overlaid on thumbnails to give more information about the file, such as a picture frame around the thumbnail of an image file, or a filmstrip on a video file.
The details pane in and showing of an image.The details pane also allows for the change of some textual metadata such as author and title in files that support them within Windows Explorer. A new type of metadata called tags allows users to add descriptive terms to documents for easier categorization and retrieval. Some files support open metadata, allowing users to define new types of metadata for their files. Out-of-the-box, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 supports Microsoft Office documents and most audio and video files. Support for other file types can however be added by writing specialized software to retrieve the metadata at the shell's request. Metadata stored in a file's only on NTFS volumes cannot be viewed and edited through the summary tab of the file's properties anymore. Instead, all metadata is stored inside the file, so that it will always travel with the file and not be dependent on the file system.
Layout and icons Windows Explorer in and also introduces a new layout. The task panes from Windows XP are replaced with a toolbar on top and a navigation pane on the left.
The navigation pane contains commonly accessed folders and preconfigured search folders. Eight different views are available to view files and folders, including extra large, large, medium, small, list, details, tiles, and content. In addition, column headers now appear in all icon viewing modes, unlike Windows XP where they only appear in the details icon viewing mode. File and folder actions such as cut, copy, paste, undo, redo, delete, rename and properties are built into a dropdown menu which appears when the Organize button is clicked. It is also possible to change the layout of the Explorer window by using the Organize button.
Users can select whether to display classic menus, a search pane, a preview pane, a reading pane, and the navigation pane. The preview pane enables users to preview files (e.g., documents or media files) without opening them. If an application, such as, installs preview handlers for file types, then these files can also be edited within the preview pane itself.Windows Vista saw the introduction of the bar for easier navigation. As opposed to the prior address bar which displayed the current folder in a simple editable combobox, this new style structures the path into clickable levels of folder hierarchy (though falls back to the classic edit mode when blank area is clicked), enabling the user to skip as many levels as desired in one click rather than repeatedly clicking 'Up'. It is also possible to navigate to any subfolder of the current folder using the arrow to the right of the last item.
The menu bar is now hidden by default but reappears temporarily when the user presses Alt.Check boxes in Windows Explorer allow the selection of multiple files. Free and used space on all drives is shown in horizontal indicator bars. Icons of various sizes are supported: 16 x 16, 24 x 24, 32 x 32, 48 x 48, 64 x 64, 96 x 96, 128 x 128 and 256 x 256. Windows Explorer can zoom the icons in and out using a slider or by holding down the Ctrl key and using the mouse scrollwheel. Live icons can display the content of folders and files themselves rather than generic icons. Other changes With the release of Windows Vista and Server 2008 and for Windows XP, Internet Explorer is no longer integrated with Windows Explorer. In Windows Vista and Server 2008 (and in Windows XP as well if IE7 or 8 is installed), Windows Explorer no longer displays web pages, and IE7 does not support use as a file manager, although one will separately launch the other as necessary.When moving or copying files from one folder to another, if two files have the same name, an option is now available to rename the file; in previous versions of Windows, the user was prompted to choose either a replacement or cancel moving the file.
Also, when renaming a file, Explorer only highlights the filename without selecting the extension. Renaming multiple files is quicker as pressing Tab automatically renames the existing file or folder and opens the file name text field for the next file for renaming.
Shift+Tab allow renaming in the same manner upwards.Support for burning data on DVDs (DVD±R, DVD±R DL, DVD±R RW) in addition to CDs and DVD-RAM using version 2.0 of the was added.In case a file is in use by another application, Windows Explorer informs users to close the application and retry the file operation. Also, a new interface IFileIsInUse is introduced into the API which developers can use to let other applications switch to the main window of the application that has the file open or simply close the file from the 'File in Use' dialog. If the running application exposes these operations by means of the IFileInUse interface, Windows Explorer, upon encountering a locked file, allows the user to close the file or switch to the application from the dialog box itself. Removed and changed features.
See also:The ability to customize the layout and buttons on the toolbars has been removed in Windows Vista's Explorer, as has the ability to add a password to a file (compressed folder). The Toolbar button in Explorer to go up one folder from the current folder has been removed (the function still exists however, one can move up a folder by pressing Alt + ↑). Although still fully available from the menus and keyboard shortcuts, toolbar buttons for Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, Delete, Properties and some others are no longer available. The Menu Bar is also hidden by default, but is still available by pressing the Alt key, or changing its visibility in the layout options. Windows Explorer in, showing Libraries. Libraries Windows Explorer in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 supports libraries, described in a.library-ms file that aggregates content from various locations – including shared folders on networked systems if the shared folder has been indexed by the host system – and present them in a unified view.
Searching in a library automatically federates the query to the remote systems, in addition to searching on the local system, so that files on the remote systems are also searched. Unlike search folders, Libraries are backed by a physical location which allows files to be saved in the libraries. Such files are transparently saved in the backing physical folder. The default save location for a library may be configured by the user, as can the default view layout for each library. Libraries are generally stored in the libraries special folder, which allows them to be displayed on the navigation pane.By default, a new user account in Windows 7 contains four libraries, for different file types: Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. They are configured to include the user's profile folders for these respective file types, as well as the computer's corresponding Public folders.In addition to aggregating multiple storage locations, Libraries enable Arrangement Views and Search Filter Suggestions.
Arrangement Views allow users to pivot their views of the library's contents based on metadata. For example, selecting the 'By Month' view in the Pictures library will display photos in stacks, where each stack represents a month of photos based on the date they were taken. In the Music library, the 'By Artist' view will display stacks of albums from the artists in their collections, and browsing into an artist stack will then display the relevant albums.Search Filter Suggestions are a new feature of the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Explorer's search box. When the user clicks in the search box, a menu shows up below it showing recent searches as well as suggested filters that the user can type.
When one is selected (or typed in manually), the menu will update to show the possible values to filter by for that property, and this list is based on the current location and other parts of the query already typed. For example, selecting the 'tags' filter or typing 'tags:' into the search box will display the list of possible tag values which will return search results.The written within the file, implemented in Vista, is also utilized in Windows 7. This can sometimes lead to long wait times displaying the contents of a folder. For example, if a folder contains many large video files totaling hundreds of gigabytes, and the Window Explorer pane is in Details view mode showing a property contained within the metadata (for example Date, Length, Frame Height), Windows Explorer might have to search the contents of the whole file for the meta data.
Some damaged files can cause a prolonged delay as well. This is due to metadata information being able to be placed anywhere within the file, beginning, middle, or end, necessitating a search of the whole file. Lengthy delays also occur when displaying the contents of a folder with many different types of program icons. The icon is contained in the metadata. Some programs cause the activation of a virus scan when retrieving the icon information from the metadata, hence producing a lengthy delay.Arrangement Views and Search Filter Suggestions are database-backed features which require that all locations in the Library be indexed by the Windows Search service.
Local disk locations must be indexed by the local indexer, and Windows Explorer will automatically add locations to the indexing scope when they are included in a library. Remote locations can be indexed by the indexer on another Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 machine, on a Windows machine running (such as Windows Vista or Windows Home Server), or on another device that implements the MS-WSP remote query protocol. Federated search Windows Explorer also supports federating search to external data sources, such as custom databases or web services, that are exposed over the web and described via an definition. The federated location description (called a Search Connector) is provided as a.osdx file.
Once installed, the data source becomes queryable directly from Windows Explorer. The new File Explorer with ribbon in.The file manager on and is renamed File Explorer and introduces new features such as a redesigned interface incorporating a, and a redesigned file operation dialog that displays more detailed progress and allows for file operations to be paused and resumed. The details pane from Windows Vista and 7 was removed and replaced with a narrower pane with no icons and fewer detail columns. But other details are displayed by hovering over the file's name. Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 The icons in File Explorer have been redesigned. They are flatter and simpler in design. The window border padding is thinner than previous versions.
Windows 10 Creators Update and later versions come with a new Universal File Explorer (also known as the UWP File Explorer). Although hidden, it can be opened by creating a shortcut pointing to 'explorer shell:AppsFolderc5e2524a-ea46-4f67-841f-6a9465d9d515cw5n1h2txyewy!App' Windows 10, version 1809 and Windows Server 2019 A 'dark mode' has been added to File Explorer in Windows 10, version 1809. The Universal File Explorer also includes new features. Windows 10, version 1909 and have been integrated into File Explorer's search feature in Windows 10, version 1909.
Extensibility File Explorer can be extended to support non-default functionality by means of Windows shell extensions, which are objects that plug the extended functionality into Windows Explorer. Shell extensions can be in the form of shell extension handlers, toolbars or even namespace extensions that allow certain folders (or even non-filesystem objects such as the images scanned by a scanner) to be presented as a.
File Explorer also allows for files to be added as, separate from the data stream for the file.Shell extension handlers are queried by the shell beforehand for modifying the action the shell takes. They can be associated on a per file type – where they will show up only when a particular action takes place on a particular file type – or on a global basis – which are always available. The shell supports the following extension handlers:HandlerDescriptionCan be implemented onRequired shell versionContext menu handlerAdds menu items to the context menu. It is called before the context menu is displayed.Per file typeand later.
Windows 7 introducedDrag-and-drop handlerControls the action upon right-click drag and drop and modifies the context menu that appears.GlobalWindows 95 and laterDrop target handlerControls the action after a data object is dragged and dropped over a drop target such as a file.Per file typeWindows 95 and laterData object handlerControls the action after a file is copied to the clipboard or dragged and dropped over a drop target. It can provide additional clipboard formats to the drop target.Per file typeWindows 95 and laterIcon handlerAssigns a custom icon to an individual file amongst a class of file types. Retrieved 19 June 2018. John D. Ruley (September 1995). How-To Columns.
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