10 Things - Windows Explorer Has a New Preview Pane

10 Things - Windows Explorer Has a New Preview Pane

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Happy Friday the 13th!

Continuing in the vein of maximizing your Windows Vista experience via little-known pointers:  Although you've probably already noticed Internet Explorer's Quick Tabs and Preview Pane, you may not be aware that Windows Explorer also has its own Preview Pane that extends beyond the live icons you may have noticed when navigating folders in Windows Explorer.  Different than Windows XP's individual menus, toolbars, Navigation Pane and Task Panes, Windows Vista has merged them all into a single interface -- take a look:

The Windows Explorer Preview Pane lets you preview the contents of all media or documents in a file without opening the individual file itself.  The Document Explorer, Music Explorer and Picture Explorer all provide an optional Preview Pane.

If a program supports this feature (such as Office 2007), you'll be able to browse views of various docs or a couple of seconds of media content without even opening the file.  And you can edit those docs without opening the file!  Imagine being able to quickly run through all those PowerPoint presentations you have stored in your Documents folder and determining the exact one you want without opening each file to find out which is which.  Talk about boosting your productivity!

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  • Batfish
    1 Posts

    I seem to be having problems with Windows Explorer not refreshing thumbnails of previous images which no longer exist. First I thought it was a glitch with the camera, but it worked fine on another computer, and I hoped it would be resolved with Windows Photo Gallery, but it wasn't. The thumbnail was still an old image, but when I opened it, up came the new image. Perhaps I'm missing something obvious, but I've tried lots of things to no avail...

  • sdanner
    1 Posts

    Question for you: I'm in Windows Picture Explorer. I have my documents set to open with Windows Photo Gallery. I have the Preview Panel enabled, however all I see is a preview of the Windows Photo Gallery icon, not the picture. This is happening on two Windows Vista Toshiba laptops. What am I doing wrong? Thanks!

  • Zoltan
    24 Posts

    I use Windows Explorer very offten with XP. I'm looking forward to use the new Wista WE. It looks wonderful!

  • shollomon
    33 Posts

    [quote]there is no way to alter the breadcrumb toolbar to display the file/directory path instead.[quote]

    Bummer.  I've already started looking for a replacement for explorer as a file manager.

    MS has always been about interface configurability and choices, but not so much any more.  Little things like this (and this is a very little thing to be sure), the totally unconfigurable tool bar in office and the inability to configure the IE interface have me wondering what happened.  Have you guys been channeling the guys in Cupertino?  What's next, will Explorer not let us type in paths at all like finder.

    The bottom line is that Vista and the current incarnation of Office are substantially less malleable tools than their predecessors, its their way or the highway, that's not good for users.

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey shollomon:  you've actually identified the answer yourself.  In other words, there is no way to alter the breadcrumb toolbar to display the file/directory path instead.

  • shollomon
    33 Posts

    Does anybody know if there is a way to turn off the breadcrumb feature in explorer?  While others like it, I find it annoying and would just like to see the full path to the current location.  I know that happens when I click on or hover over the breadcrumbs, but I'd like the breadcrumbs off.

  • fropuff
    1 Posts

    Nice feature but... It's way too hard to turn on and off. Give me a toolbar button to turn it on/off (or a context menu option). Why isn't there a little X in the corner to close it? It would also be nice if folders could remember whether the preview pane is visible or not. Similar comments apply to the Navigation Pane and Details Pane.

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey everyone:  thanks for your comments and suggestions on UI enhancements -- I'm sharing them with the shell/UI team for their consideration.

  • hi ;

    i am try gif format ....Still not support animated GIF !!!!

  • To The MAZZTer,

    Thanks! I do notice there is a folder named WINDOWS under \user\myname folder, though i cannot see any file in it except a subfolder named system. I believe your #2 point is the answer to my question, thanks!

  • Bring back the file types tab under folder options too! The existing file association modifier doesn't allow for customization, only changing the program associated with a file.

  • Still not support animated GIF huh.

  • modicr
    1 Posts


    AFAIK it is bot possible to put menu on top of the window in Windows Explorer (OTOH, this is possible in IE7: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,16040352 ). Will it be possible in Vista SP1?

    Thanks, Roman

  • shollomon
    33 Posts

    I am delighted at the near universal response here that IE7 lacks sufficient customization options.  My $.02 are as follows:

    1)  Bring back the ability to put icons on the explorer bar, make the file menu fully customizable etc.

    2)  Make the tab bar be just a tab bar and give us the option to have it visible only when multiple tabs are open.

    3)  Give us the ability to accept self signed certificates permanently and easily, like Firefox does.

    IE is almost as good as Firefox after IEPro addins are installed so that it has things like an ad blocker.  But its lack of configurability and no easy way to accept sefl signed certificates keep me using Firefox.  If I really need IE (seldom) I use the Firefox plugin IE Tab to display a page using the IE engine in the Firefox framework.  Works great.

  • I agree with "someone" Internet Explorer 7 is not customizable enough, so me and my wife are staying with IE6 for now.  Ironically Firefox is so customizable that you can make the latest version look almost identical to Internet Explorer 6 or 7.

    IE is still my browser of choice, but it does need to be more cutomizable before I will upgrade.... or a killer app that requires IE7 will have to come out.

  • Thanks for that. Not very intuitive though !

  • Turning this on and off is just that bit too hard; it's Organise > Layout ? Preview pane and that's a pain to select. There are some folders I just don't want this on for and Vista doesn't seem to remember the settting on a per folder basis. Please can we have an icon for the toolbar that we can add to turn it on and off - like the panning hand. The preview is also very slow as the system builds the thumbnail for anything other than pictures. An excellent but v1 feature.

  • BillD
    15 Posts

    mikestre, it's on the toolbar:

    Organize -> Layout


  • I don't see any menu option in Windows Explorer which offers a preview.

  • Neil: The "feature" which made your day miserable is called File and Registry Virtualization.


  • Neil: Normal users cannot write to C:\Windows.  I believe when you moved PHP.INI there you did so as an elevated Administrator.  But when you edited the file, you did so as a user, and so either:

    1) the file was not properly saved and the changes were discarded

    2) the file was saved in your Users folder (search for the WINDOWS folder in there) so that the changes would be visible to you, but not to other users including the one IIS7 and PHP were running as.  It's a new Vista "feature" to allow for legacy apps which try to write to now-protected locations.

    I'm guessing it was #2.

  • I got a question related to VISTA search thing, wonder if anyone can help me, Also, I know this is not QnA place, so, if it's not appropriate, you can delete it.

    Here is the problem I have:

    I am using Windows VISTA Home Premium on my laptop, want to install PHP on IIS7 recently, so I login as a normal user, installed PHP 5.2.3 under C:\php, copy the php.ini file into C:\Windows and delete any other copy. Start IIS7 and everything look good.

    Here is the real problem, when I use Ultraedit to edit the PHP.ini file and save it, restart IIS, nothing seems changed. The PHP still using old configuration. I use instant search, type php.ini, there are actually two php.ini listed, one is under Programs, and the other is listed under Files, I right click on the one listed under Programs, use Notepad to open it, now the wired thing is Notepad shows the old content of php.ini! I change it again and try to save it, notepad prompt me c:\windows\php.ini cannot be created.

    So, I did this several times, everytime, Ultraedit shows the new contents and notepad always show the old content.

    I finally solved this issue by run ultraedit as Administrator, this time, ultraedit showed the old content, and I can change and save it.

    I wonder if anyone can help me figure it out what really happened, thanks!

  • someone
    156 Posts

    So many users seem to want back the toolbar customization ability back in Windows Explorer and IE. Please MS, have you considered adding full toolbar customizability (custom buttons and reordering them, reordering toolbar placement/layout, locking and unlocking toolbars?)

  • Chiong
    5 Posts

    How can we add the support of other file formats such as .ini file and .inf file?