RAW Computing

Customise Explorer's toolbar in Windows 7 and Vista

Open an Explorer window in any recent version of Windows and there is a toolbar containing several text items. This changes depending on what you are viewing, so if you open your Music folder you will see Organize, Share with, Play all, Burn and New folder. Select a music file and the toolbar changes. Now there is a Play item. Go to your Pictures folder and there are Slide show and Burn items in the toolbar. Select a photos and there is a Preview item. These menus are stored in the registry and you can easily modify them and perhaps customise them to make them easier to use.

Click Start and enter regedit into the search box. This will run the regsitry editor. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Explorer \FolderTypes and expand FolderTypes. Below are some strangely named registry keys, such as {0b2baaeb-0042-4dca-aa4d-3ee8648d03e5}. Select each one and look on the right at the value called CanonicalName. This tells you which folder it applies to.

In the case of {0b2baaeb-0042-4dca-aa4d-3ee8648d03e5}, it says Pictures.Library. Expand this key and below are TasksItemsSelected and TaskNoItemsSelected. These are the two toolbars you get when you open the Pictures folder and either select one or more pictures or not.

Select TasksItemsSelected and there is a single (default) value. Double click it and the value data is Windows.slideshow;Windows.print;Windows.email;Windows.burn;Windows.CscWorkOfflineOnline. You can see some (but not all) of the menus in the toolbar. If you deleted Windows.slideshow; for example, then this would no longer appear in the toolbar as an option. If you moved it like this: Windows.print;Windows.email;Windows.burn;Windows.slideshow;Windows.CscWorkOfflineOnline, placing it after Windows.burn then that's where it will appear in the toolbar.

Now you know how the menus are created, you can rearrange items, change their order or add new menus to windows that don't have them.

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