The Trouble-Free PC

Explorer Enhancements

Find Folders Fast

The last time Microsoft bothered with a significant redesign of the Windows Explorer interface, the O.J. Simpson trial was in full swing. Whisk Explorer into the 21st century with Direct Folders, a compact utility that helps you jump to frequently used or otherwise important folders by using History and Filter icons arrayed along each Explorer program bar. Every program window also gets a roll-up icon: Click it, and the active window "rolls up" into its application bar, leaving only a thin, horizontal bar on the desktop. We experienced a few interface shortcomings in the Save and Open dialog boxes, and the roll-up feature failed to work with our Office 2003 applications, but those minor glitches don't outweigh the welcome convenience of this little utility. $20

Use Shortcuts to Access Folders

Folder View allows you to access nested folders quickly.
Folder View allows you to access nested folders quickly.
Folder View helps you get to any directory fast--no matter how deeply buried--by adding useful shortcuts to Windows Explorer. Instead of trudging through tedious folder trees, you can click an icon and breeze through a fly-out menu selection of folders such as My Documents or other recently accessed folders. File Open and Save dialog boxes display the most recently accessed folders along the middle edge, while another icon offers one-click access to key locations. The Toolbar feature--which plops folder icons into the space below the Explorer icon bar--can be both clumsy and space consuming. Fortunately, you can turn it off. Free

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