Three cool ways to tweak File Explorer in Windows 8

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Microsoft may have bungled a few things with Windows 8 (snark reply: "Just a few?!"), but File Explorer isn't one of them.

For one thing, the file manager finally earned a home on the Taskbar (even if you have to switch to the desktop to find it). Even better, Microsoft endowed it with the now-familiar Ribbon interface, making for much easier navigation of your files (and Explorer itself).

However, I think it could be even better with a little tweaking. Here are three simple changes you can make to improve the File Explorer experience:

1. Customize the Quick Access Toolbar. See those tiny icons in the upper-left corner of the File Explorer window? Click the even tinier arrow next to them for a list of additional functions you can enable. Why add, say, a Delete icon when Explorer already has one? Because the latter appears only when you're viewing the Home tab. Put it on the Toolbar, however, and it's always just a click away.

2. Show all your folders. In an effort to keep things compact, Explorer shows an abbreviated list of your folders in the lefthand navigation pane. I'd rather see everything, which is possible by clicking the View tab, then the Navigation pane icon. Now simply click Show all folders.

3. Improve your view. I find that very few users ever monkey with Explorer's default view for files, even though it's often very valuable to do so. Thankfully, Explorer now gives you a preview of what each view will look like, a huge boon to users who might get confused by a sudden change. Just click the View tab, then mouse over the various options in the Layout section: Extra large icons, List, Details, etc. In the file area you'll immediately see how that view would look. Like what you see? Click the setting to implement it.

Have you found any other ways to fiddle with File Explorer and make it better? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.comSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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