Windows 8 FAQ

Windows Explorer

1. How do I get the size of a Folder?

There are two ways:
Open the Properties of the Folder and it will display the Size (sum of files sizes) and Size on Disk (the difference is that the Size on Disk
is the number of clusters x cluster size).

You can also get the size, by hovering the mouse over the folder in question, and an information box (infotip) will appear with the approximate
size of the folder and a small list of subfolders and files in it.

2. How do I view properties of files?

You can right click the file, and select Properties or hover the mouse over the file in question and an information box will appear, you can also view file properties on the Status bar at the bottom of the window.

3. How do I get a list of disks and folders in Explorer?

Explorer lists folders and disks on the left hand side for you. I shows some Favourite or common folders at the top left. You can change the layout via Organise, Layout and the view from the Views menus.

4. Why are some folder names are shown in blue?

These folders are compressed. For example, some folders under windows such a hotfix files are compressed. To compress or uncompress a folder, select the properties of the folder and click Advanced and tick or untick option to 'Compress contents to save disk space'.

5. Can I add items and programs to the right click pop up menu?

Some items are added via the Registry and is not easy to change. You can add program shortcuts to the Send To menu. You can do this via the C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\SendTo folder in your profile.

6. How do I change the Desktop background in Windows 8?

Windows 8 now uses Themes and normal Desktop backdrops which can also be changed every few minutes like a slideshow. Click on Desktop icon on Start menu and then right click the desktop and click on Personalize to change the background.

If you have a picture saved in My Documents My Pictures then you can right click it and select Set as desktop background.

Alternatively, you can change the backgroup picture in the registry at HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Desktop\General and set the WallpaperSource value to the path of the picture to use.

7. When I open Task Manager, the tabs and menus are gone. How do I get them back?

To switch Task Manager to its typical display mode, double-click the top border of the window. If Task Manager is disabled, you can re-enable it using gpedit.msc in User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Task Scheduler.

8. How do I add the classic Start menu to the desktop?

There are several third party addons including: Vista Start Menu, StockDock menu, Start Menu 7, Vistart and Classic Shell.

New In Windows 8.1 you can now enable the Start Button at the bottom left. This doesn't give a Start Menu but a different way to access all the program icons or short cuts to your favourite programs. In the Start Menu and Taskbar Properties you can now configure the following options in the Navigation tab:

a) When I sign in or close all applications on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start.
b) Show my desktop background on Start.
c) Show Start on the display I'm using when I press the Windows logo key.
d) Show the apps view automatically, when I go to Start.
e) List desktop apps first in the apps view when it's sorted by category.

9. How do I configure specific desktop and other settings for all users?

If you have Professional or Enterprise edition, you can do this via Local/Group Policies using gpedit.msc which will allow you to configure settings for each machine (if your machine is in a Domain then use Active Directory Users and Computers to configure Group Policy). See User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Desktop.

10. How do I change the size of the Icons on the desktop?

Right click the desktop and select View and you can select Large Icons, Medium Icons or Classic (small) Icons.

11. How do I get rid of the large arrow on the shortcuts on the desktop?

Open Regedit and browse to HKEY_Classes_Root\lnkfile and set IsShortcut to nothing or blank.

12. How do I switch between programs in Windows 8?

There are several ways. You can select the minimised window in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, you can press Alt+Tab to switch between windows. You can also load Task Manager and select the program in the Application tab and select Switch to.

13. How do I add shortcuts to the 'Send to' menu?

Just create the shortcut in the following location in your profile: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo.

14. How do I add programs to the Explorer context menu?

a) Open Regedit
b) Browse to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shell (for folders, for Drives use \Drive, for files use \* or \Unknown or a specific file type).
c) Create a new Key will the name of your choice and on the right side set the (Default) to the name to appear on the menu.
d) Create a new Key called command.
e) For context menu to deal with files, set the right side to the path of your command and optionally set the parameter to "%1"

15. How do I redirect my Pictures, Music and Documents folders to another drive and folder?

To redirect Documents folder, open C:\Users\<username> folder, locate the documents folder, right click it and select Properties. Click on the Location tab and now enter a new folder path to place your documents, click on Move to move existing documents to the new location. Most other folders can be re-located in the same way.

16. How can I delete or move certain files. I keep getting access denied message?

Some files and folders are protected by Windows to prevent accidental deletion or moving. The files are protected by the TrustedInstaller service and the Windows File Protection system. To get around this you can either:
a) Gain ownership of the files or folders. Open properties of the file/folder, select Security, Advanced, Owner and select a new owner.
b) If deleteing files, delete the contents of the folder before deleting the main folder.
c) Sometimes, you can move the folder or file to the desktop before you can be able to modify it.

17. What keyboard shortcuts can I use in Explorer or Start menu?

Shortcut Description
F1 Help
F3 Search
F4 Address line
F5 Refresh
Ctrl+W Close window
Ctrl+E Search
Ctrl+A Select all
Ctrl+F Search
Ctrl+N New window
Ctrl+Y Redo
Ctrl+X Cut
Ctrl+C Copy
Ctrl+V Paste
Ctrl+Z Undo
Ctrl+F4 Close Window
Del or Delete Delete
Home First file
End Last file
Windows+F Search
Windows+R Run
Windows+X Admin menu
Windows+D Desktop
Windows Toggle desktop or start menu
Windows+C Start right hand menu
Windows+L Lock desktop
Windows+U Ease of access window

18. How do I turn off the Libraries feature in Explorer?

Windows 8 uses Libraries for users to easily find documents, music and pictures on your computer. There is no built in way to turn Libraries, but there is a registry fix to turn Libraries on or off. See this site for the registry fix.

19. How do I add the Copy To and Move To items to context menu?

You need to add some extra keys to the registry using the following lines, the new items will then appear immediately.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Copy To]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\Move To]

20. How do I search for files and where are the search options?

In explorer, there is a search box at the top right of the window. You can enter anything here whether it is file names or file contents. Searching is faster if the files are indexed already. Indexing can be configured using the Indexing Options program (this is available via Control Panel or Help and Support). Folders usually indexed are Documents, Internet Explorer History, Users App data, Email and Windows Media Centre. The search options are available via Explorer, Organize and Folder and Search Options.

21. What steps do I need to do to make Windows 8 or 8.1 work more like Windows 7 or XP? New

i) If you have Windows 8, you can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free. Go to the Store on the start menu to find and install it.
ii) When Windows 8.1 is installed, change the Taskbar and Navigation properties as follows. Click on Navigation tab and enable the following:
- When I singn in or close applications on a screen go to the desktop instead of Start.
- Show my desktop background on Start.
- Show Start on the display I'm using when I press the Windows key
iii) Install a Start Menu replacment program such as Classic Shell and enable the following:
- For menu, select Windows 7 style.
- Use Aero or Classic for menu icon.
- Basic Settings. Left click open Classic start menu.
- Change other settings to suit you. I use Windows key to open Windows Start Screen.