Displaying All the Files in a Folder using Windows Explorer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 3, 2014)

1

Occasionally, you may need to display all the files that a folder contains. One way to display all the files a folder contains is by using Windows Explorer. (See Figure 1.) The easiest way to launch Windows Explorer is to hold down the Windows key on the keyboard and press E. (The Windows key is on most keyboards these days; it has the Windows logo on it.)

Figure 1. The Windows Explorer.

The Windows Explorer window is split into two vertical panes. The pane on the left contains a navigation tree—a series of folders and subfolders organized in a "tree" fashion for easy navigation. The pane on the right shows you the files and subfolders contained in whatever folder is selected in the navigation (left) pane.

You can navigate deeper into the tree (i.e., display subfolders) by double-clicking a folder in the navigation pane or by clicking the arrow just to the left of the folder's name. (The arrow appears when you hover your mouse pointer over a folder.) Regardless of how deep you go, by clicking the folder name in the navigation pane you can see the files contained within that folder by looking in the right pane.

A quick way to display all of the subfolders at once is by navigating to a folder (select that folder in the navigation pane) and then pressing the asterisk key on the numeric keypad. This expands the selected folder in the navigation tree to display all of its subfolders and their subfolders (and their subfolders, etc.) as deep as it goes. To quickly collapse a folder in the navigation tree, select the folder you want to collapse and then press the minus key on the numeric keypad.

 This tip (12025) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is one less than 4?

2014-11-03 08:56:38

Henry Noble

The out-of-the-box default settings for Windows Explorer hide many files and hide the very important file extension (the part of the filename following the dot).

Without knowing the extension, users cannot distinguish a text file from an executable file, and clicking on the filename may have undesirable consequences.

To see what really is in folders, go to the Folder Options dialog. You can get there from the Tools menu, the ribbon, or the Control Panel. While on the General tab, I recommend selecting the option "Automatically expand to current folder".

Next, select the View tab.

Within View:
1. Select "Show hidden files"
2. Uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types"
3. Uncheck "Hide protected operating system file types"
4. Check "Launch folder windows in a separate process".

Note: #3 will bring up an are-you-sure dialog. Say "yes".

Finally, click the "Apply to Folders" button.

Now you can see everything.




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