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  1. #1
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    Several irritating Windows Explorer changes

    I'm trying to tweak a Windows 7 computer to work more as I want it to (i.e., more like XP). At this point most of my difficulties relate to Windows Explorer:

    The "up one level" button is missing. How do I get it back?

    The pathname field has been replaced by a sequence of dropdowns that let me select the file or folder to open at each level. That's convenient... almost as convenient as opening files and folders from the main window... but it prevents me from using the pathname field in the way that I usually want to use it, to copy and paste the pathname of a directory after navigating there. How can I restore that functionality?

    Each time I shut down Windows, it complains that my Windows Explorer windows are still open and warns me that I may lose work if I don't close them properly. Doh... XP understood that there's no "work" in Windows Explorer to lose. Why doesn't W7 understand that?

    I configured Windows Explorer to reopen previously open windows when I restart Windows, and so it does... but it doesn't remember their location or size. Double doh... is there a way to fix this?

    How can I get rid of the toolbar with the "Organize... Open... Share with..." buttons?

    How can I change the layout of one window, or of the window associated with one folder?
    Last edited by jsachs177; 2011-06-14 at 13:38.

  2. #2
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    The Classic Shell (http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/) addresses some of these issues. For example, I have a One Level Up button in Explorer, I assume Classic Shell put it there.

    To get a copyable path, click any open area in the address box - the entry will change from the dropdowns to the full path.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsachs177 View Post
    The pathname field has been replaced by a sequence of dropdowns that let me select the file or folder to open at each level. That's convenient... almost as convenient as opening files and folders from the main window... but it prevents me from using the pathname field in the way that I usually want to use it, to copy and paste the pathname of a directory after navigating there. How can I restore that functionality?
    I can answer one of your questions. When the sequence of drop-downs is displayed, just click on the yellow folder icon to the left of the first drop-down and the drop-downs will be replaced by the full path name that you can change or copy. You can also right-click and select copy address as text or edit address.

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    Rather than adding more software to your computer most of these issues can be addressed with a slightly different way of doing things.

    For the Up on Level thing:
    Without additional software you can't get an actual up one level button which bugged me for a while but, if you just click the name of the previous folder in the address bar it does the same thing.

    To copy an address there are two methods:
    1.) Hold Shift and right click a file or folder then select copy as path (it will include quotes).
    2.) Even easier. Just click in the address bar where a folder isn't shown. I don't believe I had to select an option for this.

    For the Windows Shut Down:
    I'm really not sure. I don't have that problem and it appears Windows 7 always shuts down without confirmation. It does have a tendency of hanging though even though explorer is the only thing active but that's because it's supposed to be saving locations and stuff for future reference to the hard drive (many of the options we change in windows and explorer aren't actually saved to the hard drive until shutdown, the exact ones I'm not sure of I've just noticed options reset when Windows crashed).

    For the restoration of windows at startup:
    I use the same option and I've never found a way to get the location/size to be restored.

    Getting rid of the 'toolbar' with "Organize" and such:
    Not sure on this one either. I just learned to live with it and use it. I don't share and organize with it but it does help a little with your last question.

    To Change the layout of a window:
    This question is a bit vague. In the previously mentioned 'toolbar' (the single quotes because Windows doesn't recognize it as such) there are the traditional options for icons or details (these can also be accessed with the view at the top or right click then view). Also via the right click menu is:
    Arrange by: Will show just what you said, folder shows everything (default).
    Sort by: Shows items in the folder in what order (was in XP).
    Group by: Same as sort by but also separates things out. Can be used in conjunction with Sort by. (was in XP).

    Hopefully this helps, mostly it sounds like you just need to get used to Win 7. Once you do you'll never want to go back.
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Clicking the blank part of the pathname field will solve the problem of the pathname. I'll look into the Classic Shell for the "one level up" control.

    The rest of this message is going to sound something like a rant, because I want to address something implicit in some of the responses which I find... not offensive, be it understood, but very frustrating.

    I'm not upset about these missing features because I'm used to having them, so by jiminy, and I'm going to complain if they're gone. I'm upset because the changes in Windows 7's Explorer have disrupted a large collection of techniques and habits that make me productive.

    I developed some of those habits by wondering, "How can I use the tools in Windows XP to solve such-and-such a problem?" and finally finding an obscure feature that would do the trick, or combining several features in a non-obvious way. I developed others by stumbling across a feature and thinking, then or later, "Hey, I can use this to do such-and-such three seconds faster, a dozen times every day!"

    The significant fact is that by one means or another, I developed these techniques through years of experience. I've mentioned only the most significant ones. If I had to sit down and make a list of them all, I probably couldn't do it. Many are things I never think of until I need them, and I won't know they're gone until the next time I try to use one of them and can't.

    So, yeah, if I "just get used to Win 7" it'll work about as well for me as Windows XP did -- maybe not quite as well, maybe a little better. But that will mean learning to take advantage of Win 7 the way I learned to take advantage of XP, and it will probably take just about as long.

    Microsoft is already showing prototypes of Windows 8. Unless I get lucky and Win 8 is a big a bomb as Vista was, I won't have that much time to "get used to" Win 7. I'll have to abandon it and start all over again before I'm done.

    So, the attitude that "you just need to get used to it" is very frustrating for me. Get used to it at what cost? More than I want to pay.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I know how frustrating it can be to find ways of doing something you have been doing right along a different way. Perhaps some of the suggestions I found in this Google search will help with some of your frustration. I also really like an app called Ultimate Windows Tweaker (This is called TweakUI on steroids by some) perhaps some of these tweaks will also assist in your endeavors.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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    I also use Ultimate Windows Tweaker (in fact I explicitly looked for a TweakUI replacement when I got my laptop with Vista on it [before upgrading to XP then to 7]) though I've found that some of it's features don't always work for me. I've not heard much about Win8 yet (except that it's in the works) and I doubt it'll be released anytime soon. The chances of it being better than Win7 are somewhat slim and the overall history of Windows has been somewhat wonder child, complete bomb, repeat (2000 was good, ME was fail, XP was good, Vista was fail, Win7 is good). The main features of Win7 are really good and it's core has proven pretty stable overall so it would seem unlikely that we'll need to upgrade anytime soon (unless they finally come up with those quantum processors which will require a radical change to the core of the system and thus a new OS).

    One last thought if you're ever looking for an automation app I'd suggest AutoIt as it's extremely easy to learn/use and it's quite feature packed and even supports custom libraries for things like interactive with firefox at the lower level (via a plugin I can't remember the name of).
    Current Machine:HP Compaq 6910p with 4GB RAM, Core2Duo @ 2.20 GHz, Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family, Avast free, Malwarebyte's free, TP-Link wireless card (as the built in card has nothing but problems with empty solutions): The card identifies as "Atheros AR922X Wireless Network Adapter". [Not the best machine but it does internet, docs, and vids, and some games (PvZ, Spore)]

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    Another irritation: Win7 not only doesn't remember the size and position of windows after a restart, it doesn't even remember the position of Desktop icons. I've moved icons where I wanted them, restarted, and all of them went back where Win7 originally put them.

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    Right click on the desktop, mouse over View and un-tick auto arrange icons. Same as mechanism as XP, but perhaps a different route to the setting.

    Windows positions and sizes remain the same for me, but off the top of my head, I can't recall a setting for that.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafed00d View Post
    The Classic Shell (http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/) addresses some of these issues. For example, I have a One Level Up button in Explorer, I assume Classic Shell put it there.
    .....
    .
    I am using the Classic Explorer portion of Classic Shell and find it useful.
    Check here under Classic Explorer to view the Explorer features....

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    I gave up on getting Windows Explorer to behave -- I couldn't figure out how to make it stop randomly opening a new window when I tried to select a directory. I reviewed the available alternatives and chose Xplorer2 Lite. So far I'm very happy with it, and I may buy the licensed version.

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    I'm revisiting this topic because a system crash forced me to reinstall Windows on my home machine, and I decided to take the plunge with Windows 7. I figured I'd have to do it sooner or later, and it was better to reinstall Windows once than twice.

    A couple of months have passed since then, and I'm still dealing with a number of issues.

    A half dozen of my important applications turned out to be incompatible with Windows 7... some of them, like Adobe Acrobat, for reasons that are entirely unclear. I counted on Win7 Pro's XP compatibility feature to deal with that, but I found that it doen't quite work as I was led to expect. for example, if you have several user accounts you have to install each application for each account. That's a nightmare.

    Win7 doesn't support my SCSI card, despite the Hardware Compatibility List's unqualified statement that it would. I will probably have to replace the card.

    The "hibernate" option has disappeared from the "Shut Down" procedure. I found two procedures for fixing this, but the simple one doesn't work, and the complex one involves editing the registry. I haven't had the nerve to try it yet.

    xplorer2 has turned out to have a number of irritating properties, such as changing the format of the directory display globally rather than by directory. I'm still using it because Windows Explorer is worse, but I need to find another file manager that works better.

    And so on.

    In short, the switch from WinXP to Win7 has been just about as difficult and time consuming as I expected. It has done nothing to change my opinion of "you just need to get used to it."

  13. #13
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Many people have found the new version of Windows Explorer (XP to Windows 7 transition) to be so infuriating that we have started using instead a third party product. There are several available, the one I use being xplorer2 (a free 'lite' version is also available).
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

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    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Evidently, a lot of folks use Explorer much differently than the way I use it. For my use, the only real differences between Explorer in XP and Explorer in Windows 7 are cosmetic (I have no use for the Libraries feature). I don't have any reason to copy a pathname; I already know where my files are. If I want a shortcut on my desktop for a file that I will be using frequently for a few weeks, I just drill down to it in creating the shortcut. I use multiple partitions and nested folders to organize my data. I used shared drives and shared folders so that I can access files on my desktop PC from my laptop.

    The only files I really ever rename are photos, and I do that in batches, which is quite simple. I use Explorer regularly, but it's basically just a vehicle for me - I know where I'm going and what I want when I get there.

    Windows 7 did not operate for me like XP, so I cut it apart and put it back together pretty much like I did with XP, and I'm equally at home with either. I still dual-boot XP on one of my laptops. I have one 16-bit app that won't run on virtual XP, so I wake that laptop when I need that app.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  15. #15
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    I'm still using it because Windows Explorer is worse, but I need to find another file manager that works better.

    And so on.
    I hear ya brother! 2+ years of trying and it still sucks compared to XP Win Explorer (inclusive to sidebar and other toolbar usage). If I could just use the XP Explorer on W7, that would solve about 92.5% of my issues with W7 I think. I too have tried the alternates and they're all just what someone else thinks would be a better method, and if one thinks and reacts like the developer, they probably are...unfortunately for me, they are all just equally bad alternatives. Even Classic shell has serious drawbacks, some of us need Classic XP shell, period! Why is that so impossible?

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