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Finding Folder Options in Explorer

You can't find the Folder Options choice on the Tools menu in an Explorer window.

You're probably viewing a Web page in the Explorer window, in which case the Tools menu offers an Internet Options choice instead. Click in the Address bar, type C:\, and press Enter. The Folder Options command should now be available on the Tools menu. Or, you can open Control Panel, where you'll find a Folder Options icon as well.

Invisible Columns

In Details view, you can't see data for one or more columns. The column name is checked on the list that appears when you right-click column headings, but you can't see it in Details view.

The most likely answer is that you resized the column's width to zero (probably by dragging it too far to the left, which makes it disappear from view). To restore the default column widths, right-click any column heading and choose More from the shortcut menu. In the Column Settings dialog box, select the name of the column. Make sure a checkmark is in the box to its left, and then check the value in the box at the bottom of the dialog box. If it says The selected column should be 0 pixels wide, change the value to at least 20. After you click OK, the column will be visible again.

Keyboard Shortcut Do's and Don'ts

You've assigned a key combination to a shortcut, but it doesn't work when you press it.

Keyboard shortcuts work only when the shortcut is stored on the desktop, on the Start menu, in the Programs folder, or in the Favorites menu of Internet Explorer. If you try to assign a keyboard combination to a shortcut stored anywhere else, including on the Quick Launch bar, Windows will ignore it.

The Recycle Bin Is Not Working Properly

When you right-click the Recycle Bin, you might be unable to empty the Recycle Bin or access the Recycle Bin's properties. Also, you might find that files are bypassing the Recycle Bin and being permanently deleted.

This problem usually arises when you have a fixed hard disk that is marked as a removable drive. To fix the problem, open Device Manager, expand the Disk Drives branch, select the drive in question, and click the Properties button. On the Settings tab, clear the checkmark in the Removable box.

Problems with File Extensions

Your document appears to have the correct extension, but when you try to open it, the wrong application launches.

One possible reason for this problem is that you or another user tried to edit the file's extension manually by adding a period and the extension. If the Hide File Extensions for Known File Types box is not checked, the associated program added its own (hidden) extension as well, resulting in a filename such as Letter.doc.rtf. To see the full name, including extensions, open the Folder Options dialog box, click the View tab, and uncheck the Hide File Extensions for Known File Types option. The file extension is now visible and editable.

Cleaning Up the Open With List

You inadvertently tried to open a graphics file with Notepad. Now, whenever you right-click a similar graphics file, you get the Notepad option.

Windows doesn't validate your choices for the Open With option, as you've noticed. To remove the entry for a program that's inappropriate for a given file type, you must edit the Registry. As always, exercise the proper precautions first. First, find the following key:


Then, select the subkey for the extension whose Open With menu you want to change and select its OpenWith subkey. Remove the value in the right pane that refers to the inappropriate program.


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