IDG logo

Advertise with InfoWorld

SiteMap News Test Center Opinions Forums Careers Stock Quote Subject Indexes About Us Search Subscribe Home [Window Manager]

July 1, 1996

How you can turn My Computer into `My Explorer'

The little icon labeled My Computer in the corner of your Windows 95 desktop can be a useful tool. Opening this icon enables you to drill down through your drives and folders until you find the object you're seeking.

The My Computer icon has an irritating habit, though. When you double-click it, the window that appears is always displayed in what's called Folder View. This view shows the folders and file names in your computer but not the side-by-side detail windows that are typical of the new and much-hyped Explorer interface.

What's worse, apparently there's no way to switch the My Computer window from Folder View to Explorer View. You must close the My Computer window, find the My Computer icon again, this time right-click it, and then click Explore. Finally, an Explorer View of My Computer appears.

This seemed like just another irritant in Windows 95 until I heard from Glenn Goodman at infoTronics, in Melbourne, Australia, about a way to make My Computer open in the Explorer View automatically.

  • Step 1. Double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop.
  • Step 2. Click View, Options on the main menu.
  • Step 3. Click the File Types tab in the window that appears.
  • Step 4. Scroll down through the list of Registered File Types until you find one labeled Folder. (Don't confuse this with the File Folder type, which handles the Find File function.)
  • Step 5. Click the Folder file type once to highlight (select) it.
  • Step 6. Click the Edit button.
  • Step 7. Within the Actions window in the new dialog box that appears, click the action entitled Explore to select it.
  • Step 8. Click the Set Default button. This makes Explore the default action for My Computer, instead of Open.
  • Step 9. Click the Close button to close the Edit File Type window.
  • Step 10. Click the Close button to close the Options window.
  • Step 11. Close the My Computer window. Now when you double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop, it opens in the Explorer View every time.

    In addition to affecting My Computer, this change affects every other object on the desktop that normally opens in Folder View. For example, if you double-click the Recycle Bin icon, it opens in Explorer View. If you ever want to see My Computer, Recycle Bin, etc., in the old Folder View, simply right-click the icon and select Open. To reverse the whole change, follow the Steps above and make Open the default action.

    A free copy of Windows 95 Secrets goes out to Goodman. Thanks, mate.

    Lost in cyberspace

    Last week's fifth anniversary Window Manager column was supposed to end with a free Internet offer featuring my most popular giveaway of all time -- a character chart I developed that prints onto a single, convenient page every one of about 700 possible printable Windows characters. Due to technical difficulties, however, this freebie couldn't get onto the Web site in time.

    Now it's ready. To get your Windows 95 Character Chart, click here.

    My publisher once offered printed versions of this chart and received 1,500 requests for it in one week. Now it's available on the Internet. Print it from any word processor that can read Word for Windows 6.0 files. Enjoy.

    Brian Livingston is the coauthor of the new Windows 95 Secrets and author of three other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

    Missed a column? Go back for more.

    Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


    Copyright © 2002. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. is a member of complies with the ASME guidelines with IDG extensions For New media.