How to Change the File Preview in Windows Explorer

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Windows Explorer (Microsoft's file and folder browsing utility) comes with a built-in tool called the "file preview." By default, the file preview will let you view simply the icon of a particular file or folder. However, many don't realize that you can customize this view in a number of different ways, each designed to give you more and more information about the files and folders that are on your computer's hard drive.

  • Open any folder on your computer. The folder itself is not important---the fact that the folder will open in a Windows Explorer browsing window is.

  • Click on the "Views" button at the top of the Windows Explorer browsing window. This will open a drop down listing of all of the different ways in which you can change the file preview in Windows Explorer.

  • Choose between "Thumbnails," "Tiles," "Icons," "List" and "Details." Thumbnails is designed for use when browsing folders filled with images. Tiles is designed to allow you to quickly sort your files and folders by category. Icons is the default setting for Windows Explorer. List allows you to quickly view the names of all of your files or folders without having to scroll through a large listing. Details resembles List but adds additional information like "File Type," "File Size" and "Date Modified."

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