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mraeryceos

Context menu option to open Windows Explorer without navigation pane

5 posts in this topic

In Windows XP, I have three options within the context menu of a Windows Explorer folder: <b>Open</b>, Open, and Explore.

<b>Open</b> opens in the current window

Open opens a new window without the navigation pane (aka folder tree)

Explore opens a new window with the navigation pane

I think it has to do with this:


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore]
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000022
"ExplorerFlags"=dword:00000021

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore\command]
@="%SystemRoot%\\Explorer.exe /e,/idlist,%I,%L"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\open]
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000010
"ExplorerFlags"=dword:00000012

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\open\command]
@="%SystemRoot%\\Explorer.exe /idlist,%I,%L"

---> How do you do this in Windows 7?

Edited by mraeryceos
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In Windows XP, I have three options within the context menu of a Windows Explorer folder: <b>Open</b>, Open, and Explore.

<b>Open</b> opens in the current window

Open opens a new window without the navigation pane (aka folder tree)

Explore opens a new window with the navigation pane

I think it has to do with this:


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore]
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000022
"ExplorerFlags"=dword:00000021

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore\command]
@="%SystemRoot%\\Explorer.exe /e,/idlist,%I,%L"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\open]
"BrowserFlags"=dword:00000010
"ExplorerFlags"=dword:00000012

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\open\command]
@="%SystemRoot%\\Explorer.exe /idlist,%I,%L"

---> How do you do this in Windows 7?

Yes, "Explore" as written results in a TreeView and "Open" does not.

{A} I see one problem in that code there, once corrected it should work fine in Windows 7 Explorer. That %SystemRoot% will need to be encoded in an Expand_SZ string which can be only be entered in a REG script using @=hex(2): followed by the correct bytes. Instead you can just use plain text with a harcoded path to the C:\Windows\Explorer.exe. Obviously this is not helpful if the %SystemRoot% is on another volume.

{B} I forget what those two values "BrowserFlags" and "ExplorerFlags" exactly mean, but I believe they place some restrictions or modifications on the action from the Shell. I do know they appear in malware reports pretty often so I just leave them out in my own REG patches. I'll let someone else explain their purpose if indeed they have a useful one.

{C} Note that those context menu entries ( Open, Explore, etc ) are the default commands normally seen at the top of the context menu and are "root level" subkeys hanging off the HKCR\Folder object ( and other obects as well: Drive, Directory, etc ). They have been like that since Windows 95 almost 18 years now. Consequently a lot of utilities and policies and reg tweaks change those duhfault registry locations. Personally I like to work off custom subkeys with unique names so that nothing can change them easily, and which leaves the official Windows keys untouched.

I'll show you how to construct your own custom version.Here is an example using two synthetic keys, incorporating all the changes and should work just fine on Windows 7 ( no time to test it right now ). They will appear in the context menu with a helpful description and will not affect those standard "Explorer" and "Open" entries. To remove these two keys just uncomment ( remove the semicolons ) from the last two lines!

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell\Windows-Explorer_Folder-TreeView]

@="Windows Explorer ... Open with TreeView"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell\Windows-Explorer_Folder-TreeView\Command]

@="C:\\Windows\\Explorer.exe /e,/idlist,%I,%L"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell\Windows-Explorer_Open-Folder-Directly]

@="Windows Explorer ... Open Directly"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell\Windows-Explorer_Open-Folder-Directly\Command]

@="C:\\Windows\\Explorer.exe /idlist,%I,%L"

;;; remove the comments here to delete these two custom keys!

;[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell\Windows-Explorer_Folder-TreeView]

;[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\Shell\Windows-Explorer_Open-Folder-Directly]

The custom key names are shown in bold brown for clarity. That is what you will see in REGEDIT if you browse the HKCR\Folder\Shell tree.

Inside the actual Context Menu you will see the more useful description text, denoted above in bold red. This is helpful when you have a huge context menu and they are all unsorted madly out of order.

Change either or both to your liking!

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{A} I see one problem in that code there, once corrected it should work fine in Windows 7 Explorer. That %SystemRoot% will need to be encoded in an Expand_SZ string which can be only be entered in a REG script using @=hex(2): followed by the correct bytes. Instead you can just use plain text with a harcoded path to the C:\Windows\Explorer.exe. Obviously this is not helpful if the %SystemRoot% is on another volume.

Yes, that is true, but I exported the original code from XP registry, and it works there just fine. I am surprised it works without Expand_SZ (EDIT: I looked at the original registry, and it was Expand_SZ. It appears that the program I am using called Mitec Registry Viewer has a flaw, or rather, only exports REGEDIT4 format. Next time I will mount the hive in Regedit!)

{B} I forget what those two values "BrowserFlags" and "ExplorerFlags" exactly mean, but I believe they place some restrictions or modifications on the action from the Shell. I do know they appear in malware reports pretty often so I just leave them out in my own REG patches. I'll let someone else explain their purpose if indeed they have a useful one.

From what I read, I concluded they were an annoyance as well.

Your custom keys didn't work either. Absolutely nothing happens. I am using Windows Embedded Standard 7, but I think it should be the same as Win7. Below are the default registry settings (no modification), in WES7. Please verify if your mod works in Win7!


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore]
"ProgrammaticAccessOnly"=""
"LaunchExplorerFlags"=dword:00000018
"MultiSelectModel"="Document"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore\command]
"DelegateExecute"="{11dbb47c-a525-400b-9e80-a54615a090c0}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\open]
"MultiSelectModel"="Document"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\open\command]
@=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\
00,5c,00,45,00,78,00,70,00,6c,00,6f,00,72,00,65,00,72,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,\
65,00,00,00
"DelegateExecute"="{11dbb47c-a525-400b-9e80-a54615a090c0}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\opennewprocess]
"LaunchExplorerFlags"=dword:00000003
"MUIVerb"="@shell32.dll,-8518"
"ExplorerHost"="{ceff45ee-c862-41de-aee2-a022c81eda92}"
"Extended"=""
"MultiSelectModel"="Document"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\opennewprocess\command]
"DelegateExecute"="{11dbb47c-a525-400b-9e80-a54615a090c0}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\opennewwindow]
"OnlyInBrowserWindow"=""
"LaunchExplorerFlags"=dword:00000001
"MUIVerb"="@shell32.dll,-8517"
"MultiSelectModel"="Document"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\opennewwindow\command]
"DelegateExecute"="{11dbb47c-a525-400b-9e80-a54615a090c0}"

Edited by mraeryceos
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Your custom keys didn't work either. Absolutely nothing happens. I am using Windows Embedded Standard 7, but I think it should be the same as Win7. Below are the default registry settings (no modification), in WES7. Please verify if your mod works in Win7!

Verified ... NOT working :realmad: Tested with and without "Run as Administrator"! No luck. Also tested Windows XP and ... WORKING fine.

I gotta admit that this is a core system change probably with Windows 6 ( Vista, 7, ... ) that slipped under my radar.

My quick guess is that those strange values like "ExplorerFlags" may actually be enablers for the shell context menu entries. But just a guess presently. Regardless, this is a clear case of broken backward compatibility.

FWIW, I almost never use Explorer except at gunpoint, instead using file managers like Powerdesk, Tracker and XYplorer for these tasks. Next chance I get I will check to see if those REG entries work under those 3rd party file managers even though it fails under Explorer.

Meanwhile, you may start a Google or Bing hunt. Or maybe someone here knows what happened.

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I now have an entry in the context menu to launch xplorer2, which I configured to only have the file panel (no folder tree, etc). Thanks for the help. I don't think there is an MS fix.

Edited by mraeryceos
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