Posts Tagged ‘folder tree’

Here's something I've been meaning to share for a while, but somehow never got around to it. It addresses a small instance of that growing trend, in graphical interfaces, of making stuff look cool and flashy at the expense of usefulness.

Before Windows Vista, the folder-tree in Windows Explorer consisted of dotted lines, with clickable boxes to open or close a sub-tree. Like this:

[Click picture to enbiggen]

Since then, they've been clickable arrow-heads with no lines. It's not a huge inconvenience not having them, but I like those lines. When you're nine-or-ten layers down into the directory-structure and the top-level directory has scrolled off the top of the chart, they give an at-a-glance indication of where you are in relation to that top level. And, having helped inexperienced users a fair few times, I can attest that the dotted-lines graphical representation is much more intuitive. The lines directly represent and imply a structure, whereas a staggered column of triangles merely looks, to many newbies, like an oddly out-of-whack list.

So, anyway, here's the thing I've been meaning to share for lo! these many moons; a way to get those dotted lines back. Unfortunately, it involves using a .reg file, which WordPress won't allow me to store for you to download, so I'll have to talk you through the (painless) process of making one.

First, open a fresh Notepad text-document.

Now paste this into it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


(Note: don’t delete the blank second line.)

Now click FileSave as…

Make sure you're saving it to somewhere convenient.

Change the Save as type: drop-down to All file types

In the File name: box, type (or paste) Show_Folder_Tree_Lines.reg

Click Save and close the document.

Now find the Show_Folder_Tree_Lines file you've just made. Either double-clicking it, or right-clicking and selecting Merge should begin the process of adding the contents to the registry. You'll probably be presented with a security warning or two, followed by a dialogue asking if you really, truly want to add the information to the registry. Click whatever okays and yeses are necessary, and eventually you should be told that the "keys and values … have been successfully added to the registry."

It's so long since I added this that I forget whether a restart is needed before the change will be apparent, but other than that, you're done. You should now have a properly-represented folder-tree in Windows Explorer.

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