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Vista – Explorer: Disable Full-Row Selection, Add Tabs

One of the changes from Windows XP to Windows Vista is the difference when selecting/deselecting items in Windows Explorer when using the Detail View. In XP, you can deselect all items by left-clicking any column that is not the name column. I love that it is this way. In Vista, good luck trying to deselect all items using the same method. In Vista, the details view uses full-row selection. Clicking on other columns causes the item to stay selected. Sure, you can right-click to deselect, but that shows the context-menu which requires another left-click to remove. The only way in Vista to deselect all items is to click in actual white-space below any selectable items.

The good news is that I’ve found a free Explorer Plugin that lets you set Vista to use the XP style of deselection: QT Tab Bar

Vista Default Sample:

If I click on the date column in this case, Music
remains selected.

Vista w/ QT Tab Bar Sample:

If I click on the date column in this case, Music
is deselected, the same way it would work in XP.

To set the option, please do the following:

  1. Install QT Tab Bar (requires log-off).
  2. Open Explorer.
  3. Hit Alt to show the default file menu.
  4. Right-click in the empty space to the right and check QT Tab Bar.
  5. Right-click next to one of the tabs that now appears and choose Options.
  6. Click the Misc. tab and make sure that Full row selection in details view is unchecked.
  7. Make sure that Hide menu bar(Vista) is checked on this tab as well. (hit Alt+M to toggle the menu bar)
  8. Click OK. (If you get an error, just click Continue and everything will work fine).
  9. Close and re-open Windows Explorer.
  10. Note: If you switch from a different view to details view, it will possibly show full-row selection in the current directory. Once you change directories and go back, it will correctly show without full-row selection.

There are a bunch of other features that QT Tab Bar provides. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Tabs! – Very cool way to organize your numerous open Explorer windows. As a developer, I have way too many explorer instances open. This allows me to become better organized and save time. It also doesn’t require me to use a different program that is meant to be an explorer replacement but lacks much of the functionality I already depend on.
  2. Tab Groups – Again, as a developer switching between different projects, I can have preset groups of folders I need open while developing. QT Tab Bar gives me that functionality.
  3. Restore Tabs – When I close Explorer I lose my open folders. This makes it so I can close Explorer, go do something else and re-open Explorer with the same folders I previously had open.
  4. Application Groups – I haven’t used this one yet, but I’m sure it will help. An easy way to startup a set of applications that you need for a specific task.
  5. Plugins – Create your own additional functionality to plugin without having to do everything yourself (the download comes with some plugins which I have yet to use – If I find one that stands out, I’ll make sure to add it to this post).
  6. Shortcut Keys – For all the QT Tab features: undo last closed tab, clone tab, forward, back, next tab, etc.
  7. Change Selection with F2 – A nifty feature that toggles the filename selection when renaming. Hit F2 to rename, in Vista, it selects the filename without the extension. Hit F2 again and it changes the selection to no selection but with the cursor at the end of the filename in front of the .ext. Hit F2 again and now the extension is selected. This will save a bunch of time when all I want to do is change the extension.
     

Sample of Tabs added by QT Tab Bar:

It’s definitely a tool to add to your collection if you’re using XP or Vista. Did I mention that they also created a plugin to add the Vista Breadcrumb Bar to XP?

Download QT Tab Bar

About John

John Rennemeyer is a software engineer that started his own development company MuvEnum, LLC in 2005. Born in Utah, he is a father of six, husband of one, and grandparent of none. His current programming passions include Xamarin, WPF, SharePoint, and their supporting technologies. His current non-programming passions include spending time with his family and hanging out with friends while enjoying food and fun. How's that for specific?

  • Found this page via neowin, thanks for the info 😉