Windows 7/Vista — make the navigation pane expand to the current folder

It annoys me when stuff suddenly works differently for no obvious reason, and even more so when the result is a lot worse than before. (Here’s a tip, Microsoft: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!)

One such annoyance is Windows Explorer in Windows 7 and Vista. When you dive into sub-folders by double-clicking in the right-hand pane, the left-hand pane doesn’t expand to reflect where you are. That’s a pity, because that has been in there ever since Windows 95, a brief 14 year-long period of doing it right.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Click the button “Organize” in the toolbar.
  3. Select “Folder and Search options”.
  4. Check the box “Automatically expand to current folder”. While you’re in here, also check the box “Show all folders”.

Expand to current folder

Why Microsoft chose to hide useful functionality like this is simply beyond me. But there’s the solution, go fix it yourself. Thanks to Ronnie at Technet for this info.

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