In previous versions of Windows, an image was added to folder icons in Windows Explorer such as, a hand image in Windows XP and earlier, and an image of two people in Windows Vista. However, this indication was removed from Windows Explorer in Windows 7. The fastest way to determine if a folder is shared or not from within Windows Explorer is to do as follows:
The default Windows shell in Windows 7 is the Windows Explorer, however you can replace it with other shells such as, the command prompt, Windows PowerShell or custom built shells. This may become handy when computers are running specific tasks and you want to restrict their usage or free up resources taken by the default shell. However, remember that if for example you set the command prompt as the default shell, users can still load the default shell and other hidden applications.
This simple registry hack allows you to hide drives from appearing in the Windows Explorer shell. Users will not be able to select or see the drive in the applications’ open and save dialogs, My Computer and Windows Explorer but it remains visible from other shells such as, the command prompt. Therefore, applications can still access the hidden drive, even though it is invisible to end users! A hidden drive may be useful when backing files to a network or local drive and you would like to restrict that drive just for backup purposes. The risk of filling up that drive with unrelated data is limited by making it invisible to users including you, while it remains available to the backup application. Obviously, first set the backup destination drive from the backup application and then hide the drive as explained below.
Windows 7 by default hides empty drives in Windows Explorer and this may puzzle users looking for removable media drives (such as card readers). These do not show in the Computer folder if no media is inserted. However, there is an option to make these devices appear by following these simple steps:
Most users use Windows Explorer to search for a specific folder in order to perform some tasks related to that particular folder or files within that folder. Additionally, you may need to copy the folder’s path or even open a command prompt at that particular location. In previous versions of Windows you could enable this functionality by tweaking the registry but now Windows Explorer allows you to access these additional options by a simple click as you can see below:
Opening Windows explorer from the taskbar icon takes you to the Library location by default. If you are annoyed with this behavior you can easily change the default location by following these steps: