I’ve noticed recently that people are searching an awful lot for methods on turning off the navigation pane in Explorer + other ways to customise its appearance.

This is a very simple task which we’ll cover in this Quick-Tip

Step 1.

Open an instance of Explorer (WinKey+E).

Step 2.

Go to the toolbar and select Organize > Layout > and uncheck the Navigation pane.

With this same method you can toggle the Preview pane, Details pane & choose weather the Menu bar is always displayed (as opposed to pressing Alt).

Here are two screenshots showing all of the above turned on & off.

What do you prefer?  A default Explorer, Navigation pane off?  Bare bones?  Let us know in the comments.

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10 thoughts on “Turn off the Navigation Pane in Windows 7 Explorer [Quick Tip]”

  1. Rolian says:

    Your information is correct, but I have to say this is not a quick tip because XP had the folder icon on the toolbar that you click to open the navigation and click again to close it. Why did they remove this simple feature in Windows 7? I have spent several hours searching for some shortcut to do the same thing and can’t find one. I routinely opened explorer with the Windows logo + e key, then after selecting a particular folder would turn off the navigation pane to give me more room on the screen. Now I have to click the Organize drop down, slide down to Layout, then slide over to Navigation Pane. Can you see how inconvenient it is to do that over and over?

    1. RSVR85 says:

      I can see how inconvenient this is yes. However, could you reiterate why this is not a Windows 7 [Quick Tip]?

  2. Adam Luttman says:

    I’d like a quick button on the toolbar that turns the navigation pane on and off.

    1. RSVR85 says:

      I’m going to look into it. I’d quite like this too :)

  3. RSVR85 says:

    Cracked the Navigation Pane toolbar button. Keep your eyes peeled on Windows Guides for a [How To] soon!

    1. Rich says:

      Can’t wait!!!

  4. Colin McLeod says:

    thank you, this is great. for those who want the DIY version (you can add tons of other buttons), see this article: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/use-special-codes-to-add-commands-to-the-windows-explorer-command-bar/3753

  5. Colin McLeod says:

    sorry for the repetition, i also found this link, which i like much better for the DIY: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/129401-windows-explorer-toolbar-buttons-customize.html

  6. Junkregistration63 says:

    Sometimes in Windows 7 it does not turn off the navigation pane… it forgets what your setting was. IT works FINE if I create a folder on the desktop and turn it on and off… but if I am running a program e.g. Vuze and I right click and select “Show in explorer” then the navigation pane is back… The strange thing is if I enable or disable the “Menu Bar” or “Details Pane” or “Preview Pane” then windows will remember it the next time I open the folder from another program using “Show in explorer” BUT it always forgets that I disabled “Navigation Pane”. It is MOST irritating.

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