Monday, October 10, 2011

Easier File Selection in Windows Explorer

There will come a time when you need to copy, move, or attach a bunch of files from your computer. Windows Explorer (the Windows file manager) lets you see your files but picking and choosing the files out of many in a list can require an arcane method of clicking on the first file and then while the CTRL (control) key is pressed down you must click on each successive file without clicking on the wrong file or letting go of the CTRL key. THERE IS AN EASIER WAY!
How to turn on check boxes in Windows Explorer to make file selecting SO MUCH EASIER!
These instructions work with Windows 7. I’ve not tested Windows Vista.
Open Windows Explorer from the taskbar (note – this is the file manager in Windows NOT Internet Explorer Browser)
Click on “Tools”
Click on “Folder Options”
Click on “View”
Then Click on “Use check boxes to select items” you may have to scroll down the list to find this box.
Then Click “OK”
Now when you open Windows explorer you can just click the check boxes to pick and choose files instead of using the “click” “control-click” key combinations that can be frustrating to get the hang of. See – so much easier for picking non-contiguous files from a folder for copying, moving, or attaching.
There is even a check box at the top of the filename column to let you select all the files in a folder if you are in “details” view. (ctrl-A still works, though) You may not see the check boxes until you move your mouse pointer over a filename, though. If you accidentally check a file by clicking on the filename, just click the filename a second time to toggle the check mark on or off.


  1. Thanks for the great tip. I have Vista and your instructions worked just fine.

    Susan in Wi

  2. Oh, Good, thanks for letting me know.