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Why Can’t I Turn the Details/Preview Panes On or Off in Windows Vista Explorer?

If you can’t figure out how to turn on the Details or Preview panes in Windows Vista Explorer, you aren’t alone. This question popped up on the forum the other day, so I decided to write up the answer for everybody’s benefit.

The problem is most likely that you’ve enabled Windows Classic folders, which disables those two panes.

If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, look at the panes that are enabled on the bottom and the right. The bottom pane is the details pane, and the one on the right is the preview pane.

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To enable these, normally you would click on Organize, and then Layout to get to the Details or Preview pane… but why aren’t those items in the list?

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Enable the Preview and Details Pane

Click on Organize, and then “Folder and Search Options”. On the general tab, select “Show preview and filters” in the Tasks section at the top.

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Now the Details and Preview pane should be available in the list:

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Seems like this should be in the manual somewhere.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/1/08

Comments (7)

  1. ac

    dang it was taking me forever to find that, thanks!

  2. Tim

    Absolutely wonderful explanation.
    The Vista Help said only to turn this on under Folder Options – not the Organise bit.

    Thanks.

  3. Ahmed

    Well.. I was looking for dis…But your tip was really helpful

    Thanks and keep up da good work !!!! Wish you best of luck

  4. Kathi

    Somehow I have turned access to follow hyperlinks off to my computer. When I try it tells me that the administrator has blocked this action. I am the administrator. I have already tried to fix it through Microsoft Office it willnot work. Does any have any suggestions.

  5. Thomas the Train

    thanks! kinda silly option, but your explanation was spot on!!!!

  6. Tim Jarvis

    I’m now using Vista. I would like to add my own comments to a file or Zip file I downloaded. I don’t see the tab for comments under file properties as I did in XP.

  7. mancse

    Im using vista and office 2000. I did the above guide to open the preview pane but the only thing on the preview pane is only a big icon of jpg file (as as what i have on the details pane). What could be wrong with it?

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