How-To Geek

How To Enable Check Boxes for Items In Windows 7

Would you like an easier way to select multiple files in Windows Explorer without having to hold down the “Ctrl” or “Shift” key? Today we take a look at enabling the check boxes feature which might be easier for some users to select multiple items.

I’m sure you’re familiar with selecting multiple files in Explorer by holding down the “Shift” or “Ctrl” key while selecting them with your mouse. Holding down the “Ctrl” key allows you to select multiple single items. Holding down “Shift” lets you select a series of multiple files or folders.


Enable Check Boxes

To enable check boxes, click on Start and and type Folder Options into the search box and hit Enter.


In the Folder Options window click on the View tab, and scroll down under Advanced Settings and check the box next to Use check boxes to select items, the click Apply and Ok.


Now you’ll notice a small check box shows up on next to the item you want to select. With this enabled you don’t need to hold any key on the keyboard, just click to place a checkmark in the box.


Also notice there is a box under the menu bar that will select all items.


It also works for folders…


And on the desktop you can check icons, folders, and files that you want to move to another location.


The check box feature is also available in Vista following the same procedure…enabling them in Folder Options.


This is a neat setting that lets you select multiple items using the mouse without worrying about holding down the correct key on the keyboard. It will work with any view in Explorer but seems to work best with Detailed View

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 12/23/09

Comments (19)

  1. Kamlesh

    A very useful feature. I have turned it on a month back! :)

  2. Damian

    Simple yet awesome – another tip to share with my disabled user group as the shift / ctrl method often leaves me raging!

  3. Robert

    very neat. And I love it when “Geeks” think they need to hit “Apply” and “OK”.

  4. Joshua Williams

    dude this is awesome. AND he’s got awesome taste in music. Between The Buried And Me and Amon Amarth are sick!

  5. Arthur Lai

    Alice in Chains ftw!

  6. Sriram

    Damn good. Thanks for this.

  7. Aaron

    Thanks for the tip, very useful.

  8. Oriam

    Thanks, this a great tip i did know about windows 7.
    This version of windows is really the best of them all.

  9. bodine465

    Great tip. That’s what I love about a new operating system, playing “find the new feature”.

  10. Justin

    I’m a computer geek, but not a geek looking boy.

    Thank for the tip!!!

    Currently Operating System: Windows 7 Professional

  11. rick

    wouldnt it be geeki’ER if you use the keyboard short cuts?? i learned them way back when i had win.98

  12. Dana

    thanks for the tip, and great taste of music by the way, Metal rules \m/…:P

  13. Sonic The hedgehog

    cool! tails was looking for an easier way

  14. MCL

    Nice trick…thanks

  15. jack

    I personally don’t like this feature, but it is nice to know how to set it up for those that might need it.

  16. nadeem

    Hatts Off♥

  17. B

    Amon Amarth? Unreal

  18. ordinator

    The ‘select all’ check box only seems to appear in the ‘details’ view in Win7, while it is available in all views in Vista (very handy in thumbnail view of pictures). However, this is still my preferred method.

    Weird, a Vista UI feature I like more that the Win7…

  19. Alex

    Just FYI, this is enabled by default on tablet PCs :)

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