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.