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Disable the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer

Tara writes:

I did a search the other day in Windows Explorer in Vista. When the results came up, for some reason I had the preview pane on the right side. I don’t want it there and can’t find out how to get rid of it. Can you help me?

Tara, there is nothing more irritating than having your computer do something you didn’t want it to, and then not being able to fix it. (Well, there are probably things more irritating but we’re not talking about them.)

Okay, let me show you how to get rid of the preview pane in Vista’s Explorer. It’s pretty easy to do.

First, left-click to open any Explorer folder. For this tutorial, I will make a new folder, call it Any Explorer Folder and save it to my desktop.

In the screenshot below, you will notice that the Preview pane is open on the right side. Now go up to the top of the screen. Directly above the white part of the screen is a bar (it’s teal in the screenshot).

This bar has three things listed on it: Organize, Views, and Burn. We are only concerned with the Organize option.

See the little white triangle that points down directly to the right of Organize? Left-click on it.

After you left-click on it, a menu will drop down. Look down the menu until you see Layout (it has a little black triangle that points to the right and is a little over half way down the menu). Hover your cursor over it, and another small menu will pop up. It will look like the picture below:

Notice how the Preview Pane and the Navigation Pane have light blue squares around each icon. Whenever the icons are like that, they are enabled. In this menu, only my Details Pane is not enabled.

Here we want to disable the Preview Pane, so we left-click on it. It will no longer be surrounded with a blue square. And my Preview Pane is gone, and now (if you have stuck with me through this tutorial), yours is, too.

After you left-click on Preview Pane to disable it, this is what it looks like:

And that’s it! Now you know how to get rid of it.

Thanks for writing, Tara!

~ Lori Cline