Add custom folders or Control Panel applets to Navigation Pane in File Explorer

The ability to customize the navigation pane area was what many users wanted in modern versions of Windows. Unfortunately, out of the box, Windows does not provide an easy way to change items visible on the left in File Explorer. With recent releases, Microsoft made possible to hide Favorites and Libraries, but it is still not possible to add custom items or remove items like This PC or Homegroup without using Registry hacks. Today, I would like to show how to change this and add custom folders or Control Panel applets to the Navigation Pane in File Explorer.

With the recently released version of Winaero Tweaker, you can customize folders present in the Navigation pane of Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7. With the help of my app, you can also remove any of the predefined folders like This PC/Computer, HomeGroup, Network etc or add any custom folder there. Let's see how this feature works.

Add a custom folder to the navigation Pane of File Explorer

In Winaero Tweaker, there is a new option under Explorer \ Navigation Pane - Custom Items. custom items

By default, its list is empty, since you have not added anything yet.

Here you can add a custom folder or a Control Panel applet (shell location).

To add a custom folder to the navigation pane, click the button Add custom folder to get this dialog: navigation pane - add custom folders

Under Select folder, use the Browse button to find the desired folder. For example, let's add the C:\Users\Username\Appdata folder, as that's where many applications store their settings and data. You can add any folder you want instead. navigation pane - add a folder

The option called Display as and Icon allows you to specify how the new item will be named and show in the navigation pane. navigation pane - custom folder dialog
Once you set it and click "Add Folder", re-open the Explorer app. It will reflect your changes. navigation pane - custom folder added

Add Control Panel items to the navigation pane of File Explorer

The same can be done for Control Panel items, as follows.
You can add special shell locations to the navigation pane. For example, let's add the popular God Mode shell location, which displays all Control Panel settings in one big list, and the folder called "Network Connections".

To add Control panel items to the navigation Pane of File Explorer, you need to press the Add Shell Location button. In the next dialog, you will see a long list of available shell locations on your computer. These include a number of hidden shell locations you might have never seen and almost all the Control Panel applets. Tick the desired items to add them all at once: navigation pane - add an applet

Click on the Add button and re-open File Explorer. You will get the selected items added to the navigation pane: navigation pane - applets in NP

Hide default items from the navigation pane of File Explorer

Using Winaero Tweaker, you can hide unused items of the navigation pane. In Windows 10, you can also restore Favorites to the navigation pane and hide the Quick Access item. Just untick the items you want to hide under Explorer \ Navigation Pane - Default Items.

navigation pane - default items

That's it. Under the hood of this feature, there are a number of complex Registry tweaks, which Winaero Tweaker does for you quickly and saves your time. Feel free to leave your suggestions and opinions about these features of Winaero Tweaker in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Add custom folders or Control Panel applets to Navigation Pane in File Explorer

  1. James

    I launched a version for Windows 7, added folders and shell, but these are duplicated on the desktop. My Win7 is x64.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Ah, thank you.
      It seems to be a minor bug.
      I will fix it in several minutes.

      1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

        Fixed, please re-download.

        1. James

          Thanks, now is fine )

          p.s. Realization of bookmarks is handy. It`s cool. They are stored in the registry? What key I need to export to transfer them to another PC ?

          1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

            HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\\Winaero Tweaker\Favorites

  2. David Coleman

    How can I change the order?

    1. MJ

      I searched (using a search term of the custom icon location to find it) for the entry in registry under: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\
      Then I added a DWORD called SortOrderIndex with a value of 49 to move my custom folder to the top of the navigation pane as example. Hope this makes sense?

  3. Conrado

    Please, add an option to sort all items (default and custom) together. For instance, I’d like to place one custom shortcut before the default ones.

  4. Tom

    thanks alot for this app, but i have a problem. i would like to rename 2 custom shell icons in my explorer navigation pane, for example “control panel” and “recycle bin” are showen in english, i would like to rename it to german like the rets of my os. any tips are welcome.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      I will add the appropriate option.

      1. Tom

        thanks for the fast response, any idea when you will publish it?

        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Later this month.

  5. Tom

    thanks mate, your program really supports me in my switch from win7 to win10.

  6. Arthur

    Could you please tell me how tp add a custom folder to the navigation Pane of File Explorer with regedit. I can never remember all the tweaks I make so I am making a reg file for new installs


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