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 0.5.0.5 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
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).
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.
The option called Display as and Icon allows you to specify how the new item will be named and show in the navigation pane.
Once you set it and click "Add Folder", re-open the Explorer app. It will reflect your changes.
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:
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.
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.