How to add custom folders in This PC in Windows 8.1 or remove the defaults

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has introduced a set of folders inside the This PC folder (Windows 8 had the Folders category hidden).
These folders are:

  • Desktop
  • Documents
  • Downloads
  • Music
  • Pictures
  • Videos

In other words, Microsoft just provided quick access to the main folders inside user profile. This is very convenient, because you have 1-click access to these folders when you open File Explorer using Win+E hotkey.

Besides, not every modern desktop app uses the newer Open File dialog with the navigation pane and Favorites. Many desktop apps still use the older Open dialog, which has Recent places and opens in the Computer/This PC location by default. Folders inside This PC are especially useful for that older dialog.

You may want to customize the folders shown in This PC, e.g. remove some built-in folders and add one or more custom folders. I would like to share an exclusive tutorial which will show how to add custom folders to This PC in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8, or remove any any of those folders.

One of my friends, Gaurav, discovered a hidden secret trick which allows you to add any folder into This PC. While we were happy when we discovered this trick, the method to add folders is not easy for the average user. It requires ActiveX manipulation and some other non-trivial tricks. So, we decided to make it simple and useful for everyone. I made a new version of my freeware, This PC Tweaker, which allows you now:

  • to add any folder to the This PC Folder in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8
  • to remove any folder from This PC
  • to change the icon for any folder in This PC
  • to add some shell location like God Mode or Recycle Bin inside the This PC Folder.

Note, you cannot change the icon of special shell locations added to This PC, you can only change the icons of custom folders you add yourselves. I designed this intentionally to prevent you from breaking Control Panel. Believe me, this is required.

Follow these simple instructions below to customize your This PC folder.

How to add a custom folder into This PC in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

  1. Download This PC Tweaker. It is a free portable app and does not require to be installed.
  2. Extract the contents of the zip file you have downloaded and choose the appropriate version for your PC. This PC Tweaker works with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Also, there are different versions for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows (see how to determine which version of Windows you are running).
  3. Run the ThisPCTweaker.exe file. The application's main window will appear on the screen:
    This PC Tweaker
  4. Click the "Add Custom Folder" button. The Select Folder dialog will appear. Click on the folder that you would like to see in This PC. For example, let's add my portable apps collection in there:
    Select Folder
  5. Click the Select Folder button, and the folder you selected will be added to This PC.
    Folder is added
  6. Let's set some fancy icon for the folder we just added. Select it in the list and click the "Change Icon" button.
    Change Icon
    Choose some nice icon.
  7. That's it. Close the This PC folder and open it again to see the changes:
    This PC
  8. You also can make the folder you added visible in the navigation pane. Select it in This PC Tweaker and tick the "Show in the navigation pane" check box.
    Show in the Navigation PaneThe folder will appear in the navigation pane:
    Navigation Pane
  9. Also, you can add some shell locations to This PC (see the most comprehensive list of shell locations in Windows 8 if you are not familiar with them). There is a special button called "Add Shell Location". Click on it and pick some useful shell location to be added in This PC:Add Shell Location
    It will be visible in This PC:
    This PC Customized
    As I mentioned above, one limitation is that you cannot change the icon of the shell location. Not a big deal, right?

How to remove folders from This PC in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

  1.  In This PC Tweaker, select one folder. Hold the CTRL key on the keyboard to select multiple folders.
    Remove Selected
  2. Click the Remove Selected button. The selected folders will be removed from This PC:
    This PC less folders

See the following video if you have any questions:

Closing words
As you can see, This PC Tweaker is a powerful freeware tool which allows you to easily customize the This PC folder in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Using this app, you can have only your favorite locations inside that folder and get rid of the rest.

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25 thoughts on “How to add custom folders in This PC in Windows 8.1 or remove the defaults

  1. Johnny

    Awesome tool! This is what i wanted.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome

  2. matt

    this is amazing… this should be a right click option in windows… the software designer has more sense than Microsoft.

  3. Ming

    It would be great if we can add Shell Locations such as “shell:DocumentsLibrary” or “shell:MusicLibrary”. Is it technically possible?

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Well, I think it is possible, because they have CLSIDs.
      I will try tomorrow.

  4. Mimg

    Hi Sergey,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I await news!

    best regards

  5. Ming

    Hi Sergey,

    Did you try to add a shell location such as “shell:DocumentsLibrary” in the Folder pane ? Is it successfull ?
    I’m searching on how to add a file in this pane too. No technical resources, it’s a bit hard.


    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Hello. I have not tried.
      I will try this tomorrow when I will be near my Windows PC.

  6. Ming

    Ok, Thank you very much

  7. winaeroUser

    I am hoping to use this tool to create a shared picture folder for my and I – we have separate accounts on the pc. I first created a shared folder at a location outside /Users/me and /Users/wife. I adjusted the permissions so that both my wife and I had full control. I then invoked PCTweaker to add the shared folder to my ‘This PC’ folder. It worked. So far so good. Than I logged onto my wife’s account intending to invoke PCTweaker and add the shared folder to her ‘This PC’ folder, but to my surprise, the folder was already there. Yikes – I hadn’t added the folder to her account yet? When I added a custom folder to my account, did I automatically add it to all accounts? If there was a /User/nebbyJoe account, would the shared folder also show on their ‘This PC’ folder?

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      The folder you added will be added to all users accounts. This is by design.

  8. Adam Bona

    Can not remove selected file. Error details:

    See the end of this message for details on invoking
    just-in-time (JIT) debugging instead of this dialog box.

    ************** Exception Text **************
    System.InvalidOperationException: This access control list is not in canonical form and therefore cannot be modified.
    at System.Security.AccessControl.CommonAcl.RemoveQualifiedAcesSpecific(SecurityIdentifier sid, AceQualifier qualifier, Int32 accessMask, AceFlags flags, ObjectAceFlags objectFlags, Guid objectType, Guid inheritedObjectType)
    at System.Security.AccessControl.DiscretionaryAcl.RemoveAccessSpecific(AccessControlType accessType, SecurityIdentifier sid, Int32 accessMask, InheritanceFlags inheritanceFlags, PropagationFlags propagationFlags)
    at System.Security.AccessControl.CommonObjectSecurity.ModifyAccess(AccessControlModification modification, AccessRule rule, Boolean& modified)
    at System.Security.AccessControl.CommonObjectSecurity.RemoveAccessRuleSpecific(AccessRule rule)
    at WinaeroControls.API.Permissions.RetrieveRegistryRights(String RegPath, RegistrySecurity& NewRegSec)
    at ThisPCTweaker.Form1.RestoreThisPCCategory(String CLSID)
    at ThisPCTweaker.Form1.btnRemoveSelected_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Button.OnMouseUp(MouseEventArgs mevent)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WmMouseUp(Message& m, MouseButtons button, Int32 clicks)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.ButtonBase.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.Button.WndProc(Message& m)
    at System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

    ************** Loaded Assemblies **************
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.18449 built by: FX451RTMGDR
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Windows/Microsoft.NET/Framework64/v4.0.30319/mscorlib.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version:
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Users/Adan/Desktop/x64/ThisPCTweaker.exe
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.18046 built by: FX45RTMGDR
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Windows.Forms/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.Windows.Forms.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.18022 built by: FX45RTMGDR
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Drawing/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b03f5f7f11d50a3a/System.Drawing.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.18045 built by: FX45RTMGDR
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version:
    CodeBase: file:///C:/Users/Adan/Desktop/x64/WinaeroControls.DLL
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.18058 built by: FX45RTMGDR
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Configuration/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b03f5f7f11d50a3a/System.Configuration.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.18058 built by: FX45RTMGDR
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Xml/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.Xml.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.18046 built by: FX45RTMGDR
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_64/System.Data/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.Data.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.17929 built by: FX45RTMREL
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Core/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.Core.dll
    Assembly Version:
    Win32 Version: 4.0.30319.17929 built by: FX45RTMREL
    CodeBase: file:///C:/windows/Microsoft.Net/assembly/GAC_MSIL/System.Numerics/v4.0_4.0.0.0__b77a5c561934e089/System.Numerics.dll

    ************** JIT Debugging **************
    To enable just-in-time (JIT) debugging, the .config file for this
    application or computer (machine.config) must have the
    jitDebugging value set in the section.
    The application must also be compiled with debugging

    For example:

    When JIT debugging is enabled, any unhandled exception
    will be sent to the JIT debugger registered on the computer
    rather than be handled by this dialog box.

    1. Please Don't Be Annoying

      Please Don’t Be Annoying – AGAIN – Please Don’t Be Annoying. You took up about 3 or 4 pages in the comment section with a crash log. People like you disgust me. That information might be beneficial to the developer but not in the fuxin comment section. Don’t be a douchebag and next time submit a proper bug form or contact the developer via e-mail like a normal person. This site admin is cool and very helpful but this is not the way to go about asking for help. Nobody cares about your one problem not working on your computer. You are probably just missing a dependency anyway. Make sure that .net is upgraded and that you have all version 1-3. As of a while ago you only needed 2 or 3 installers to get all 4 versions and also make sure you have all vsredist 2005-2015 and I’m guessing as I dont know the dependencies I mean for all I know it could be made with qt. Just ask him what dependencies are needed or google ” x program not working”. It would have been appropiate to ask what dependency is needed here but no more

  9. mostafa

    My friend
    Thank you so much
    It was very useful for me

  10. lisha

    thx a lot brother :-)

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are always welcome

  11. Spark Cruz

    So Microsoft doesn’t allow us to add simple shortcuts to a screen without having to resort to hacks?
    Way to go Microsoft! redmond coders have serius issues…

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Windows is full of really STUPID restrictions.

  12. deusxxxxxxx

    This is what I regret about switching to windows. Simple things that should be possible/or you can’t figure out without google..

    Anyway, thanks for your great program!!

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Thank you for kind words

  13. rosdi

    Very good tool!… Thank you very much!

  14. Brian

    Great. But can how can I add a custom library to this list.

    I created a custom library called “Projects” that includes folders on two different hard drives. I want to display this library under the “This PC” or “[CURRENT USER]” folder. These folders display the built-in libraries (music, documents, etc) but not any custom libraries.

  15. Geoff

    Ah Brilliant.
    Just started using Windows 10 and this is just what I have been looking for.
    Oh if everything in life was this simple.
    Give this man a gold star!

  16. Paul Randleman

    Hey again, I’m the guy who discussed the internet kill switch with you (not the one obama was planning to [censored] us in a state of emergency by cutting us off from getting the news or any information in an emergency state of panic but the literal one for you pc: internetoff.exe) and I wanted to say the winareo tweaker needs a damn BACK BUTTON, like imagine as if it had similar flow as control panel on windows 7+

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      The navigation needs to be improved, I agree. I will implement it for sure.


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