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Reset Navigation Pane Expanded State in Windows 10 File Explorer

How to Reset Navigation Pane Expanded State in File Explorer in Windows 10

The Navigation pane is a special area on the left of File Explorer which shows the folders and system places like This PC, Network, Libraries and so on. You can make it automatically expand to the open folder, so it will show the full directory tree. The expanded state for the folders is saved to the registry. The next time you run the File Explorer app, it will automatically set the directory tree to the last expanded state.

The user is not allowed to customize the Navigation Pane because the user interface lacks the required options, but this is possible with a hack. See this article:

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

By default, the Navigation pane doesn't not automatically expand to the current open folder when you browse folders in the right pane. Here are a number of way to change this behavior. Check out Make the navigation pane expand to the open folder in Windows 10.

If you reset the expanded state of the navigation pane, this will make File Explorer 'forget' which folders you have expanded last time and use Quick Access as the default expanded folder. Here's how it can be done.

To Reset Navigation Pane Expanded State in Windows 10 File Explorer,

  1. Close File Explorer.
  2. Open the Registry Editor app.
  3. Go to the following Registry key.
    See how to go to a Registry key with one click.
  4. On the right side, right-click on the ExpandedState value and select Delete from the context menu.
  5. Alternatively, you can open a new command prompt and execute the following command: reg delete HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Modules\NavPane /V ExpandedState /F.

That's it.

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