Windoze

Remove Library and Favorites from Windoze Explorer

The Dirty Annoyance

Have you ever noticed how Microsoft is unable to produce good workflows in their products? Their products have settings, preferences and features all jumbled up in a horrible UI workflow. I suspect that many of are by design done so to create "market demand".

One of these annoyances is the Libraries and Favorites in Windows Explorer side panel. Windows Explorer has enough of a mess already in the side panel, and these sections just add to the mess. But we can remove them useless shortcuts and add the by default hidden ones!

This byte-hack works on Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10

Before - The Mess

After - The Tidiness

How To

There is no UI setting to perform this change, the setting has to be edited directly in the registry. Also the keys we need to change cannot be edit by user's accounts (not even administrator accounts), so we'll have to take ownership of these keys before we can change anything. Follow the steps below.

Removing Favorites

Setting up permissions
  1. Press WINKEY + R or Start > Run
  2. Type regedit and press ENTER
  3. Find the key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{323CA680-C24D-4099-B94D-446DD2D7249E}
  4. Expand it and right click on ShellFolder and select Permissions
  5. Click on the Advanced button. The Advanced Security Settings window will popup
  6. Click on the Owner tab
  7. Click on the button Other users or groups
  8. A Select User or Group window will popup. Type in your username and click Ok, and then Ok again to close the Advanced Security Settings popup window.
  9. Now in the Permissions for ShellFolder window (the first one we opened) click Add and type in your username and click Ok
  10. Check the square box on the lower panel called Full Control under Allow
  11. Finally click Ok to close the permissions popup window

Now your user can write to this setting

Changing the display settings for Favorites
  1. On the left panel of regedit select the ShellFolder key within HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{323CA680-C24D-4099-B94D-446DD2D7249E} and double click the Attributes dWord value.
  2. Change the value from a0900100 (ON) to a9400100 (OFF) and close the registry
  3. You'll need to reload the Windows Explorer process to see the change. So either reboot, Logoff OR reload explorer process

See below how can you restart the explorer process without rebooting or logging off.

Removing Library

Setting up permissions
  1. Press WINKEY + R or Start > Run
  2. Type regedit and press ENTER
  3. Find the key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}
  4. Expand it and right click on ShellFolder and select Permissions
  5. Click on the Advanced button. The Advanced Security Settings window will popup
  6. Click on the Owner tab
  7. Click on the button Other users or groups
  8. A Select User or Group window will popup. Type in your username and click Ok, and then Ok again to close the Advanced Security Settings popup window.
  9. Now in the Permissions for ShellFolder window (the first one we opened) click Add and type in your username and click Ok
  10. Check the square box on the lower panel called Full Control under Allow
  11. Finally click Ok to close the permissions popup window

Now your user can write to this setting.

Changing the display settings for Library
  1. On the left panel of regedit select the ShellFolder key within HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5} and double click the Attributes dWord value
  2. Change it from b080010d (ON) to b090010d (OFF) and close the registry
  3. You need to reload the Windows Explorer process to see the change. So either reboot OR kill explorer.exe.

See below how can you restart the explorer process without rebooting or logging off.

Reloading the Explorer process:

  1. Open Task Manager by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC
  2. Click on processes
  3. Select explorer.exe and click End Process. Click End Process in the popup that will appear. All desktop objects will disappear. Don't worry.
  4. Still on the Task Manager window click on the menu File and select New Process
  5. Type explorer and hit ENTER
  6. Finish! No more Libraries or Favorites

Activating the All Folders setting

If you removed both Library and Favorites you'll only have Computer and Network on the left panel. That's ok but not practical. It is best to activate the displaying of all folders. Follow the steps below to do that.

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window
  2. Right click on an empty area of the panel and select show all folders