How to copy, select and search text in ePub books using SumatraPDF

SumatraPDF has been our go-to PDF and ePub reader for quite a few years, and I’m sure that some of you may be using it too.

I’ll admit to using Microsoft Edge (Chakracore) occasionally to quickly view a document or two, but the solution is not as fast and usually not my top choice when it comes to that.

Tip: check out our EPUB reader overview here.

How to copy, select and search text in ePub books using SumatraPDF - issue

But with the new Edge-Chromium browser dropping support for ePubs and the fact that it will replace the other Edge, I stopped using it as a document viewer and rely solely on the light-weight reader.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me to help with an ePub. This was a textbook which he was trying to take notes from. But the problem was that the ePub’s text could not be selected, hence there was no way to copy content from it.

Now, if you find yourself with an ePub and want to search for text,  you may notice that the toolbar at the top  (which has the find tool) won’t be visible, so you can’t do that.

There is a very simple way to fix this, and it only takes a few seconds.

How to copy, select and search text in ePub books using SumatraPDF

1. Click on the menu button (in the top left corner) of SumatraPDF’s interface

2. Navigate to the Settings menu and click on Advanced Options.

3. A text document named “SumatraPDF-settings.txt” should open in Notepad (or your default editor).

4. Look for the line which says UseFixedPageUI = false. It’s under the EbookUI settings.

How to copy, select and search text in ePub books using SumatraPDF reader

5. Change the value from false to true, so it should read UseFixedPageUI = true.

6. Save the document, close SumatraPDF and re-open it.

Load the ePub document again in the program, and it should now have text that is selectable and searchable. That was easy, wasn’t it?

How to copy, select and search text in ePub books using SumatraPDF

There is a caveat to this. It breaks the document’s formatting, but the extent of it depends on the ePub.

That’s because the program doesn’t support XHTML completely (ePub is based on HTML). So, when you force the change, it renders it in HTML and the CSS style elements which aren’t supported are broken. If your ebook does not contain a lot of CSS formatting, it should work perfectly fine. I tested this with some free eBooks from Gutenberg and some textbooks, and the latter had some issues. But, there’s an easy solution for this as well.

Even if the document does not display perfectly, you may still use the feature to copy the text that you are interested in before you restore the preference to its default value.

SumatraPDF breaks eBook formatting

SumatraPDF’s stable version was updated sometime in 2016. But the program is still actively being updated frequently on the pre-release and daily builds. Download the latest one, and try the same fix which we mentioned above for enabling search, selection, etc. And you’ll find that the new builds may preserve the eBook formatting.

An alternative would be to use the Calibre program for reading ePubs. It does offer selecting text and the other options natively. But it has always been considerably slower to load, at least for me.

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Back to Basics: How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet

Today, in our Windows 10 beginner’s guide series, we’ll be looking at how to block Windows programs from accessing the internet.

Tip: check out some of the previous parts of the series, e.g. on changing default save locations or configuring programs to start on shutdown.

While it may work sometimes to cut the Internet connection, e.g. when installing Windows, it is usually necessary to use finer controls when it comes to blocking programs from communication with Internet servers.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Firewall step 2

The Windows operating system comes with a firewall that you may use for the purpose. While you may get a better experience when using third-party tools like like Windows Firewall Control, the built-in firewall is all that is needed to block programs from going online.

Before we show you how to do it, we’d like to discuss why you may want to block the Internet connectivity of certain programs.

Why would you want to do this?

Privacy is a core reason. We have seen applications phoning home, when they shouldn’t be (I’m looking at you CCleaner).  Programs may transfer data about your computer or Internet usage, your PC’s hardware, or other information, even files, to Internet servers.

Blocking internet access for programs is also a good way to prevent automatic updates. Maybe you want a program to stay on a specific version, e.g. uTorrent on a “clean” version or a version that comes without changes that you did not like, e.g. Bandizip’s upcoming changes that introduce ads in the free version.

Other reasons may include preserving data if your connection is capped or making sure that other applications get to use the full bandwidth.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet

Step 1: Open the Control Panel

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Control Panel

Open the Control Panel and click on the “Windows Defender Firewall”. If you have troubles locating the Control Panel use the shortcut Windows-Pause to open it, select Control Panel Home, make sure small icons are selected, and start Windows Defender Firewall.

Tip: you may also use our guide on opening Windows Control Panel applets directly.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Firewall step 1

Select Advanced Settings from the side-panel on the left.

Step 2: Creating rules

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Firewall step 3

We are going to create a new rule for the Firewall. So, we’ll need to select Outbond Rules from the left panel. Click on the “New rule” option on the right side of the screen.

An Outbound rule wizard window should pop up and it will have the “Program” option selected. Just click on Next to proceed.

Click on the browse button under the “This program path” box and an Explorer window should pop-up. You may also paste the path of the executable file (the program that you want to block) directly if you have it at hand.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Firewall step 4

Navigate to the folder which contains the executable (.EXE) of the program that you wish to block internet access for. Select the .EXE, and click on Open to add it to the Firewall.

You’ll be back on the Outbound rule wizard window, click on Next. Ensure that the “Block the connection” option is selected and click Next.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Firewall step 5

You now have to choose which networks it should be blocked on, Domain, Private and Public. If you are unsure, leave all three options checked and click on the next button.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Firewall step 6

Give the rule a name and add a description if you want (it is optional). I recommend using the program’s name for the rule’s name so you can identify it easily. Click on Finish, and you’re done.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet - Firewall step 7

Note: The description section can be left empty, or you could type something like “network not needed for usage, last known good version, or something similar”.

Repeat the process for every program that you wish to block from accessing the internet.

Tip: Programs like Windows Firewall Control display options to you when they notice Internet connections by programs for which no rules exist. They make this a bit easier as it just takes a click to block or allow connectivity.

Some programs may display news or ads, which are delivered from their own servers or from ad servers. In case you have an application which does something like that, you may want to create a Inbound rule using the steps that we have outlined in this article.

This method should work in Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well.

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Back to Basics: How to change the default save location in Windows 10

Continuing with our beginner friendly back to basics guides, this time we show you how to change default save locations in Windows 10.

The operating system saves all documents, pictures, music etc to the drive Windows is installed on by default: this has always been the case in prior versions of the OS as well.

While that is the desired location for many users, some may prefer different locations, e.g. to store files on another partition or hard drive that has more space.

Tip: check out other parts of the series such as Windows Shutdown Autostart Explained, our Registry backup primer, our this part of the network troubleshooting series.

How to change the default save location in Windows 10

Microsoft implemented functionality in the Settings application of the Windows 10 operating system that allows users to change save locations in a simple and straightforward manner. It just takes a few clicks to do it.

Previously, you had only a couple of options, e.g. to use symbolic links / NTFs junctions.

Why would do you want to do this? Storage space can be an issue for some users. For example, I have a 120GB SSD in my computer and Windows 10 is installed on it along with a few programs. It gets accumulated with media, documents, etc, fairly quickly. This is a big deal, because it not only takes up precious disk space, but it also becomes a chore to move the data manually from time to time.

How to change the default save location in Windows 10

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on System and then on “Storage” from the side-bar on the left.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, where it says “More Storage Settings”.
  4. Click on the text that reads “Change where new content is saved”.

You are taken to a new screen which displays the default save locations for six different types of data: Apps, Documents, Music, Photos and Videos, Movies and TV Shows, and Maps.

Each of these options is set to “This PC” by default. To change the default save location click on the menu next to a data type and pick one of the available locations from the menu that opens; Windows 10 lists all partitions that are available on the computer.

How to change the default save location in Windows 10 - choose a drive

How to change the default save location in Windows 10 - apply

If you want to change the save location of Apps, simply click the button next to the icon and select a different drive. Click on the apply button which appears. You will see a progress cursor, wait for a few seconds and it should be done.  You will have to repeat this for each of the 6 options if you want to change the save location for each of the data types.

Once you have done this, Windows 10 will save the data to the selected partition. You may have to re-open existing applications for the change to be reflected though.

Note: Windows will still create its Documents folder for each of the selected drives. It will be created in the following format: “UsernameContent Type”. For e.g. selecting D: as the new location for pictures on my computer created the folder in D:AshwinPictures. It’s too bad that you can’t pick a custom folder for the saved data, but this option should be fine for most users.

Windows 10 allows you to pick different partitions for different categories. Continuing with the previous example, you could select a different drive for Documents, say E:. You could set Music to be saved on F: and so on. It also lets you select other hard drives installed on the computer. So, you can use them for saving content as well.

But what about USB hard drives? Can I use those? If you have an external drive connected to the computer, you will see it listed as well. But I’d really only recommend using it for the save location, if the drive will be permanently connected to the computer.

Closing Words

Moving save locations to a different partition or drive is a welcome feature but it is a bit unfortunate that the folder structure itself cannot be changed at all. Windows 10 replicates the default storage path on the new partition and there is no option to change that.

Other than that, it is a good option for users who run out of space on their primary partition regularly.

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Where are desktop backgrounds (wallpapers) stored in Windows 10?

The Windows 10 operating system comes with a set of wallpapers and the ability to refresh wallpapers regularly from a pool of images. The following guide provides users of Windows 10 with instructions on finding these wallpapers on the local system.

Let’s say you want to use them on your other devices (smartphone, TV, Xbox One or PS4), or want to make a background image of the past the permanent background on the Windows 10 device. You need to know where to find these wallpapers, and that is the guide for that.

Even if you are an advanced user, there is a chance you may not know about it. You won’t find them in the Pictures folder, that’s for sure.

Where are desktop backgrounds (wallpapers) stored in Windows 10?

Where are desktop backgrounds (wallpapers) stored in Windows 10

Open File Explorer and navigate to the following folder or copy the path and jump to it directly: C:WindowsWeb.

This is not really an obvious place to find wallpapers, is it? One would think the folder is probably something related to the internet. The Web folder houses 3 sub-folders which are called: 4K, Screen, and Wallpaper. Surprisingly, all three folders have wallpapers and different ones at that.

The default Windows 10 wallpaper, which is the one with the light beams and the Windows logo, can be found inside the “C:WindowsWeb4KWallpaperWindows” folder. The name is once again a bit misleading because the 4K folder also happens to contain the wallpaper in several other screen resolutions like 1024 x 768, 1366 x 768, 1920 x 1200, 2560 x 1600 and 3840 x 2160 pixels.

You may have noticed that the aspect ratios of the wallpaper differs, so you may want to select the one that matches your device’s display resolution. If it doesn’t match the screen size, you can always resize the wallpaper using a tool such as Irfan View, Fast Stone Photo Resizer, Flexxi, etc.

The second folder “Screen” contains photos which the operating system uses for its lock screen and log-on screen. That is probably why the folder is named “screen”.

desktop backgrounds location in Windows 10

The Wallpaper folder has a number of sub-folders of its own: Windows and Windows 10, and then a number of folders based on past usage. You may have folders like landscapes, architecture, or flowers there.

If you are a fan of macro photography and nature, you will probably dig what’s in the Flowers folder. The Windows folder has one wallpaper, and that is the 1920 x 1200 pixels version of the default wallpaper. The Windows 10 folder on the other hand, contains some nice walls related to outdoor activities.


Another source of wallpapers are themes. These themes, you may install hundreds of them from the Microsoft Store, are not placed in the Web folder when you install them. Instead, they are placed in the user folder.

Use the following path as a starting point in File Explorer to browse the installed themes and the backgrounds they come with: %localappdata%MicrosoftWindowsThemes

Closing Words

Now that you know where to find the wallpapers, you can copy them to your other devices or maybe use it on a multi-monitor setup too. You can drop your own wallpapers in the folders in case you want to switch to a different one quickly from the Personalization section in the Settings app.

I have seen fan edited versions of the default wallpaper which look stunning. Some have different colors for the background while maintaining the art style, maybe you can create something similar with it if you are a graphics designer.

Which among the default Windows 10 wallpapers is your favorite?

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How to enable Ransomware Protection in Windows Defender and add custom folders to it

Windows Defender has been gaining a foothold steadily for the past few years. But there is one flaw in the antivirus that ships with Windows 10.

The option for Ransomware Protection is disabled by default even though it is available as a native option since the release of Windows 10 version 1709.

Initially I was bemused by this, but then I thought it is possible that Windows Defender could identify a legitimate application as a threat and block it, which is not something the user would want.

Quite a few third-party anti-ransomware programs exist and they do suffer from false positive issues as well. Check out our reviews of AppCheck AntiRansomware, Acronis Ransomware Protection, TrendMicro Ransombuster, or our overview of Anti-Ransomware software for Windows to get started.

How to enable Ransomware Protection in Windows Defender

For those unaware, ransomware is one the deadliest form of malware. It silently encrypts your data (pictures, videos, documents are commonly targeted), thus preventing you from accessing them.

It may even lock the bootloader when you reboot/turn off the computer. The malware displays a screen demanding a ransom from the user which usually involves a crypto-currency payment address that you have to send money to.

There is no guarantee that a payment will provide the unlock key required to regain access to files that the ransomware encrypted while it ran on the system. Ransomware attacks are often accompanied by a timer to add another pressure layer to the ransomware demand. Affected users are asked to pay the amount in time as they won’t be able to decrypt their files anymore once the timer runs out.

Decryption tools are available for some ransomware types but these are released after an outbreak usually and not available right from the get-go.

Many companies, hospitals, and users fell victim to ransomware already. You may have heard of the ruckus caused world-wide by the WannaCry ransomware back in 2017, and that is just one example of ransomware causing havoc worldwide.

Besides being very cautious when using the computer, there are only a few options to protect against ransomware attacks. Two of the most effective are backups and security software that protects against ransomware.

How to enable Ransomware Protection in Windows Defender

1. Open the Windows Security Dashboard by double-clicking on the Defender taskbar icon (or use the Settings app and select Update & Security > Windows Security).

2. Click on Virus & Threat Protection.

How to enable Ransomware Protection

3. Scroll down to Ransomware Protection.

4. Click on Manage Ransomware Protection (click Okay on the UAC pop-up if it is displayed).

How to enable Ransomware Protection 2
5. On the next page, you will find a toggle for Controlled Folder Access. Enable the option. That’s it.

Most antivirus programs use behavioral scanning to prevent zero-day attacks (new or unidentified malware). In other words, they monitor your computer’s services, applications, anything in the background, for suspicious activity. For example, when an otherwise harmless file tries to gain access to your documents folder to execute a script that encrypt the files in it, Windows Defender will stop the malware to protect your data. It’s a sort of intrusion prevention or anti-exploit method.

By default, the Ransomware Protection only covers specific folders. To view the ones that are secured, click on the Protected Folders option. It’s just the User folders like Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Desktop, Favorites by default.

Tip: Add blocked programs to Controlled Folder Access’ whitelist

So, what happens if a ransomware targets files in other folders? The files are affected unless the ransomware is quarantined before it starts to encrypt files on the device. Fortunately, there is a way to secure them.

There is an option on the top of the Protected Folders screen, which says “Add a protected folder”. Click on it and choose any folder you want and it will be protected by Windows Defender. The folders can be on any partition or hard drive: they will be secured by the feature.

How to add folders to Ransomware Protection 3

This method is not completely fool-proof but it’s better than nothing. You might want to backup your data to an external drive regularly as well. Don’t forget to checkout ConfigureDefender for more control.

Usually we ask you to share what programs you use. This time, I want to ask you something else. Have you ever seen a computer affected by ransomware? How was it dealt with?

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How to enable Clipboard History in Windows 10 and customize it

Windows 10 has a ton of features baked into the OS; one such feature is the Clipboard History which some find mighty useful, others not so much.

It has been around for about a year but in case you haven’t used it, here’s a tutorial.

The Windows Clipboard stored a single entry for the longest time. Whenever you put something into the clipboard, all what was stored in it was erased. If you wanted the clipboard to store multiple entries, you had to use third-party programs like Clipboard Master.

The Clipboard History feature unlocks multiple save slots to store multiple items in the clipboard for later use. The feature is available in recent versions of Windows 10 but it is disabled by default.

How to enable Clipboard history in Windows 10

How to enable Clipboard history in Windows 10

  • Open the Settings app and navigate to the System screen.
  • Locate the Clipboard option on the side-bar, and click on it.
  • The right-pane should display the corresponding options. The Clipboard History option has a toggle beneath it which you can click to enable or disable depending on its state.

Now that you have enabled the feature, it’s time to test it to find out how useful it is. To do so, use the following shortcut: press the Windows and V keys together. A pop-up window will appear on the screen.

It should be empty now because you just enabled it and have not copied something to the clipboard yet. The popup confirms that the history feature is enabled.

Try copying something to the clipboard, e.g. a line from this guide. Now open the Clipboard History panel again and you should see the copied text now on the screen. Try copying something else and it should also be visible on the panel along with the older content.

This can be very useful in case you accidentally copied something else to the clipboard but don’t want to type it again. In fact, text is not the only content that is stored in the history. It also works with images that you copy to the clipboard. That’s really handy but that’s just about it. You can’t use it to recover files that you copy to the Clipboard or other data.

How to use Clipboard history

Now that you know how to enable and view the Clipboard History, there are a few ways that you can use it. To paste content from the history place the cursor in the application that you want to paste the content into, e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Word, Excel, or any location that accepts text input.

Once you have done that switch to the Clipboard History pane and left-click on the content. It will be pasted at the cursor location instantly.

Advanced Options

You can optionally choose to sign in to your Microsoft Account to save the Clipboard History to the cloud. The option for this is available at the Clipboard settings screen. If you choose to enable it, the history will be synced across other devices that you sign in to.

So, you can copy something to the clipboard on your PC and sync it with your phone or another Windows PC or device that you use.

Personally I don’t use this as clipboard content may contain important data. Speaking of which, you can manually clear the clipboard by clicking the X next to each entry or use the Clear Clipboard option in the Settings screen to delete all the data that was stored previously.

Have you noticed the pin icon next to each entry in the Clipboard History? You can use it to pin specific items to the panel.  It is a little odd though, because in most programs pinning something puts the item at the top of the screen. Pinned items in Clipboard History are instead saved from being deleted when you clear the clipboard. Well, I suppose it works like a real board where you pin and remove stuff.

I love this feature but I wish that the panel would stay in the background instead of automatically closing when I switch to another app.

You can try some free alternatives like ClipAngel or CopyQ if you don’t like Windows’ Clipboard manager.

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How to reset the Screenshots counter on Windows 10

Microsoft improved the screenshot taking functionality of Windows in Windows 10 significantly. The operating system comes with plenty of options to take screenshots, and one of the easiest options is to use the keys Windows+Print for that.

A new screenshot is saved to the default Screenshots directory on the system whenever you use the keyboard shortcut.  You can open File Explorer manually and select Pictures in the sidebar to open it, or load %userprofile%PicturesScreenshots directly instead anywhere provided that an address bar is available.

Windows assigns file names to screenshots automatically. Each file name begins with Screenshot but since file names need to be unique, a counter is added to the file name. Windows increases the counter by 1 each time you take a new screenshot on the system. The index is incremented by 1 automatically so that you end up with names like Screenshot (1).png, Screenshot (2).png and so on.

windows 10 screenshot number filename

The counter is not reset, even if you delete files in the Screenshot directory or move all files to another location. Windows remembers the last used number and will increment it by 1 automatically.

Option 1: Resetting the Screenshot Index in the Windows Registry

Windows keeps track of the index in the Registry. You may reset it easily provided that you have elevated privileges on the system to edit the Registry.

Here is how that is done:

Step 1: Opening the Registry Editor


  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-R to open the run box.
  2. Type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key. This should load the Registry Editor.

Step 2: Navigate to the right key

registry key

  1. Paste the following Registry path into the address bar in the editor: ComputerHKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorer
    • You may use the hierarchy on the left to go there manually as well if you prefer that.

Step 3: Backup the Registry key (Optional)

export registry key

It is recommended that you back up the relevant Registry keys before you make changes to the Registry. The step is optional but recommended.

  1. Right-click on Explorer in the left sidebar and select Export from the context menu.
  2. Select a filename for the backup of the Registry key and a location on the device.

Step 4: Edit the ScreenshotIndex Registry value

windows screenshot index number

Windows stores the current index in the Dword value ScreenshotIndex under Explorer. All that needs to be done to reset it is to change the data value of ScreenshotIndex.

  1. Double-click on ScreenshotIndex in the right pane in the Registry Editor.
  2. Replace the value in value data by setting it to 1.
  3. Click ok.

The next screenshot that you take using Windows-Print will be Screenshot (1).png. A restart of the system is not necessary, changes apply right away.

Option 2: Reset using a Registry file

reset screenshot index

You can speed up the resetting of the screenshot index on Windows 10 by using a Registry file instead. All that is required in this case is to double-click the file to reset the counter.

  1. Download the Registry file with a click on the following link: 
    Reset Screenshot Counter Windows
  2. Verify the Registry file by opening it in a text editor.
  3. Double-click on the downloaded file.
  4. Windows displays a verification prompt. Select yes to apply the change to the Registry, or no to cancel.


Windows picks the next possible number automatically even if you reset the index to 1. If Screenshot (1).png exists in the Screenshots folder, Screenshot (2).png is automatically selected by Windows.

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Fix "Optimization Not Available" in Optimize Drives in Windows

Microsoft’s Windows operating system runs maintenance tasks including disk analysis and defragmention regularly on its own.

Most Windows users and administrators don’t need to run these manually anymore, but there are cases where you’d like to do so.

I checked Optimize Drives recently and discovered that Windows refused to run on two of the hard drives. Windows displayed “Optimization not available” as the status, “unknown” as the media type, and “never run” as the last run date and time.

You can access the Optimize Drives tool by right-clicking on a drive in Explorer, selecting Properties from the context menu, and opening Tools > Optimize.

optimization not available

The analyze and optimize buttons could not be used in the window as they were not active. My first assumption was that this might have something to do with encryption, as both volumes were encrypted and only mounted when I needed to access data on them.

Two solutions came to my mind: try the command line version of defrag to see if it would work, or use third-party defragmentation software like Smart Defrag, Vopt, Defraggler or Live Defrag. I decided to try the command line tool defrag first as it is a first-party solution.

Fixing the “Optimization not available” issue

defrag optimize drives

You need to launch an elevated command prompt to get started. If you are on Windows 10, use the shortcut Windows-X to display the “hidden” menu and select Command Prompt (Admin). You may also open Start on any version of Windows, type cmd.exe, right-click on the result, and select run as administrator to launch an elevated command prompt window.

The core command is defrag and you may want to start running defrag /? to display all command options. Microsoft has a handy reference on the company’s Docs website that explains each of the parameters and gives some examples.

You may want to run an analysis first. The analysis returns the fragmentation status of the drive and gives a recommendation.

defrag p: /A

The command analysis the fragmentation status of the drive P on the device. You need to change the drive letter if it is not drive P that you want to analyze. The command defrag c: /A would analyze the C drive instead.

You may defragment the drive if the drive is fragmented, e.g. when Windows recommends that you should defragment the drive.

defrag p: /U /V

The command runs the defragmentation operation on drive P. The parameters U and V echo progress and information on the screen while the operation takes place.

You will notice that defrag runs fine on the drives even though Windows’ “Optimize Drives” tool refused to run these operations.

Tip: If you want to defrag SSDs, use the parameters /L and /O as well. It instructs defrag to run a trim command after the operation completes and to run the proper optimization for the media type.

Other parameters of interest are:

  • E — To perform the operation on all drives except those that you specify.
  • C — To perform the defrag operation on all drives.
  • X — To consolidate free disk space on the volumes you specify.

Closing Words

If Windows refuses to run defragmentation operations on a drive in “Optimize Drives”, use the command line version of defrag instead to run the commands.

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How to disable file groups in Open dialogs in Windows

The next Windows 10 version may group files automatically in open dialogs. When you use the open option to load files in Windows 10 version 1809 or earlier currently, e.g. to open an image in an image editor or an archive, you get a single list of files sorted by recency.

Microsoft’s next version of Windows 10, Windows 10 version 1903, and newer versions may change the default behavior.

Instead of listing files in a single list, it may group files by date-based criteria. The screenshot below shows an open dialog with the three groups “today”, “yesterday”, and “earlier this week”.

windows open dialog disable groups

Groups are not a new feature in Explorer. I talked about them back in 2008 in Windows Explorer Tip: Show In Groups already, and they have been a part of Explorer for some time before that.

While that may be useful at times, especially if you know when a file was modified the last time, it is problematic if you don’t have that information but just the file name.

Since files in each group are sorted individually, you’d have to go through each group to locate the file or files. An alternative to that would be to use the search option to find the file that way, but that might delay the operation further depending on the number of files in the folder.

You may notice that there is no View menu available to disable the grouping of files. There is still an option to do so, but it is hidden from sight.

All you need to do is right-click on a blank space in the file listing, e.g. on the right to select Group By > (None) from the context menu to disable the automatic grouping of files in open dialogs.

view group by open dialog

Windows disables grouping immediately after you select none. You may browse a single file listing again just like before after doing so.

The context menu displays other options that you may find useful, e.g. to change the sort order or view options. Those are accessible directly in the open dialog window, however.

It is unclear if Microsoft is testing the change currently on select systems or if it will be the new default for all users when Windows 10 version 1809 is released.

Now You: Do you prefer file groups or a single file listing?

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