A+: Switching Viewing Choices in Windows Explorer

Changing Viewing Options in Windows Explorer
By default, Windows Explorer prevents users from seeing information such as
• File extensions for registered file types; for example, a file called LETTER.DOC will be displayed as LETTER because WordPad (or Microsoft Word) is associated with .DOC files.
• The full path to the current folder.
• Files with hidden or system attributes, such as Bootlog.txt and Msdos.sys.
• Folders with hidden or system attributes, such as INF (used for hardware installation).
Concealing this information is intended to make it harder for users to “break” Windows, but it makes management and troubleshooting more difficult.  To change these and other viewing options, follow this procedure:
Step 1. Start Windows Explorer.
Step 2. Click Tools on the menu bar, Folder Options and select the View tab.  

In Windows Vista, the Menu Bar is hidden by default. To show it temporarily, press Alt+T (which in this case will bring up the Tools menu). To show it permanently, click on the Organize button, then Layout, then Menu Bar.

          Step 3. Select the options you want. Experienced end users may benefit from:

    • Enable the Display the Full Path in the Title Bar option. (In Vista, this only works if you are using the Classic theme.)

    • Disable the Hide Extensions for Known File Types option.

For maintaining or troubleshooting a system, these may also help:
• Enable the Show Hidden Files and Folders setting.
• Disable the Hide Protected Operating System Files setting.
You should probably change these settings back to their defaults before you return the system to normal use.
Step 4. Click OK to close the Folder Options window.
Objects such as files and folders can be displayed in several ways within Windows Explorer:
Tiles— The default in Windows XP, is similar to Large Icons view in earlier Windows versions.
Icons— Displays more objects onscreen without scrolling vertically; might require the user to scroll horizontally to view multiple columns; similar to Small Icons view in earlier Windows versions. Vista has options for small, medium, large, and extra large icons.
List— Displays more objects onscreen than large icons in a single column.
• Filmstrip— A preview of picture files in larger size at upper right, with smaller pictures a la thumbnails underneath it of adjacent files  
Details— (Vista and 7 only) The same size of icons used by Small or List, plus size and last-modified date details 
Stacks (Vista and 7 only) group to specifications of the users - can be filtered, and also saved as a virtual filter or as Search Folders