If you are running Windows Vista and Explorer opens a new window each time you double-click a folder, you have discovered a lovely bug that even Microsoft Support doesn’t seem to know how to fix. Yes, of course you already made sure “open each folder in the same window” was checked in your file options, but it didn’t help. You’ve also tried to copy registry settings from a different machine with no luck.
The problem is, there’s a bug in Windows Explorer that corrupts the registry so that it is unable to cope with the realities of life (i.e., your designated folder options). Naturally, this situation ends up triggering prenatal Windows 3.1 instincts.
A little discipline is in order. Here is how to tell Vista to stop acting like a 3.1-year old:
- Run the registry editor as an Administrator (type regedit into a run dialog or use the start menu search and right-click to run as administrator)
- Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
- Delete the Explorer folder. Don’t worry, Windows will automatically recreate the folder. (The politically correct term for a registry folder is actually a “key”, which makes perfect sense if you’re drunk or criminally insane.)
If that doesn’t fix it, also do the following:
- Go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore\command and ensure that the (Default) value is empty. If not, you can clear it by right-clicking on (Default) and deleting it.
- Ensure that HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\open\command has its (Default) value set to %SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe
And if that doesn’t fix it, well, you can always switch to a different operating system.