27 Mar 2013

How to Customise Your Windows File Open Dialog Without Downloading Software

NB! This guide is for power users. DO NOT ATTEMPT if you are not comfortable using Regedit or know how to back up your registry. You make these edits at your own risk!

default windows places bar in file open dialog to customize

You can save a considerable amount of time over the years by replacing the default icons in the Open Dialog box with your own most common file location. Today I finally got it set up with my personal favourite locations today and its really streamlining my process. Thought I’d share how to do it.

There are 2 methods I will go into: Using Regedit or Local Group Policy Editor

The Regedit Method:

Open Regedit.exe and navigate to the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ comdlg32 \ Placesbar

If the comdlg32 and Placesbar keys do not exist you will need to create them.

Inside the Placesbar key create a new “string value” (by right clicking inside the Placesbar key).


Rename the new value Place0. You can create up to 5 entries: Place0, Place1, Place2, Place3, Place4. You don’t have to define all five places, but they must be defined in numerical order.

To define the target folder for a PlaceX value, double-click on the value name. In the Value data edit box on the Edit String dialog box, enter the full path for the location you want to add to the Places Bar and click OK.


You can also define a target folder using a numerical value for system folders. There is a table below listing the numerical values for the different system folders. To define a target folder using a numerical value, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value the same way you created the String Value.


Enter a numerical value in the Value data edit box. Use the values from the table below the image.


The following “DWORD” values can be used to add standard folders to the Places Bar.

00 – Desktop
01 – Internet Explorer
02 – Start Menu\Programs
03 – My Computer\Control Panel
04 – My Computer\Printers
05 – My Documents
06 – Favorites
07 – Start Menu\Programs\Startup
08 – \Recent
09 – \SendTo
0a – \Recycle Bin
0b – \Start Menu
0c – – logical “My Documents” desktop icon
0d – My Music
0e – My Videos
10 – \Desktop
11 – My Computer
12 – My Network Places
13 – \NetHood
14 – WINDOWS\Fonts
15 – Templates
16 – All Users\Start Menu
17 – All Users\Programs
18 – All Users\Start Menu
19 – All Users\Desktop
1a – \Application Data
1b – \PrintHood
1c – \Local Settings\Application Data
1d – – Nonlocalized startup
1e – – Nonlocalized common startup
1f – Favorites
20 – Temporary Internet Files
21 – Cookies
22 – History
23 – All Users\Application Data
24 – WINDOWS directory
25 – System32 directory
26 – Program files
27 – My Pictures
29 – – x86 system directory on RISC
2a – – x86 C:\Program Files on RISC
2b – C:\Program Files\Common
2c – – x86 Program Files\Common on RISC
2d – All Users\Templates
2e – All Users\Documents
2f – All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Administrative Tools
30 – – \Start Menu\Programs\Administrative Tools
31 – Network and Dial-up Connections
35 – All Users\My Music
36 – All Users\My Pictures
37 – All Users\My Video
38 – Resource Directory
39 – Localized Resource Directory
3a – Links to All Users OEM specific apps
3b – USERPROFILE\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\CD Burning

Select Exit from the File menu to close the Registry Editor.

The Local Group Policy Editor Method

NOTE: You will need to be an administrator to open the Local Group Policy Editor. The Local Group Policy Editor is only available in the Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions, it is not included in the Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium editions.

Open the Start menu, and type gpedit.msc in the search line and press Enter. (NOTE: This file is located at C:\Windows\System32\gpedit.msc.) Or access it through Control Panel by running a search for “edit”:

Local Group Policy Editor in Control Panel

  • In the Local Group Policy Editor, open the following branch: User Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Windows Explorer | Common Open File Dialog.
  • Double-click the Items Displayed In Places Bar policy.
  • Click Enabled.
  • Use the Item 1 through Item 5 text boxes to type the paths for the folders you want to display. These can be local folders or network folders.

Click OK to put the policy into effect.

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