I like the way windows 7 explorer allows me to organize all my files by sorting columns - except there is little room for customization: I can't add my own types of columnns that can then be directly edited. By directly edited I mean a column like "Name", where you click on the row value and you can type right in explorer. All other columns I have seen in explorer has such as "Comments" also does not allow for this type of editing.

I am looking for a way to either modify windows explorer, or find/modify a program that would allow for the following types of things:

  1. Add 3 columns ("Rating_1", "Rating_2", "Rating_3"), all of which would act similar to the rating column in iTunes.
  2. Add a "MyTags" column, and when the row of this column is clicked, it directly allows you to type in a tag. (the available tag column does not allow direct editing)
  3. Add a "MyNotes" column, and when the row of this column is clicked, it automatically allows you to fill the field with words (much like an excel cell). (There does exist a similar type of column in windows 7 explorer, but you need to right click to open a window, then make your note, then press OK, which is annoying to use)


Also great would be to have the ability to change the column values of many rows at once.

Are there existing software / databases / projects that allow for these types of customizations to a GUI database like explorer, or maybe an add-on to explorer? I hope to avoid any programming (at least from scratch) since I'm no master programmer, and I have never programmed a Windows-based GUI. I can't really gauge the difficulty of the problem if I even tried to approach this programming problem myself - maybe there are challenging data management issues?


I’m afraid that just isn’t possible with Windows Vista and up. In the past, there were shell-extensions that you could install which would create custom columns, (few of which supported in-place editing), but as of Vista, the mechanism that allowed for custom columns was removed, leaving developers no (practical?) way of implementing custom columns whatsoever.

For example, you can read a rant/technical explanation from the author of the popular Folder Size shell-extension. Also see the blog for Folder Size with its innumerable comments begging Brio to update it to work with Vista and various proposed work-arounds, sadly, none of which have been successful as well as the forums and trackers on its SourceForge page.

An alternative would be to use a different shell/file-manager like xplorer2 which works-around the limitation, Total Commander, and the like.

  • Thanks for the link - I had a feeling there might a barrier of some sort.... do you know of a windows program (opensource or not) that would do what I would like? – youzer Jul 20 '12 at 20:05
  • You could use an alternate shell or file-manager. – Synetech Jul 20 '12 at 20:11
  • thanks synetech. do you happen to know which of these excels in custom column control? – youzer Jul 20 '12 at 21:56
  • Well none of them are actually Explorer, they are third-party file-managers, so technically all of their columns are “custom”. I don’t think there’s anything that has specifically what you want, but you could try contacting the devs to request they add the feature (especially if it’s a commercial one you pay for, but then again, also if it’s and open-source one). – Synetech Jul 21 '12 at 0:39

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