<begin rant>

I really hate the way Search Results works in Windows 7.

You get something like this:

Enter image description here

...and, wanting to see the full path (why doesn't it show you that automatically, either by making that column wide enough by default or by showing a tooltip of the path when you hover?), I click where I estimate the invisible vertical line is (which worked in previous versions of Windows - why did they fix something that wasn't broken?!?), and that causes the file to open (opening a new instance of Visual Studio, which I definitely did not want). Change for change's sake is a "female dog" (no offense, Lassie)!

Even if you right-click the item and select Properties → tab GeneralLocation only shows a truncated version of a long file path.

What were they thinking?!?

</rant over>

So how can I view the full path in these search results?

  • 3
    I agree you, I dont know why MS ignored that essential thing.
    – T.Todua
    Aug 5, 2017 at 19:19

5 Answers 5


The sort of view you're using just seems like a waste of space to me. Why not switch to Details view instead? That's what I use and I just add a path column when required.

To add a path column:

  1. Right click the column header, select More...

    right-click context menu for folder detail column headers

  2. Scroll down and check path.

    more options for columns in folder detail

  • 20
    Oh, yeah, that's another thing - why isn't Details view the default? I always want windows full-size, I always want the folders in details view by defalt, and ... enough for now. Jul 5, 2013 at 20:17
  • 1
    Yes, I was fooled by the goofy presentation; once I changed to Design view, it works fine. Jul 5, 2013 at 20:32
  • 1
    Another thing I hate - how Word doesn't have an easy/obvious "Select All" context menu option any more - that's the thing I use the most. At home, it's not a problem, because I use Open Office, but at work I only have Word, so...frustrating! Jul 5, 2013 at 23:27
  • 1
    Is that a big problem? Why not just use Ctrl+A?
    – Karan
    Jul 5, 2013 at 23:29
  • 1
    I wasn't talking about this answer! I was saying that if you want to access Select All in Word in the old way you were used to (i.e. via the context menu), I can help you fix what Microsoft broke. The answer won't fit in a comment though, so you'll have to post a new question for it. I hope that's clear enough.
    – Karan
    Jul 11, 2013 at 1:11

I finally figured out that there are "Folder", "Folder path" and "Path" fields available.

Right-mouse-click over the "Folder" column heading to change columns that are displayed in the results and click "More..." at the menu bottom.

Scroll through available fields and check "Path" to activate it. Then uncheck the original "Folder" column.

DO NOT check the "Folder Path" column, because it will tell you the Path of the containing folder, in a similar way to the "Folder" column!

  • 4
    How can one make this default? I read it once when it first came out in a previous version of Windows (7? Vista? 8?), but now that I'm on Windows 10 and need to set it as default again, I can't remember how, nor find it on the web. Aug 24, 2015 at 2:28
  • 5
    This "Folder" the way it works, it should not even exist! How drunk someone would be to have an idea so dumb like this one? And BTW, what is the difference between "Folder Path" and "Folder"?
    – sergiol
    Feb 17, 2016 at 19:00
  • 2
    Such nice options they made available and such dumb defaults.
    – killjoy
    Apr 24, 2019 at 19:08

If it is just a single file, you can right click the file and open path location. Then, in the new location, click the explorer bar once and it will show the full path. However, that may become tedious if there are several files you want to check from the search results.

EDIT: Also, whenever I hover over the shortened path, it does display a tool tip of the full location. It only worked for me whenever my cursor was over the actual path text, ie C:\...\foo\...\bar. It did not work when I just hovered over the file in general.


You can pull out the complete folder path for the entire list in "search results" by dragging the column for folder path to the right. Drag the heading "Folder path".


To permanently set the search results to Detailed, and to replace the Folder column with Path, you can modify the registry. I referenced the answers here: https://www.tenforums.com/customization/126155-customize-file-explorer-search-default-columns.html

Note, this only changes the defaults for "Generic" search results. There are other templates for folders like Music, Pictures, etc, you can reference the above link to tinker with those.

To change the Generic defaults, apply the below reg settings. The key things are the LogicalViewMode:1 (for Details view), and ItemPathDisplay in the ColumnList value.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;Fixes search results defaults to Content view.
;Sets Details view as default search results view for Generic folders.

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU]

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags]

;Generic Search Results
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell\{7fde1a1e-8b31-49a5-93b8-6be14cfa4943}]



  • 1
    If you want to modify the FolderTypes entries, I recommend copying the key to HKCU and modifying those values. That way, if anything goes wrong, a simple deletion restores defaults. Glad you're getting use out of my postings at tenForums. Apr 15, 2021 at 20:41
  • Ah the famouse KeithM, thanks so much for answering that post and others I saw across the internet :) And yes, very good advice to anyone experimenting with these settings.
    – UnionP
    Apr 16, 2021 at 1:00
  • UnionP: I'd be inclined to upvote if you'd take KeithM's very good advice and edit this answer. It's otherwise ready to execute from a .reg file, correct?
    – Bob Stein
    Sep 4, 2021 at 14:14

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