What Is The EASIEST & FASTEST Means Or Way To Reaccess A Folder I Recently Closed in my Windows 7 64-Bit Operating System?

Hello. I have a question.

The issue:

Many times when I am deep within my Windows system directories to access a file or yet another sub-folder I want since many of my subfolders and files are efficiently stored in that fashion on my system (stored in layered hierarchy of system directories). It takes a several seconds to complete the 'mouse clicking' process of getting there though the Windows Explorer directories on my Windows 7 64-bit system. It can be a tedious pain to do this each and every time. I do not desire to have shortcut links on my desktop or the Windows Start Menu since there are too many Windows directory locations that I often access and I do not want to have my desktop full of shortcuts! I also do not want a folder on my desktop or WIndows Start Menu containing those sub-folder or file items within it either.
Reason: Since there would be TOO MANY established system shortcuts for various directories to evaluate in order to determine which sub-folder I recently accessed. It would be just EASIER and FASTER to manually find the sub-folder or file parsing though the system directories/file paths in that case as I do now.    

HOWEVER, the MAIN issue is this:

There are many times when I close a subfolder directory [For simplicity, we will call a 'subfolder' as a 'folder' from this point on; even though 'subfolder' is what it is.] after accessing the file(s) in it and then after I closed it, realize I need to reopen it again for whatever reason -- may times seconds later. NOW, I am aware in the Windows  Start Menu you have a link to "Recent Items >" that I can access, but that lists the FILE(S) ONLY, and NOT the FOLDERS. What if I want to open a FOLDER if I just closed it seconds ago again???

Now, I am not sure of the *EASIEST* (that is the FEWEST mouse clicks, mouse hovers, typing,  touches, and opening windows) to re-access that folder I just closed moments ago?

Probable conclusions posed as questions for answers I am looking for:

1. Is there some native Windows feature that will accommodate me to re-access the recently closed folder moments ago in Windows 7 I am not aware of?

2. Is there some free or paid third party program in cyberspace that can be installed for Windows 7 that will accommodate me to re-access the recently closed folder moments ago in Windows 7 I am not aware of?

3. Is there a hack-like Windows system modification (involving the system registry and/or the system directories) would be to enable "Recent Items >" to also keep a record of recently access folders as well as files. I do not know if that is even possible.  

Obviously, the systemic mechanism and methodology to such a program or feature would involve the ability to track a user's movements as a user accesses files or folders on your system in some capacity in order for it to work I would assume.

Please provide your own best possible well written, detailed and documented website links hopefully with images and demonstrations along with the instructions and/or your personal suggestions, hints, and tips. Thank you!!

DO NOT USE LMGTFY.com or similar-like web links in your reply. I consider its use very unprofessional for EE experts. If you do, you will not get acknowledged and receive no credit.

NOTE: This is applicable to a personal computer and not a network based computer.

Please reply.

Thank you!
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEConnect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:
I've been using a fabulous file manager called Total Commander for many, many years:

Here's a screenshot that I'll be referring to:

Note in the screenshot that it utilizes a left-side/right-side dual-pane paradigm. It has numerous features that will assist in what you're trying to achieve, viz.:

(1) It has a customizable toolbar (calls it the Button Bar) with many options. One of the options is <Go back directory>. In many cases, a tap or two on this icon (a left arrow) will get you where you want to be. It also has a <Go forward directory> option (icon is a right arrow). Both of these can be seen in the screenshot, between the open lock and the FTP icon.

(2) Previously visited folders show up as tabs across the top (as many as can fit). You can see these in the screenshot beginning with <*c:0tempC>. The asterisk means this tab is Locked, which is a great feature for frequently visited folders. A folder that you visited seconds ago will always be in one of these tabs.

(3) It has a Directory Hotlist. When the tabs aren't enough, you can add often-used folders to this list.

(4) It has a History List. This shows a list of the most recently visited folders. A single click will take you to any of them. I just tried it and there are 23 in the list.

It is not free, but it is among the best 46 dollars (USD) that I've ever spent. Well, I probably spent less many years ago when I bought it (and all upgrades have been free), but that's what a personal license costs today. Also, the personal license grant is generous. Here's a quote:

"The registered version may be installed on as many computers as desired, as long as it is used by only one person at any one time (I.e. one installation at home and one at the office used by the same person). Therefore you need only one licence for a port connection between two computers. The usage by multiple people at the same time (on multiple computers) requires additional licences."

The product does lots of other stuff, such as having an FTP client, folder synchronization, file comparison tools, etc., but I have limited my response to addressing just your issue. Btw, the support is fabulous. When I send an email to tech support, I always get a prompt, accurate answer. In more than a decade of using this file manager, from Windows 95 through my current 64-bit W7, it has never messed up a file.

As a disclaimer, I want to emphasize that I have no affiliation with this company and no financial interest in it whatsoever. I am simply a happy user/customer. Regards, Joe
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
You don't say what operating system you're using, but some versions of Windows, in "Recent Items", you can right-click on the file and selelct "Open File Location"
RegulaOneAuthor Commented:
@ paulmacd & anyone too:

Hello. Nice to meet you, paulmacd. Thank you for your comment.

The operating system I do mention in the title, content, and the tags above. Again, it is Windows 7 64-bit.

Yes, I agree with you on when you state, "in 'Recent Items', you can right-click on the file and selelct 'Open File Location' ". There are many times when I access the folder itself without accessing the file within the folder in terms of opening it for example, and I see that "Recent Items" does not take that into account and it is not registered with "Recent Items".  

That is why I need a means to quickly and easily reaccess recently opened file AND FOLDERS.

I hope that brings some clarity to this issue.  

Do you have any ideas? Please reply.

Thank you!
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Paul MacDonaldConnect With a Mentor Director, Information SystemsCommented:
Yes, sorry, I glossed over the title.  

I'm afraid I have little else to add.  It is possible to configure Windows Explorer to open a new window every time you browse to a new folder.  I find this cumbersome, but in your case it might afford you easy access to a folder you just closed (because its parent would still be open).  

Another possible answer would be to leverage the address bar and type your way to your destination.
sakmanConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There may be tools out there, but natively in my Win7 Explorer window under "Favorites" I have these two items listed: Recently Changed (for files) and Recent Places (for folders).

For each of those I have the layout view set to "Detailed" and then sorted on date.

I can click between each of them to access the most recently document or folder changed.  But this does not necessarily mean "accessed but unchanged" which may be what you are looking for.

RegulaOneAuthor Commented:
@ paulmacd:

Hello again. Thank you for your comment.

I like your idea posted in your second comment in how to relates to thought of "originality". Yes, very interesting. It would be effective most often if I "immediately" closed the folder window. Why? Obviously, if I purposely closed a folder window where I already had two folders window already opened; I would naturally close the other folder window after that. I am not going to leave a folder window I don't need open remain opened. There are 'many' situations where I close the folder window 'long before' I ever realized I needed to reuse it. Now, if by *accident* and/or *it was immediate* that I closed one of the folder window (and I could have a few situations) where your answer would be my solution. Yes, in that case, your answer would be an outstanding and best solution. I find your answer 'partially' useful, but an answer and solution none-the-less.

Thank you!

@ sakman:

Hello again. Nice to meet you. Thank you for your comment.

I am not sure of what you mean by "Win7 Explorer window under 'Favorites' "? I may be unaware of "Favorites" in terms of "Windows Explorer"; but I am aware of "Internet Explorer's 'Favorites' ". Please elaborate on this. I would like to listen what you have to say. You are elaborating on your methods that sound very appealing. I need some further explanation.

Please reply.

I would like to hear what you have to say.

Thank you!


Hello. Nice to meet you. Thank you for your comment.

Okay, I see you use an alternate to Windows Explorer and the program you recommend. I am also looking into the paid version of explorer2 (That is squared with the numeral 2.) as an alternate to Windows Explorer since ironically at this time I agree with most experts that you need something to replace the poor Windows Explorer Microsoft offers. I heard Windows 8 is supposed to dramatically improve their Windows Explorer. We will see.

I totally appreciate your answer since it IS a solution as you have demonstrated. May I ask, what do you think of paid version explorer2, if you have an opinion or factual statement to make? I know these two programs/products are feature loaded, provide a wide array of features that have many similarities, competitive, and both are recommended by experts. I am searching paid version of explorer2 and I am not sure if it includes or not ALL the points you mention in Total Commander you have noted in your comment that relate to my issue regarding a quick return back to folder I recently closed? Common sense says both these Windows Explorer alternatives have them since it seems as such a 'very simple' feature.

Please reply.

I would like to hear what you have to say as well.

Thank you!

I meant what Windows 7 calls Libraries.  Clicking on the Libraries icon brings up a list of libraries, computer drives, and - at the top - a list of "Favorites".  

Under the link Recently Changed are recently edited files and under Recent Places are recently accessed folders.

Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi RegulaOne,

I have never used the Pro (paid) version of xplorer². I installed the free version for one user to emulate "file cabinets" for her. The "dual pane" view of xplorer² is perfect for her, because the left pane shows the "drawers" of the file cabinet (folders/subfolders) and the right pane shows the "documents" (files) in each of her "drawers". For this particular user, I thought that xplorer² would be better than Total Commander. But I don't know if xplorer² (either the free or paid version) can do what you need with respect to accessing recently closed folders. I do know that Total Commander can do it. I've been using Total Commander as my file manager in Windows for 15 years or so, and have been so happy with it that I've never seriously looked at another file manager. My one suggestion other than Total Commander is a product called Directory Opus, which I've heard good things about from people whose opinion I trust, although I've never tried the product myself:


Regards, Joe
RegulaOneAuthor Commented:
@ sakman & anyone:

Hello again. Thank you for our comment.

Yes, I follow you! I see what you are saying regarding "Libraries". Interesting. I never investigated this. However, in my "Library" there is ONLY "Recent Places". There is no "Recently Changed" available like you have. First thing that comes to my mind, 'there must be some system setting that needs to be turned on in order to have it in "Library". I will address that shortly.

Now, second thing that comes immediately to my mind, you mentioned in you first comment that, "I have these two items listed: Recently Changed (for files) and Recent Places (for folders).".  Well, I already have the "Recent Places" icon there in "Libraries" as I just said above. Therefore, as you indicated "Recent Places (for folders)" is what I need to answer and as a solution to my issue, I am all set! Oh, ONLY PARTICALLY answered. Why? If I open a folder ONLY without ever opening and accessing a file in that folder, "Recent Places" will NOT register that folder action. Of course, I bet your are saying that why would you not be in a folder if you want to open a file? That is very true. That is not an issue then. But there are times when I just want to see the folder and the items (files) inside it and close the folder, then later access the folder.  Let's face it, I will be accessing the files in their folders MOST OF THE TIMES. Oh, I guess I cannot have it all!    

Now, back to the fist little issue I said in my first paragraph directly above I will now address:

However I would like to also have the missing "Recently Changed" as you have. So I researched this new issue and I found this from a reliable website:


and the same question/thread more complete with comments here:


Per this forum: It appears "Recently Changed" was a feature in Windows Vista that was later removed when Windows 7 was released. If a user 'upgraded' from Windows Vista to Windows 7 you 'may' still have "Recently Changed" as part of Windows 7 in the "Libraries". If a user did a 'clean install' of Windows 7, you will not have "Recently Changed" appear, only "Recent Places". I see. So that explains it since I did a clean install myself. HOWEVER for some good news, their moderator provides this solution to restore it (on the same website's webpage as the links I have just provided):

I found a way to make this work.
1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to:
C:\Users\your name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

(Note: AppData is a hidden folder. If it is not visible, go into Folder and Search Options/View tab and select the 'Show hidden files, folders, and drives option.)
2. In the Navigation pane, right click Favorites and select the Add current location to Favorites option.
3. Select the Recent folder in the Favorites links.
4. Make sure the files are in the Details View. Hover the cursor over the Date Modified column header and click the Arrow to expand the options.

You can use any of those Date and Time options to sort and display the files that were modified on that date.

I have tried this method and at step 2 and step 3, the user creates a "Recent" as the author states or I call which it really is "Recent Items" now in a user's "Libraries" -> "Favorites" which is SIMILAR, BUT NOT ALIKE  to the "recent Items" found in your Windows 7 Start Menu. However the "Recent Items" between these two locations I have tested is different too. The "Recent Items" in the "Libraries" is more comprehensive allowing to provide folders and files that have been opened, where the "Recent items" in the Start Menu ONLY allows for files that have been opened. Completing the step 4 with "Date Modified" above will give the user it 'appears' the which would be the same "Recently Changed" results found in Windows Vista for Windows 7's "Recent Items" depending how you customize your search results. My personal question: Is this system modification truly the same to what I would receive in Windows Vista's results like this system modification in Windows 7 where all conditions and variables are the same??? Good question.

Again, like "Recent Places" as I have mentioned further above in this comment, this newly created "Recent Items" ALSO will NOT register a folder action without ever opening and accessing a file in that folder.

I also found this very interesting as well with some more searching at this website:

http://www.bnet.com/blog/businesstips/access-your-recently-changed-files-quickly-with-this-windows-7-taskbar-tweak/8061 or website parent homepage: http://pilesforwindows.net/ 

Interesting the "tweak" is called "Piles for Windows". I have tested it by installing it and it works great with customizable features. This ends up being a third party program that is a solution.  

So in my search or hunt to 'fix' a Windows issue, I found more answers and solutions to my issue.  

Again, thank you!

@ joewinograd:

Hello again. Thank you for your comment.

I appreciate your honest and sincere comments on your personal experiences and knowledge. Regardless of your knowledge of xplorer2, I KNOW from testing that YOUR answer WORKS regardless if I only access a folder or the file within the folder as I detailed in my comments to sakman. I just need to decided and further test on my own which replacement to Windows Explorer I NEED & WANT!

Again, thank you!
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome. Looking forward to hearing what you select and how it works out for you. Regards, Joe
RegulaOneAuthor Commented:
@ paulmacd, sakman, & joewinograd:

Hello. I personally want to thank each one of you for your thoughtfulness and ingenuity for answers and solutions for me.

Now, the awards in terms of points and solution titles. Yes, this time like many of my past questions/threads where I did a good job explaining my reasoning in detail in my last comment posted so I will refrain much in this comment from that. I will provide quick summaries for the awards to this question/thread.

Okay, joewinograd will get the "Accepted Solution" since there is no issues just opening and closing  a folder regardless of opening a file or not using a third party program. Because paulmacd's second comment with second answer and solution and sakman's  answer and solution do provide partial answers that can still be working solutions that will work as backups if needed, these EE expert comments will receive the "Assisted Solution" title since I define their rationale in my comments in my last two comments in detail above for each EE member. In terms of practicality I have not addressed between paulmacd's second comment with second answer and solution, and sakmand's answer and solution is more efficient than paulmacd's second comment with answer and solution since I let the Windows 7 system do the work per se with its internal functions ("Recent Places").  

In terms of 500 total points now, here is the breakdown with rationale:

1. joewinograd - Accepted Solution - no known issues:  WORKS regardless if I only access a folder or the file within the folder. Efficient and improves Windows Explorer functionality - 300 points
2. sakman - Assisted Solution - issues, but not completely; common issues:-  WORKS but, only if I access  the file within the folder to register with "Recent Places". Efficient to use since it is part of Windows 7 - 150 points
3. paulmacd's second comment with answer and solution - common issues: Obviously, if I purposely closed a folder window where I already had two folders window already opened; I would naturally close the other folder window after an *accident* and/or *it was immediate*. Less efficient - 50 points

Again, thank you ALL for your help!
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