Enable or Disable Compact Mode in File Explorer in Windows 10

Learn how to enable or disable compact mode in Windows 10 File Explorer. As of version 21337, Windows 10 uses a new layout for File Manager. It now has extra padding in the file list and navigation bar. Microsoft has done this to achieve a consistent look across all apps in Windows 10, which now includes many touch-enabled shopping apps.

File Explorer is one of the oldest Windows applications. It was first introduced in Windows 95 and plays an important role in the operating system. First of all, this is the default file management program. Allows you to create, copy, move and delete files and folders. In addition to file management, Explorer.exe implements the command line – the desktop, taskbar and desktop icons are part of the Explorer application. The Start menu used to be part of the shell, but that’s no longer the case in the new versions of Windows 10.

The file explorer is improved with each version of Windows. For example, Windows 8’s file explorer has the ribbon and bar DeepL, which are now available in Windows 10.

Starting with File Explorer version 21337, the default format includes additional padding between items.

File explorer with additional filled-in items

File browser with compact mode enabled

A new setting in the view options, called Use compact mode, can be used to restore the classic feature density.

In this post, you will learn how to enable or disable compact mode in Windows 10 File Explorer. There are two methods you can use.

Page Contents

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Enable or disable compact mode in Windows 10 File Manager

  1. Open the file explorer.
  2. On the View tab of the ribbon, click the Folder Options command.File Management Options button
  3. In the File Explorer preferences dialog box, click the View tab.

  1. In the Advanced Settings list, enable (check) or disable (check) the Use compact mode for what you want.

  1. Click Apply and OK.

You’re done.

You can also apply a registry setting to turn this option on or off. That’s the way to do it.

Enabling or disabling the use of compact mode in register

  1. Open the Registry Editor application.
  2. Navigate to the following registry key.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced
    Learn how to access a registry key with one click.
  3. Modify or create a new 32-bit DWORD value UseCompactMode on the right.
    Message: Even if you are using 64-bit Windows, you must create a 32-bit DWORD value.
  4. Set the value to 1 for a compact layout.

  1. A value of 0 disables this and places additional padding on the user interface elements.
  2. For the registration setting changes to take effect, you must log out and log in to your user account. You can also restart the Explorer shell.

You’re done.

To save you time, you can download the following registration files.

Download ready-made recording files

The archive contains the following files.

  • Enable compact mode in File Manager.reg – Enables classic item density in File Manager.
  • Disable compact mode in File Manager.reg – restores the default wider view of Windows 10 File Manager.

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