Windows Vista Secret #8: Zoom in Explorer

The awesome guys from the Windows Vista Magazine revealed a great Windows Vista secret recently that I wanted to bring to a broader audience.

When you're browsing around the file system in Explorer, it's often useful to be able to quickly switch between different folder views. If you're looking at a folder with lots of long filenames, maybe the Details view works best. If you're looking at a folder with lots of photos, maybe a small thumbnail view works well; for a folder with lots of documents, maybe a larger thumbnail view works better. Now you can use the Views button on the toolbar to modify this - click the button to toggle between views or use the down arrow to get access to the slider - but it's quicker to use a shortcut. Simply hold down the Ctrl key and use your mouse scrollwheel to resize the icons from small to extra large.

What's really cool about this, as Jon points out, is that it also works on the desktop itself. If the desktop has focus, simply do Ctrl+mousewheel and you can go from the regular 48x48 icons to full 256x256 photographic-quality renditions. For those of you who have a desktop filled with documents and shortcuts, you can of course also use this feature to cram even more on your screen so that you never have to create a folder again!

Comments (8)

  1. Anonymous says:

    The first thing I thought while reading your blog post was "hey, maybe this also works in Internet Explorer" – and yes, it does 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was having a discussion over lunch today with a friend about some of the pain we’ve been separately…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nice!  Best Vista secret yet!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the link, Tim! You’re pretty awesome yourself 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    only problem is, if you zoom to big icons & back, it will completely trash your icon placement… i just spent 5 minutes arranging things again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Impressed by the fact that a so simple feature is even hidden to the common user and you need a "trick" to use it.

    More generaly I hate this evangelic way of promoting a product, via this website. We all know that Microsoft is after money like any companies, but why do they always have to address to the dummie ? with their smileys, the pseudo nice colors and fading but not able to provide a decent way of copying files when just one at the middle can’t be copied for whatever reason.

    Guys be carefull when you read this kind of website, this is ONLY a advertisment webiste. And the trick you have just read is a very simple feature they could have done years ago but waited to have them in a new sellable system, it’s not great or revolutionary or whatever.

  7. Anonymous says:


    remind me a lot FireFox, no? hum.

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