How to Enable or Disable Preview Pane in File Explorer in Windows 8 and 8.1

information   Information
You can use the preview pane in File Explorer to see the contents of most files. If you select an e‑mail message, text file, picture, or video for example, you can see a preview of its contents without opening it in a program.

This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable the ability to show or hide the preview pane in File Explorer for specific or all users in Windows 8.

You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.


EXAMPLE: Preview Pane disabled in File Explorer

Click image for larger version






OPTION ONE
Enable or Disable ability to Show or Hide "Preview Pane" using REG File


Note   Note
The .reg files below are for the registry key and value below.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

NoReadingPane DWORD

0 = Enabled
1 = Disabled


1. Do step 2 or 3 below for what you would like to do.

2. To Enable File Explorer "Preview Pane" for All Users
NOTE: This is the default setting.

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below.

W8_Enable_Preview_Pane.reg

download

B) If you had set the Details Pane to "Always show", then this will also disable the Preview Pane. Details Pane should be enabled or set to "Always hide" (disabled) instead to be able to enable the Preview Pane.

C) Go to step 4 below.

3. To Disable File Explorer "Preview Pane" for All Users

A) Click/tap on the Download button below to download the file below.

W8_Disable_Preview_Pane.reg

download

B) Go to step 4 below.

4. Save the .reg file to the desktop.

5. Double click/tap on the downloaded .reg file to Merge it.

6. If prompted, click/tap on Run, Yes (UAC), Yes, and OK.

7. Sign out and in, or restart explorer to apply.


8. When finished, you can delete the downloaded .reg file if you like.






OPTION TWO
Enable or Disable ability to Show or Hide "Preview Pane" in Group Policy

NOTE: This option for using group policy is only available in the Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise editions.

1.
Open the all users, specific users or groups, or all users except administrators Local Group Policy Editor for how you want this policy applied.

2. In the left pane, click/tap on to expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, File Explorer, and open Explorer Frame Pane. (see screenshot below)

Click image for larger version

3.
In the right pane of Explorer Frame Pane, double click/tap on Turn off Preview Pane. (see screenshot above)

4. Do step 5 or 6 below for what you would like to do.

5. To Enable File Explorer "Preview Pane"

A) Select (dot) Disabled or Not Configured, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below step 6A)
NOTE: Not Configured is the default setting.

B) If you had set the Details Pane to "Always show", then this will also disable the Preview Pane. Details Pane should be enabled or set to "Always hide" (disabled) instead to be able to enable the Preview Pane.

C) Go to step 7 below.

6. To Disable File Explorer "Preview Pane"

A) Select (dot) Enabled, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

Click image for larger version

7. You can now close the Local Group Policy Editor window if you like.



That's it,
Shawn