The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt. --Bertrand Russell

Windows Explorer Opens Search Window When Clicking a Folder

Overview

For some inexplicable reason in Windows XP when you click on a folder in Windows Explorer, a search window pops up rather than simply opening the folder.

The Problem

I suspect this is a very rare problem, but I spent 2 hours yesterday trying to figure it out so thought I'd share my experience.

First I'll explain the problem. In Windows Explorer if you click on an ordinary folder you'll get a search window instead of a folder view listing the folder's contents.

First, here's an ordinary view in Windows Explorer

If you right-click a folder, you see that Search is the default action.

Now click or double-click the folder to open its contents as you normally would. You get a search window instead.

How did this happen?

You have probably been playing with 'Folder Options'. I'm not exactly sure what caused the problem in my case, but I was trying to change icons for file types when this problem arose.

The Solution

You would think there would be some easy way to change the default action in the context menu. If there is I didn't find it.

A simply registry edit will fix this issue.

The key to change is:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Shell\Default

If you have this problem, then it's likely your Default key has a value of nothing. Change the value of the key to the string: "none".

That should do it. If you actually had this problem and this article helped leave me a message. I'm wondering if anyone will every read this?

(if you haven't edited the registry before just type 'regedit' at a command line. Be careful, you can corrupt your system if you change something without knowing what you're doing.)