Tweak windows 11 file explorer.


djaccess2

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Hi there,

I am doing this topic today because I have a question about the feasibility of a modification to the Windows 11 file explorer.

Here is the situation: I am configuring the new windows 11 computer of an elderly and blind person, who is having a lot of difficulty with the change. This person was using windows xp no more than a week ago and was doing very well with it, habits and haunts having been integrated for several years. Unfortunately, her computer is no longer working and she has to upgrade to windows11. After doing several searches, I succeeded in modifying the system enormously, lightening it, removing all applications, unnecessary services, reconfiguring the taskbar, XP-style start menu with Open-Shell, all the modifications possible with ExplorerPatcher, I checked everything, including the windows 7 menu bar in the file explorer which helped a lot, the x32 list view in the explorer, the removal of the search box, in short, I did a very big job on this machine which looks like windows 98 now and which is nevertheless very, very fast!

Nevertheless, I come to you because there remains only one option which causes problem for this person, it is the button to sort the elements by name, by types etc… In the file explorer. Since this person is blind, they have to navigate a lot with the tab key on the keyboard and often come up against the sort and reorder button, which is right after the list of items in the file explorer. This button also shows up in save and open dialogs and wastes a lot of time. Do you know if there is a tweak to make this button disappear, like I was able to make the search box disappear with ExplorerPatcher?
Thank you very much in advance for your much appreciated help!
 

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glasskuter

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Welcome to the forum. I'm sorry but I'm not following. Could you please post a screenshot. Sometimes, I need a visual. Are you referring to sort and reorder in MS Office?

Please advise your blind friend that there will be times a windows update breaks one or more of your tweaks so they can expect change. Most times the developers of third party tools are fairly quick to alter their software accordingly. With 22H2 around the corner, who knows what we can expect.
 

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On the part of Office, the Open choice on File or the Toolbar icon does not appear to open the full File Explorer, same for other programs such as WordPerfect, so some settings won't be available.
 

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djaccess2

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Hello,
Thank you for your answers. For the moment, I am unfortunately unable to provide a screenshot, at worst if you really need a screenshot I can reproduce the configuration of his computer in a virtual machine.

I'll try to explain what I mean in another way. It's not about ms office at all. I'm talking about the sort and reorganize button that you can see in the file explorer, when you're in the this pc window for example. This was added with windows 7 or windows vista at the time it seems to me, in any case there was not this with windows xp.
 

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Berton

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By Sort do you mean this or maybe something in the View or settings on the 3 dots?

1661968034839.png
 

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djaccess2

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Yes, exactly, I want to hide in the file explorer window the buttons for sorting name, type, modify, total size, etc…

I would also like if possible to hide these same buttons that appear in the save as and open window.
 

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Berton

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Yes, exactly, I want to hide in the file explorer window the buttons for sorting name, type, modify, total size, etc…

I would also like if possible to hide these same buttons that appear in the save as and open window.
In some cases that used to be called the Ribbon, on Win11 I don't see a way to disable in File Explorer.
 

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djaccess2

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Alright, thanks for your help anyway, I'll keep looking! I am convinced that there is a way, given all the tweaks that exist to modify the system in depth.
 

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Berton

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Since File Explorer, and the older Windows Explorer, is pretty much the core of Windows it may require a third-party solution.
 

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glasskuter

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With as many tweaks as you have made, I would be concerned about issues in the future, especially if you start messing around with file explorer.
 

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djaccess2

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Why should I care about future problems by modifying the system this way?

I completely disabled windows update so no update will break anything, I had no choice.

I understand that normally windows 11 is not designed to work this way but with the default parameters and settings, despite having taken the time to teach the use and the changes to this user, it was not possible. This person has only known Windows XP and was very comfortable with it, until just a week ago, with a bit of internet browsing, listening to music, etc.
It must be understood that in addition to the handicap everything is done on the keyboard and that with age and the bit of knowledge, a change which seems quite minimal for the average user can have a devastating impact for a person in this situation.
 

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imanlien2020

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Why should I care about future problems by modifying the system this way?

I completely disabled windows update so no update will break anything, I had no choice.

I understand that normally windows 11 is not designed to work this way but with the default parameters and settings, despite having taken the time to teach the use and the changes to this user, it was not possible. This person has only known Windows XP and was very comfortable with it, until just a week ago, with a bit of internet browsing, listening to music, etc.
It must be understood that in addition to the handicap everything is done on the keyboard and that with age and the bit of knowledge, a change which seems quite minimal for the average user can have a devastating impact for a person in this situation.
Even disabling windows updates doesnt mean Microsoft wont force an update on you. It blows in my opinion. I mean its a control issue for sure.
I have been eyeing these lite windows versions on sites im on that are bare bones stripped down versions and even modded for colors and themes etc. Only reason I havent installed one of those is because my thing would be..is theres an update it will wipe out all that so i stick to public release these days.
 

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Berton

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I can understand your feeling but since we are only paying for a License to use Windows, whether included in an OEM computer or Retail, it's just a thing to accept. Or move on to one of the free Linux versions IF there are required programs that will run on it, not many proprietary programs that will. Same goes for Mac OS X or the newer macOS. Or we could do like some failures in the past and try to create our own look-alike version of Windows. I started a new career in a computer shop a week after retiring building computer running MS-DOS 5 and later with Windows 3.1 and Windows NT 3.51 and later. I migrated through each newer version except never owned a Windows ME or Windows Vista computer even though had to work on them.
 

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glasskuter

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Why should I care about future problems by modifying the system this way?
But you aren't going to be the one using it. The disabled user will be. That's who I would have concern for. Having a disability is enough for one to have to deal with in his/her life. From your comments I take it you have attempted to get through to this person about the changes but was unable to do so. I would have suggested classes if any are available in your area. Many colleges offer them as do local senior centers. High schools deal with disabled students. Possibly a trained teacher could be hired for a few tutoring sessions.

I'm not the best or most patient person in the world when it comes to explaining things verbally. Instead of twisting the OS inside out, maybe all it would take for this person to understand would be working with someone accustomed to dealing with disabled people.
 

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Uhuru

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I think the entire approach may be wrong, you're trying to recreate a system that the user learned to over many years , because XP had virtually no accessibility features.

Instead you should be leveraging all the improvements in accessibility features of a modern OS.

You state she is "Blind", and disabled.
I don't mean to be picky, but how is she even using windows XP if she's blind?
I was born actually blind in one eye, luckily I have good sight in the other eye, but there's a huge chasm between being "Legally" Blind, and actually blind. My situation gives me a foot in both camps.

What do I mean?
Stick your finger behind your back, and look using the finger nail. That is actual blindness.
Not the blackness you see, when you close your eyes.
While being legally blind can be just as debilitating, as actual blindness, for most legally blind people, it means they still have some limited form of vision, and have learned to lived with a gradual deterioration of their vision over time.
This tends to lead to clinging on to that remaining vision, even when a clean break may offer a better solution.

I get that sort of impression, from your vague description, and would suggest a fully accessibiloty featured OS
It could be that W10 would be better suited, using audio triggers for both input, and output may be a better way to cope.
You seem to be more focused, on your debloating W11 project rather than providing what the user actually needs.

If you can't persuade them that modern accessibility improvements may be the better option for them, as you've gone down the Open-Shell route already, why are you not just using Classic Explorer?
If recreating an XP style interface is the main goal, W10 (or W11) with, Classic Start Menu, and Classic Explorer (Even Classic IE if required), would solve all those issues. With Classic Explorer, you can even go full old school, and customize to the before XP ways.

I'm no expert on Classic Explorer though, I have that one good eye, and require dark mode, and like my tabbed explorer too much.
In fact I used a 3rd Party File Manager, (FreeCommander XE) to force my own Dark Mode, until W10 added it, I ignored Explorer.
 

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djaccess2

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Hello,
Thank you for your answers.

First, on a Linux system, this is impossible. This person uses proprietary software and in addition, I have absolutely no knowledge with this operating system to be able to help if needed.

Regarding courses to follow to use windows 11 to its full potential, this user has no motivation or interest at all, which is completely understandable I think. When habits have been ingrained for several years and the change will not bring anything useful, you have to understand that for some people it is very difficult to adapt to this and it is something to respect.

Regarding the accessibility of Windows XP, it is very accessible for a completely blind person (the case of the person I am currently helping) because it is very light and devoid of heavy functionality and it uses an external screen reader to Windows much more complete than the best accessibility feature that Microsoft could integrate. In short, this classic interface suits him and it works very well at 99% even on windows 11. There is just this situation with the button to sort the elements in the file explorer, but even if we cannot find a solution, he will learn to live with it, it would just be a huge plus.

Regarding Classic explorer, I may not have looked at the parameters well but I had not managed to make it work. I had checked Windows XP style navigation pane and that didn't change anything. How to get the file explorer of older versions of Windows with classic explorer? Because indeed, I think that by proceeding in this way, it would solve all the problems.
 

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Berton

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How about the File Manager from Windows of the '90s, maybe 3.1 or 3.11 or WFW 3.11? Works on Win10 and Win11.

1662210482321.png
 

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djaccess2

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It should be good! Although that of Windows XP would be more suitable I think, how to replace it?
 

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Berton

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Haven't seen anything similar for WinXP although there was an x64/64-bit version of WinXP.
 

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OrthodoxWin32

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Hello djaccess2,​

I think you can ask your question in the WinClassic forum, which is precisely specialized in the subject : Windows Shell | WinClassic

It is possible to go very far in modifying the file Explorer, and it is possible that your problem will find a solution. Anyway I'm trying to think about it, if I have a solution I'll let you know.
 

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