Enable/Disable Auto Expanding Trees in Windows Explorer

Sometimes it’s helpful to see the contents of a drive at a glance. It can help you easily search for a particular folder. You can automatically expand the drive when you click on the left pane of Windows Explorer and close that drive when another is expanded. This happens when Friendly Trees or Expanding Trees are enabled.

Some users may prefer to use Expanding Trees while others may not. This preference may be set in stone, so to speak, with a simple Windows XP registry tweak. Note that you should always create a backup prior to making any registry modifications. There are risks involved in registry edits. A backup gives you the option of restoring your registry to its previous settings.

To enable or disable automatic expanding trees in Windows Explorer you should:

  1. Click Start and go to Run. Enter regedit and a new box will come up. This is your registry editor.
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER and expand the folder.
  3. Next, look for Software, expand this folder and go to Microsoft.
  4. Expand Microsoft and go to Windows. Expanding Windows should take you to CurrentVersion.
  5. Expand CurrentVersion. Look for Explorer.
  6. Once you find Explorer, go to the Advanced folder.
  7. After finding the Advanced folder, look at the right side of your registry editor. Is FriendlyTree there? If the value is there, proceed directly to step eight. If FriendlyTree is not there, create the value using the steps below.
    • Right click on the right side of the registry editor.
    • Select New and then select DWORD.
    • Rename the new DWORD value FriendlyTree. You can also right click on the new DWORD value and select Rename.
  8. Double click on FriendlyTree. A new box will come up.
  9. Now enter 0 if you want FriendlyTree disabled. Entering 1 will enable FriendlyTree.
  10. Exit the registry and reboot.