How to Reset Windows File Explorer Navigation Pane State

When you launch Windows File Explorer for the very first time, the navigation pane is set to display the quick shortcuts to various important locations such as Microsoft OneDrive, Desktop, Downloads, Pictures, and the various storage drives available to your PC. As you continue to use File Explorer, this navigation pane could expand to show the folders that you have opened in the File Explorer. Once the navigation pane shoes expanded view for a folder, it keeps this setting and automatically expands to the currently open folder every  time you use File Explorer.

But you can easily reset the File Explorer navigation pane settings using the following steps:

  1. Close all File Explorer windows.
  2. Press the key combination Win+R to open the Run dialog.
  3. Type regedit.exe in the Run dialog and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  4. In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Modules\NavPane.Reset Navigation Pane in File Explorer
  5. Right-click the value named ExpandedState and select Delete to remove it.
  6. Now if you open File Explorer window, the navigation pane will show up in its default state as if you have never used it before.

If you do not want to go through all these steps and want to clear up the navigation pane settings to reset the expanded state, then you can use the small tool called “ResetNaviPane”. You can download it from, extract it to a folder and then double-click on ResetNaviPane.exe. When its small window shows up, all you have to do is click on the Reset Navigation Pane button.

Reset Navigation Pane in File Explorer

For this to work, you must have closed down all the File Explorer windows first. If you leave any of these windows open then it may keep the old navigation pane settings. You will see a message indicating that your File Explorer navigation pane settings have been cleared. After this you can relaunch File Explorer and the navigation pane should be reset.


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