Fix: Places Bar in Open/Save As (Common Dialog) Box is Empty in Windows XP

The places bar which appears in the left side of the Open and Save As dialog boxes in Windows XP, contains shortcuts to the following folders by default:

  • Recent
  • Desktop
  • My Documents
  • My Computer
  • My Network Places

The default places can be customized by editing the registry. After adding/removing custom places using a third-party tool, you may experience a problem where the places bar is completely empty.

This happens if the following key is leftover in the registry, with no valid values present underneath it.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ comdlg32 \ Placesbar

If the above key exists with no valid values (Place0, Place1, Place2, Place3 & Place 4), the list of places in the Common Dialog boxes will be empty. Removing the above branch fixes the problem. Use the steps below:

1. Click Start, Run. Type Regedit.exe and press ENTER

2. Navigate to the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ comdlg32 \ Placesbar

3. Right-click Placesbar and choose Delete

4. Exit the Registry Editor.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

1 thought on “Fix: Places Bar in Open/Save As (Common Dialog) Box is Empty in Windows XP

  1. I have windows 7 and the places bar is empty in the save dialog box and have no clue how to fix it. I installed new themes for windows but even returning to Aero dose’nt help bring it back to normal. Can you help me?

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