Windows Vista introduces the Preview pane in Explorer, which shows the contents of the currently chosen file. You can also play multimedia files from the Preview pane, without opening Windows Media Player. This article explains how to use the PreviewConfig utility to register a custom file type for the Preview pane in Windows 7/Windows Vista.

Registering file types for the Preview pane

If you have a custom file type and wish to register a plain text or a multimedia Preview handler for the custom file type, you can do so using this utility.


Download PreviewConfig.zip (63 KB)
(Contains previewconfig.exe and readme.txt)

Usage

Download and run PreviewHandler utility (requires administrative privileges to run). Select the file type from the listing, and choose the type of Preview you want for this file type (Media / Plain-text / None), and click Apply.

Additional details are available in the Readme.txt file.

Adding new file types

If a file type is not displayed in the listing, you may manually type the file extension (example, .cpp) into the text box provided, and choose the Preview type for this file extension.

Example

You may use this utility to register text previews for plain-text file types such as:

.REG | .CSS | .BAT | .CMD | .INF | .CS | .VB | .CPP | .SQL

Preview Handler information

When you select a file type, the information of the Preview handler registered for the file type will be displayed in the text box. You can copy the contents to Clipboard by double-clicking the text box.

How to enable the Preview pane in Windows 7/Vista

You can enable the preview pane by selecting Organize | Layout | Preview Pane from the folder’s menu.


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8 Comments

  1. MindFlayer
    said this on Monday, September 8th 2014 5:48 pm

    Excellent!!! Thanks!!!

  2. said this on Monday, March 10th 2014 12:17 pm

    […] PreviewConfig Utility allows you add or remove preview handler for a file type. It’s a very useful and a […]

  3. Binkie
    said this on Thursday, December 19th 2013 5:21 am

    This also helps with an annoying problem with MS Office 2010 (and probably other recent versions) in Windows 7: if you open a folder and double-click a .docx (Word 1020) or .xlsx (Excel 2010) file, it opens the file, displays it for a brief flash, then pops it behind the folder window. I’ve searched for a solution, tried registry changes that deal with timings etc., but nothing works. This didn’t happen with Office 2003 in W7. It finally occurred to me that maybe it’s because when it generates the preview in the Windows Explorer preview pane, it makes the preview the top window. (Office 2003 wasn’t able to preview .doc or .xls files.) This stupid error also interferes with renaming or copying a file. So I turned off the preview pane and yup, problem solved – except that I want the preview pane for other file types. This “PreviewConfig” utility enabled me to set the preview handler for .docx and .xlsx to “None”, and it works perfectly and solves the problem! Thanks for the util.

  4. Alexander
    said this on Monday, August 12th 2013 10:04 pm

    Thank you very much! Restored my lost sql preview.

  5. Bobby George
    said this on Monday, August 5th 2013 10:30 pm

    Can you please help me,I have searching a lot to find a preview handler for .rar and .zip files….but filed,tried your application but still cant preview it in the preview pane…if there is anyway you can help me ,please do let me know,

    PS:THis is a brilliant app. :)

  6. Jim
    said this on Wednesday, January 23rd 2013 12:09 pm

    No handler found for .PDF – No apparent means to use “Other” or to add other handlers. Something else coming from you?

  7. Marko
    said this on Friday, June 10th 2011 9:01 pm

    Is it possible we get a source code for your app?

    Thanks

  8. Steve D.
    said this on Friday, October 8th 2010 11:47 pm

    Does the job fine but found a potential issue. Haven’t done much troubleshooting analysis though.

    Here is the general scenario. I had a file type (.config) that had an association with Visual Studio. PreviewConfig reported that it had no preview type and let me assign a preview type of Plain-text of which it persisted

    The registry key {1531d583-8375-4d3f-b5fb-d23bbd169f22} that gets assigned for this type got assigned to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\VisualStudio.config.10.0\shellex\{8895b1c6-b41f-4c1c-a562-0d564250836f} and not under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.config as I might have expected.

    Bottom line preview will not work for .config file types. I was however successful in changing preview types for other file types with no prior associations.

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