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How to Add a Custom Folder under “This PC” in Explorer

You can add custom folders to the Explorer navigation pane in pretty much all versions of Windows. This post has the instructions on adding a custom folder under This PC in the navigation pane in Windows 10/11 File Explorer.

How to Add a Custom Folder under “This PC” in Explorer

Method 1: Add a Custom folder Manually

If you’re going to create/add a custom shell folder manually, an easy way to add a custom folder to the navigation pane is to mimic the settings of an existing/built-in shell folder like Music or Videos, and use them with a custom GUID. For example, here are the Videos shell folder’s registry settings that we’ll use with a different GUID (and a custom folder path).

  1. Copy the above contents to Notepad, and save with .reg extension (e.g. mytools.reg). Don’t close the file yet.
  2. Generate a unique ID (GUID) string by running the command New-Guid in PowerShell. Alternately, you can visit GuidGen.com to generate a random GUID string. This site uses Microsoft’s GUIDGen.exe at the backend.
  3. In this example, the GUID is {d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}. Copy the GUID to Clipboard.
  4. In Notepad, replace every occurrence of the following string:
    {f86fa3ab-70d2-4fc7-9c99-fcbf05467f3a}

    Replace the above GUID with the following:

    {d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}
  5. Save the .reg file, and close Notepad.
  6. Double-click the .reg file to apply the settings to the registry.
  7. Start the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe):
  8. In Regedit, navigate to the following branches one by one:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}
    
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}
  9. In the right pane, change the value data for (Default) and InfoTip accordingly.

    (InfoTip text will be shown when you hover the mouse over the custom folder in File Explorer.)
  10. Then navigate to the DefaultIcon subkeys below:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}\DefaultIcon
    
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}\DefaultIcon

  11. Set the icon value accordingly. I chose the shell32.dll,35 icon for the My Tools folder we’re adding. You can also use a custom .ico file if you want.
  12. Navigate to the Instance\InitPropertyBag subkeys below:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}\Instance\InitPropertyBag
    
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}\Instance\InitPropertyBag
  13. Delete the TargetKnownFolder value, as we’re going to add a custom folder path.
  14. Create a string value (REG_SZ) named TargetFolderPath and set its value data, with the full folder path.

    That’s it! The My Tools folder should show up in the navigation pane and the Folders section in This PC view.

Method 2: Add a Custom folder Using Script

Here’s a VBScript I wrote that will output the registry file that will create and add a custom shell folder under This PC and/or Pin it to the Explorer navigation pane when run. The outputted .reg file can also be deployed to other computers if needed.

  1. Download the script add_custom_folder_this_pc.vbs below and save it to Desktop.
  2. Select the folder you want to add under This PC and/or Pin to Explorer Navigation pane.

    The script will now output two registry files on your desktop. The 2nd file is the “Undo” registry file that needs to be run if you wish to reverse the setting (i.e., remove the custom folder from This PC/Explorer navigation pane)

  3. Double-click the registry file (not the Undo registry file) to apply the settings to the registry.
  4. Close all folder windows and then open a folder.
  5. There you go! Your custom folder is now pinned to the navigation pane.

    Customizations

    Before running the registry file, you can edit the file using Notepad and remove the lines containing “MyComputer\NameSpace” entries in the file and save it. This is to prevent the item from appearing in 3 locations in File Explorer. For more information, see Tip #3 below. This, however, is an optional step.

    You can also change the InfoTip in the registry file. By default, it has the placeholder text that says “YOUR INFOTIP HERE

    Per-User Registry File: The registry file adds the shell folder for the current user only (i.e., it writes to HKEY_CURRENT_USER instead of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE). If you want it per-system, then replace every instance of HKEY_CURRENT_USER with HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and save the file.

(To unpin the custom shell folder, run the “undo” registry file. Rest assured, it won’t delete the actual folder.)

Bonus Tips

Tip #1: Add the custom folder under “Folders” or “Network Locations” section

If you’re adding a mapped drive or folder pointing to a network location, you can make the item appear under the Network locations section in This PC view. To do so, modify the DescriptionID value (see screenshot #2 above) in this registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}

Set the DescriptionID to 9 (0x00000009)


Tip #2: Move “My Tools” to the top of the This PC hierarchy

To move My Tools to the top of the This PC hierarchy, create a DWORD (32 bit) value named SortOrderIndex, in the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Classes\CLSID\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}

Set the SortOrderIndex to a lower value.

For example, setting it to 0x00000030 moves the item up, like this:


Tip #3: Pin the folder to the Navigation pane separately (instead of under This PC) above or below OneDrive

To pin the custom folder to the navigation pane as a separate category, like OneDrive, Quick access, etc., you need to implement it under the Desktop namespace. This is similar to our Pin Recent Places registry edit.

The registry keys to create are as follows:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}

Note: The above edit would also add the custom folder icon on your desktop. To hide the custom folder icon on the desktop, create a DWORD value named {d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35} and set it to 1, under the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\HideDesktopIcons\NewStartPanel

The custom folder now appears in 3 places

With the above registry changes done, the custom folder appears in three places:

  1. As a separate pinned item, vertically next to the Quick Access/OneDrive section.
  2. In the navigation pane under This PC, and
  3. In the right pane of This PC.

So, (optionally) to prevent the custom folder from appearing under the “This PC” tree (a.k.a. “My Computer” namespace) and in the right pane of This PC, delete these keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\MyComputer\Desktop\NameSpace\{d464e152-bde0-4a84-9160-bd183268ad35}

This eliminates the custom folder icon from locations #2 and #3 (see screenshot).

The result of the above registry edits is seen in the following image:

The custom folder (“Tools”) is now pinned to the navigation pane. You can also expand the folder to access its subfolders, or keep it collapsed.


Tip #4: How to create a per-user special folder?

To create the special folder for your user account only, in Notepad, replace every instance of the following:

Note: You need to do this after completing step 4 above. Then, follow the rest of the instructions, till Step 14.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

with the following registry root:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER

That’s it! You can add as many custom folders under This PC (My Computer) in the Explorer navigation pane as you want. Make sure you generate a different GUID from the GuidGen.com website for every folder you want to add to the navigation pane.

Editor’s Note: The registry file I made several years ago for Windows XP (Ref: My Pictures, My Music and My Videos namespace extensions for the Explorer folder pane) still works on Windows 10 and 11. That uses a slightly different method, where Shdocvw.dll is referenced instead of Shell32.dll. And, if you’re using the old method for Windows 10 or 11, you need to add the System.IsPinnedtoNameSpaceTree DWORD value, and change the Attributes data to f080004d in those sample REG files. Both methods work fine.

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