Make the Preview pane in Vista to display contents of text based files


Q: How can I make the Preview pane to show the contents text-based files? For example, files that contain text content such as PHP | XML | SQL | CSS | CS | LOG | REG | VBS | JS don’t have text previews enabled by default. Is there a way to enable the Preview pane to show the contents of these files when clicked?

A: Having anticipated such questions, I wrote the utility PreviewConfig just after Windows Vista was RTM’ed. PreviewConfig helps you register custom file types with the Preview Pane in Windows Vista. This utility was published in my site on December 25, 2006.

     PreviewConfig (63 Kb)

Select the file type from the listing, choose the type of Preview you want for this file type (Media or Plain text) and click Apply. The Preview pane in Windows Explorer should now show contents of the file selected.

Don’t you just love this tool?


About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded 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 “Make the Preview pane in Vista to display contents of text based files”

  1. Hello,
    Thanks for the free PreviewConfig program. I have found it very useful. However, it has stopped working on .bas files I use with Just BASIC (these are just text files). I used to be able to preview these .bas files. But I installed the ‘big brother’ of Just BASIC, Liberty BASIC. I suspect something changed then. No amount of fiddling using PreviewConfig (done properly using Admin priveleges) will fix this. I have given up. I suspect it’s a registry problem, but I know nothing about Registry. I would be grateful for info on how to fix this. Thanks.

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