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No TITLEs displayed in Detail view in Windows Explorer

    Question

  • The following pertains to Windows 7 Professional 64-bit vs. Windows XP Professional 32-bit.

    In Windows Explorer, when viewing the file list in 'detail' view, you can also add the 'title' attribute for display by right-clicking the attribute bar above the file list.  However, in Windows 7, no titles are displayed for PDF files that have this information which were displayed under WinXP.  Also, if the file properties are displayed, the PDF tab is gone.

    I cannot find any info on how to re-enable this feature.  If XP-style PDF title attributes have been removed or disabled in Windows 7 Explorer, it is a MAJOR omission for our corporation.  We have a massive collection of corporate and 3rd party PDF documents where interdocument links will not work if the filename is changed.  The TITLE attribute in detail view is used to display the document title, not the filename.  If any other view is used, e.g. icon view, the bubble popup displays the title in WinXP, but this again doesn't work in Win7.  Without the title attribute working as it does in XP, we may have to forego moving from XP to Windows 7 on our desktops (we're skipping Vista, of course), and find an alternate desktop OS (Linux?) that still supports this feature.

    For example, every IBM software/hardware PDF manual has a cryptic filename which does not reflect anything about the title of the manual.  These filenames support inter-manual links, so renaming the PDF manuals to reflect the title is absolutely not an option.  However, the PDF attributes of the file do contain the title, and these were visible under both Properties (the PDF tab), and the TITLE column in Detail view under WinXP.  However, both of these features are gone in Windows 7, and to say it's a PITA is a gross understatement.

    We want (need) this feature back in Windows 7.  I'd call it a show-stopper in moving to Windows 7 if this isn't fixed, and soon!

    Btw, Microsoft, we have over 45,000 desktops currently running WinXP, plus 100's of Win2003/Win2008 servers in our corp.  Are you listening?

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010 10:35 AM

Answers

  • Here's what seems to be going on.

    As part of the Adobe Reader download, Adobe provides a shell extension called pdfshell.dll.  On 32-bit Windows XP, you'll find it in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX folder.  On 64-bit Windows 7, you'll find it in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX folder.  But, on either system, it's a 32-bit shell extension.  On 64-bit Windows 7, Windows Explorer will only run as a 64-bit program.  According to numerous web forum posters, this was a change between the last "beta" and the "RC" version of 64-bit Windows 7.  There is a 32-bit version of Windows Explorer in the C:\Windows\SysWOW64 folder, but if you try to run it you get another instance of 64-bit Explorer.  The (first) problem is that 64-bit Windows Explorer won't load a 32-bit shell extension.

    You can see the 32-bit pdfshell.dll "working" on 64-bit Windows 7 in the File Open dialog of any 32-bit application (such as Adobe Reader).  To see this, first open an Explorer window and navigate to a folder that has some PDF files like your IBM manual.  Right click on the file and choose Properties.  Look at the tabs in the dialog and note that there is no PDF tab.  Now, OK out of the Properties dialog and double-click on the same file to open it in Adobe Reader.  Now press Ctrl-O or choose File Open to get the File Open dialog.  Navigate to the same folder, right click on the same file and choose Properties.  Look at the tabs and see that you now have the PDF tab that was missing in Explorer.  In that tab, you can see the Title that pdfshell.dll has pulled from the file.  This works because 32-bit Adobe Reader has loaded a 32-bit common file dialog which *will* load a 32-bit shell extension.

    But you're not out of the woods yet.  The common file dialog has many of the features of Explorer, and you can select Details view and right-click on the column headers to choose to show a Title column.  This will show Titles for several document types, but not for PDF files.  This isn't a 64-bit versus 32-bit issues, it's a Windows XP versus Vista and later issue.  What Adobe implemented in pdfshell.dll is an ActiveX interface called IColumnProvider, and Microsoft dropped support for this interface in Windows Vista (replacing it with something called the Property System).  You can glance at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776831%28VS.85%29.aspx and just read the first line after the page header:  "[This feature is supported only under Windows XP or earlier. ]".  So, the PDF Title column feature didn't go away with 64-bit Windows 7, it went away with 32-bit Windows Vista.

    The best solution to this problem would be for Adobe to update pdfshell.dll to provide the Property System interface that Vista and Windows 7 require.  See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776859%28v=VS.85%29.aspx if you care for the details.  Then Adobe should release 32-bit and 64-bit versions of pdfshell.dll implementing the new interface, and we'd get both the PDF tab and Explorer columns like Title for PDF files in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 (and Vista).

    Alternatively, some enterprising developer could presumably write a shim that would present the Property System interface on its upper side (callable by Explorer) and the IColumnProvider interface on its lower side (capable of calling existing versions of pdfshell.dll).  It would need to deal with interfacing between 64-bit Explorer and a 32-bit pdfshell.dll ... I assume that this is possible somehow, but I don't know.

    A kludge that might be (barely?) usable would be to use Windows XP Mode to run a 32-bit Windows XP Explorer and use that to navigate using the PDF Titles and possibly launch them.  Perhaps you could come up with a way to make Windows XP Mode's Explorer launch Adobe Reader in the host 64-bit Windows 7 OS.

    A third-party solution might be xplorer^2 (http://www.zabkat.com/index.htm) which claims to support the interface that Microsoft dropped in Vista (http://www.zabkat.com/blog/07Feb10-column-handlers-revived.htm).  I know nothing about this program, I just found it while Googling for "column handler".  It says that it has a 21 day trial, is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and costs $29.95 (presumably US dollars).  There is a "lite" version that is free for non-commercial use ... all of this info is just repeated from their web pages, I have no connection to the company and only know what I read ... I haven't tried it.

    It's worth noting that life isn't perfect with pdfshell.dll and 32-bit Windows XP either, depending on your PDF files.  Some documents don't have Titles (depending, partly, on what software produced them).  Some have Titles long enough that they won't display in an Explorer column (though they show up truncated on the status line and un-truncated in a tooltip).  I have a file called "GEARaspi Security Information.pdf" (http://www.gearsoftware.com/support/GEARAspi%20Security%20Information.pdf) that has no Title, created by OpenOffice.org 2.4 according to its PDF tab.  I have another called "319124.pdf" (http://www.intel.com/assets/pdf/whitepaper/319124.pdf) which has the rather wordy title "Intel®  Extreme Memory Profile (Intel® XMP) supporting Intel® X48 Express Chipset with DDR3 White Paper".  Despite having a Title, no Title is displayed in a Title column in Windows Explorer in 32-bit Windows XP, though a truncated version appears in the status bar and the tooltip gets the whole thing, wrapping to two lines to do it.  Intel's file was produced with Acrobat PDFMaker 7.0 for Word according to its PDF tab.

    This post is based on what I could figure out, I hope it's helpful (if discouraging ... you won't fix this with a registry hack).

    • Proposed as answer by Tad Marshall Sunday, November 21, 2010 6:01 AM
    • Marked as answer by IT-guru Wednesday, March 07, 2012 6:34 AM
    Sunday, November 21, 2010 5:59 AM

All replies

  • I'm not with Microsoft; just a user here who may be able to assist. I share your frustrations with them hiding, breaking and deleting our tools.

    I know this sounds odd, but have you removed the Windows Media Player windows component? If you have, can you try on one system reinstalling Media Player and see if your titles come back? The reason I say that is because lots of people who use third party music players have had problems seeing titles of music files in Explorer and they say the ability to view the TITLE category of those files comes back in Explorer if they reinstall either Windows Media Player or some third party applications which extract metadata.

     

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010 11:51 AM
  • It's not related to media player, or anything to do with music files.  It's a Windows Explorer thing.

    Secondly, nothing has been removed from my Win7 Pro installation.  It's a clean, fully updated Win7 Pro install.

    To see what I'm referring to, you'll need to directly compare results between WinXP and Win7 for the following.

    Go into Windows Explorer, change to "detail" view, and then right-click on the attribute bar (where Name, Date Modified, Type, Size, etc. are displayed), and the select/check "title" from the popup list.

    Then download any PDF file from this website: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/os/zos/bkserv/r11pdf/#commserv

    The title attribute is still selectable, however, the problem is that Win7 no longer displays PDF titles that are displayed in WinXP.  If you look at the properties of some PDF manuals (particularly IBM z/OS mainframe software manuals of which we have 100's), the title is on the PDF tab (WinXP only).  The filename is cryptic (e.g. f1a1b391.pdf), yet the title is "z/OS V1R11.0 Communications Server IP Configuration Guide".  This is what I'd expect to see under the title attribute in Win7, yet I see nothing.  Under WinXP, the title is displayed.  Even when you look at the file properties, the PDF tab that was there in WinXP is gone in Win7.

    So what happened?  Why was this feature removed?

    Thursday, June 17, 2010 3:54 AM
  • I always use Detail view. I just downloaded z/OS V1R11.0 Communications Server ACF/TAP Trace Analysis Handbook to an XP machine and it does not show the title in the Title column in Detail view.

    Is that file different? Can you give me the name of a file on that page where you see Title in the Title column in Detail view on a XP box?

    Friday, June 18, 2010 11:29 PM
  • I have both a Windows XP system and a Windows 7 system.  I keep the Windows XP system updated with all recommended Microsoft updates (will do so with Windows 7 too but it is too new).

    For years, I have used the Title column/attribute in the detailed view of File Explorer, just as IT-guru describes. for all my PDF and Office files, and my default view always has Title in it appears right after the filename.  This allows me to keep my filenames shorter and is a VERY IMPORTANT capability.

    In the past month, this feature stopped working.  I didn't notice when, but today when it was driving me crazy, I tried it on my new Windows 7 machine, and it does not work there either.  So I am suspecting that the Windows 7 file explorer code had some changes that were retrofitted and applied to a Windows XP patch.  

    I agree that this is a showstopper, but for me, it's preventing me from identifying 100's of files easily.   Does Microsoft know what regression testing is???

    Saturday, July 31, 2010 6:50 PM
  • hi

    I had the same problem as IT-guru and arrived here as I was looking for a solution. The following is valid for XP SP3, but I believe it will also apply for Windows7:

    What I have just discovered while doing some testing with pdf files properties and windows xp explorer is that there are two different tags on pdf files: pdf file properties, and file details.

    Pdf properties are only present on pdf files, while file details are present on every file type, including pdf files. Normally, windows explorer will display file details on the appropiate column, as long as you select that detail to be displayed right clicking on it.

    Whoever, if you install Adobe Acrobat then windows explorer is also able to display dpf file properties together with file details. This is true at least on XP (I don't know about windows 7). This is a little bit confusing since some pdf properties have the same name as those from any file details. For example title and author. If both tags are present windows explorer will display pdf file properties and ignore file detail.

    I have come to this situation as I unistalled Adobe Acrobat and installet Foxit Reader and PDF Nitro. Both are unable to display PDF properties as windows explorer file detail column.

    So one reason for your problem is you are not using Acrobar Reader but a different pdf reader.

    In XP this can be solved instaling Acrobar Reader. However I will go for a different solution: use file details instead of file properties. File details can be edited through windows explorer right clicking on the file, but also from pdf software, in pdf properties and then selecting "more" and "summary"

    Monday, August 16, 2010 1:41 PM
  • Hi, I have the problem as above... Any solution ? i cant done my work without this features. 
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 4:09 PM
  • Here's what seems to be going on.

    As part of the Adobe Reader download, Adobe provides a shell extension called pdfshell.dll.  On 32-bit Windows XP, you'll find it in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX folder.  On 64-bit Windows 7, you'll find it in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\Acrobat\ActiveX folder.  But, on either system, it's a 32-bit shell extension.  On 64-bit Windows 7, Windows Explorer will only run as a 64-bit program.  According to numerous web forum posters, this was a change between the last "beta" and the "RC" version of 64-bit Windows 7.  There is a 32-bit version of Windows Explorer in the C:\Windows\SysWOW64 folder, but if you try to run it you get another instance of 64-bit Explorer.  The (first) problem is that 64-bit Windows Explorer won't load a 32-bit shell extension.

    You can see the 32-bit pdfshell.dll "working" on 64-bit Windows 7 in the File Open dialog of any 32-bit application (such as Adobe Reader).  To see this, first open an Explorer window and navigate to a folder that has some PDF files like your IBM manual.  Right click on the file and choose Properties.  Look at the tabs in the dialog and note that there is no PDF tab.  Now, OK out of the Properties dialog and double-click on the same file to open it in Adobe Reader.  Now press Ctrl-O or choose File Open to get the File Open dialog.  Navigate to the same folder, right click on the same file and choose Properties.  Look at the tabs and see that you now have the PDF tab that was missing in Explorer.  In that tab, you can see the Title that pdfshell.dll has pulled from the file.  This works because 32-bit Adobe Reader has loaded a 32-bit common file dialog which *will* load a 32-bit shell extension.

    But you're not out of the woods yet.  The common file dialog has many of the features of Explorer, and you can select Details view and right-click on the column headers to choose to show a Title column.  This will show Titles for several document types, but not for PDF files.  This isn't a 64-bit versus 32-bit issues, it's a Windows XP versus Vista and later issue.  What Adobe implemented in pdfshell.dll is an ActiveX interface called IColumnProvider, and Microsoft dropped support for this interface in Windows Vista (replacing it with something called the Property System).  You can glance at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776831%28VS.85%29.aspx and just read the first line after the page header:  "[This feature is supported only under Windows XP or earlier. ]".  So, the PDF Title column feature didn't go away with 64-bit Windows 7, it went away with 32-bit Windows Vista.

    The best solution to this problem would be for Adobe to update pdfshell.dll to provide the Property System interface that Vista and Windows 7 require.  See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776859%28v=VS.85%29.aspx if you care for the details.  Then Adobe should release 32-bit and 64-bit versions of pdfshell.dll implementing the new interface, and we'd get both the PDF tab and Explorer columns like Title for PDF files in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 (and Vista).

    Alternatively, some enterprising developer could presumably write a shim that would present the Property System interface on its upper side (callable by Explorer) and the IColumnProvider interface on its lower side (capable of calling existing versions of pdfshell.dll).  It would need to deal with interfacing between 64-bit Explorer and a 32-bit pdfshell.dll ... I assume that this is possible somehow, but I don't know.

    A kludge that might be (barely?) usable would be to use Windows XP Mode to run a 32-bit Windows XP Explorer and use that to navigate using the PDF Titles and possibly launch them.  Perhaps you could come up with a way to make Windows XP Mode's Explorer launch Adobe Reader in the host 64-bit Windows 7 OS.

    A third-party solution might be xplorer^2 (http://www.zabkat.com/index.htm) which claims to support the interface that Microsoft dropped in Vista (http://www.zabkat.com/blog/07Feb10-column-handlers-revived.htm).  I know nothing about this program, I just found it while Googling for "column handler".  It says that it has a 21 day trial, is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and costs $29.95 (presumably US dollars).  There is a "lite" version that is free for non-commercial use ... all of this info is just repeated from their web pages, I have no connection to the company and only know what I read ... I haven't tried it.

    It's worth noting that life isn't perfect with pdfshell.dll and 32-bit Windows XP either, depending on your PDF files.  Some documents don't have Titles (depending, partly, on what software produced them).  Some have Titles long enough that they won't display in an Explorer column (though they show up truncated on the status line and un-truncated in a tooltip).  I have a file called "GEARaspi Security Information.pdf" (http://www.gearsoftware.com/support/GEARAspi%20Security%20Information.pdf) that has no Title, created by OpenOffice.org 2.4 according to its PDF tab.  I have another called "319124.pdf" (http://www.intel.com/assets/pdf/whitepaper/319124.pdf) which has the rather wordy title "Intel®  Extreme Memory Profile (Intel® XMP) supporting Intel® X48 Express Chipset with DDR3 White Paper".  Despite having a Title, no Title is displayed in a Title column in Windows Explorer in 32-bit Windows XP, though a truncated version appears in the status bar and the tooltip gets the whole thing, wrapping to two lines to do it.  Intel's file was produced with Acrobat PDFMaker 7.0 for Word according to its PDF tab.

    This post is based on what I could figure out, I hope it's helpful (if discouraging ... you won't fix this with a registry hack).

    • Proposed as answer by Tad Marshall Sunday, November 21, 2010 6:01 AM
    • Marked as answer by IT-guru Wednesday, March 07, 2012 6:34 AM
    Sunday, November 21, 2010 5:59 AM
  • The best solution to this problem would be for Adobe to update pdfshell.dll to provide the Property System interface that Vista and Windows 7 require.  See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776859%28v=VS.85%29.aspx if you care for the details.  Then Adobe should release 32-bit and 64-bit versions of pdfshell.dll implementing the new interface, and we'd get both the PDF tab and Explorer columns like Title for PDF files in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 (and Vista).

    Parece que no es gran cosa pero se vuelve un problema cuando tienes cientos de manuales. La característica de ordenar una lista de documentos pdf por el título se vuelve indispensable.

    Neither Adobe nor Microsoft seems to know about this problem.... Where we can request a solution???

    Sunday, March 13, 2011 9:12 PM
  • It is not just Windows 7 that this happens.  We are using Vista and ever since we switched to Vista we lost the ability do use property details options in Windows Explorer.  I hate it because I use it a lot to save time when looking up files.  Now with Vista I have to open each file and look at them individually to see if it is the one I need.  With the option to use the property details for each pdf file in windows explorer I just looked in Windows Explorer at my details for each file.
    Monday, March 21, 2011 4:20 PM
  • what?
    Monday, March 21, 2011 4:21 PM
  • I just found out that if you make a search using the right-upper bar on windows explorer (e.g. "PDF"), the found pdf`s will show title, author, etc. normally... I hope it helps to find any solution for this.
    Friday, April 01, 2011 4:02 PM
  • Suggest you install a software package called PDF shell tools.  It solved this problem for me.  http://www.rttsoftware.com/shelltools.html
    Friday, November 25, 2011 12:30 PM
  • PDF Shell Tools includes a Property Handler so yes it works. Unfortunately, PDF Shell tools isn't free. So once again it's a case of us needing to go for paid solutions because Microsoft didn't work with Adobe to make sure a PDF property handler was created for Windows.

    • Edited by xpclient Thursday, January 05, 2012 4:23 PM
    Thursday, January 05, 2012 4:22 PM
  • I would just like to add that I found this to be a *super* frustrating "feature" of Win 7, as I have a *lot* of pdfs that I would like to sort by Title. 

    However, after extensive reading about this problem, I found that installing the freeware programme PDF XChange Viewer (http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-viewer) fixes this!!!  I guess it installs the right shell extension when it's installed.

    Best of all, it's free and easy...

    Monday, January 23, 2012 11:01 AM
  • tHE LACK  OF FACILITIES IN WINDOWS 7 EXPLORER IS DEVASTATING. ALL MY PICTURES HAVE TITLES WHICH IDENTIFY THEM. IN UPGARDING TO WINDOWS  7  I HAVE BEEN CONNED. THE HTML WORKSHOP HELP FILE COMPILER READS THE NEW ATTRIB=I AND ATTRIB=N AS ATTRIB=R AND FAILS TO READ AND WRITE FILES. WINDOWS EXPLORER FLYS AWAY AS SOON AS YOU SELECT A FOLDER. AS SOON AS YOU TRY TO CHANGE ANYTHING YOU ARE TOLD YOU NEED  ADMIN PRIVILEGES. AS THE ONE AND ONLY USER IN USER ACCOUNTS THIS IS INSULTING AND ABISMAL.
    Saturday, January 28, 2012 3:59 PM
  • It's not working for me ...

    I installed PDF XChange Viewer on both a Windows 7 PC and on a Windows 2003 server housing a file share containing PDF documents. Neither computer will display Title or Author information in Windows Explorer. If I right-click on a PDF file on either machine and select Properties, I see the new PDF Information tab with the information I'm looking for. This information also displays if I hover over a file name in Windows Explorer. But the Title and Author columns in the Windows Explorer Detail view are stubbornly empty ...

    • Proposed as answer by Sham_ Monday, November 25, 2013 5:29 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Sham_ Monday, November 25, 2013 5:30 PM
    • Proposed as answer by Sham_ Monday, November 25, 2013 5:37 PM
    Sunday, February 19, 2012 8:13 AM
  • You are spot on and it also omits Title and Comment information on MS Publisher documents.  I still haven't found a reasonable solution - have you?  I'll keep looking and let you know if I do.  ~K
    Thursday, March 01, 2012 4:41 AM
  • I believe Tad Marshall is spot-on, and I've marked his response as the answer.  With the column handler interface being dropped effective with Vista, and replaced with the Property System, Adobe just didn't keep up.

    Adobe has been lax in keeping up with Windows changes.  This isn't the only one.  PDF Thumbnail previews still don't work properly in 64-bit Win 7 without a registry hack.  Neither did PDF previews in the Preview Pane in Explorer or Outlook until Adobe brought out version X.

    (please see http://www.pretentiousname.com/adobe_pdf_x64_fix/index.html for details)

    I'll should get more traction with the Property System issue by approaching Adobe directly, though from some comments I've heard on other issues, I shouldn't expect a quick resolution (after all, it's almost 2 years now!).

    Thanks Tad!  At least now I know why it doesn't work...


    • Edited by IT-guru Wednesday, March 07, 2012 6:55 AM
    Wednesday, March 07, 2012 6:50 AM
  • Window 2008R2 64bit - same issue! any fix avaiable?

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 11:36 AM
  • Does anybody have a technical support contract with adobe? perhaps somebody can post this issue to them/ i tried to contact the adobe support but since  i am a reader user' i can not access technical support.
    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 4:48 PM
  • Here's what works for me on Win7 HP: open the folder(s) containing your pdf files and type in 'pdf' in the search field at the upper right of Windows Explorer, then set your details view to Title, Author, etc. Crazy, but it works so long as you keep the search box set to pdf; as soon as you move to another folder, that metadata goes away until you re-enter 'pdf'
    Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:45 PM
  • In Windows 7, if you need to see the properties of the PDF file , you need to make an library.

    1. open the file explorer in windows7
    2. select libraries from the left navigation bar
    3. right click on the libraries heading.
    4. select "new" > "library"
    5. give the library a name e.g. "sales orders".
    6. press the button "include new folder" to select the folder where the pdf files are in. e.g. "D:\files\sales\orders\"
    7. select (top-right) "arange by" and select e.g. "name".
    8. you should now be able to see the pdf properties (don't forget to enable the subject etc. collums

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/2666758#2666758

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-files/how-do-i-add-tags-to-pdf-and-txt-files/203b60ca-b773-4931-85ad-a5e67656d6ce

    This solution works fine with 32bit windows 7. However for 64 bit PDFShell.dll does not work. You need to install PDF XChange, which is free.

    To edit the properties, you need to install Adobe Acrobat.

    Monday, November 25, 2013 5:37 PM
  • WOW, this totally worked for me!!!  Spent my entire morning searching for a solution, thank you so much for posting this!  Hope this works for everyone else having the same problem.  Thanks again!  XD
    Saturday, July 19, 2014 7:33 PM