Remove Favorites, Libraries, and Homegroup from Navigation Pane RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I have found the ways to remove several things I never want to use from the Explorer navigation pane:  Favorites, Libraries, and Homegroup.  This has the effect of reducing visual clutter, moving the stuff I DO want to use up to the top, and making it less likely things will jump around after I have opened Explorer (e.g., right as I'm trying to click on them).

    Note:  This post involves modifying the registry.  This is not to be taken lightly.  If you undertake registry modifications, make backups, make notes on what you're doing and what you've changed, and be extremely careful!  If you're not confidently familiar with making registry modifications, don't do it!

    The information here is being provided for reference only.  I have only tested it on 32 bit Windows 7 Ultimate.

    I do NOT recommend you undertake this modification on a system that you need to use for any critical purpose whatsoever, and I cannot take responsibility for any fault that may occur on a system after these modifications are attempted.  If something goes wrong, return the registry values to their default settings and/or reenable the services.

    Here's the goal:   

    Of course, you'll need to use administrator privileges to make these changes.

    Note that before making each of the registry modifications you will need to change the permissions on the registry key so that you can write to it.  If you don't know how to do this you probably shouldn't be undertaking these modifications.

    These changes affect all users, and they take effect immediately.

    Late added note:  This change for Favorites, while it works, can cause system instability under some conditions, and a more stable workaround is to leave the Favorites displayed but just collapsed.

    To remove Favorites, change this registry value:


    To restore Favorites to its default setting (i.e., so it shows):


    To remove Libraries, change this registry value:


    To restore Libraries to its default setting (i.e., so it shows):


    To remove Homegroup (and stop Homegroup networking functionality):
    1. Go to Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center -> HomeGroup, and click on Leave the homegroup link to unjoin from any existing home group.
      Note: If the home group are shared and hosted from the PC, all HomeGroup connections will be disconnected.
    2. Click on Leave the homegroup and confirm.  In the future, if you want to use Homegroup networking you can create a homegroup using this same dialog.
    3. Go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools, and double click on Services. Alternatively, type services.msc in Start Search.
    4. For each of the following two services:

      HomeGroup Listener
      HomeGroup Provider

      Do the following:

      Stop the service, and then double click on the service to open Properties dialog, and set its Startup type to Disabled. Click OK when done.  In order to reinstate Homegroup functionality in the future, you will want to set the Startup type back to Manual.
    5. The HomeGroup icon and group will no longer be shown in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer in Windows 7.  Note that this does not interrupt "traditional" windows networking functionality (e.g., Map Network Drive).

    Please let me know if you find this useful.

    Enjoy your clean Navigation pane!

    Sunday, November 29, 2009 4:37 AM

All replies

  • HI noel

    thank you very much worked perfectly, i just removed lib

    Sunday, November 29, 2009 4:42 AM
  • You might get an error message in regedit:

            "Cannot edit Attributes. Error writing the value's new contents".

    This is because the administrator user does not have permissions. To solve, do this in regedit:

    1) Right click ShellFolder and choose "Permissions..."
    2) In the list of users ("Group or usernames:") choose Administrators.
    3) In the box "Permissions for Administrators" (box under the Add... and Remove buttons), check the Full Control / Allow check box.
    4) Click OK.

    Now edit the key values as described above.

    Sunday, November 29, 2009 7:47 PM
  • Thank you Noel and Sean. I am so glad to get rid of Favotites and Libraries as I never used either.

    I ended up creating 4 .reg files so I can do add or remove these as needed. No logoff/logon needed either.

    Remove Favorites

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    Restore Favorites

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    Remove Libraries

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    Restore Libraries

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    Monday, November 30, 2009 2:54 AM
  • Hmmm, I had to  follow QuickDraw's directions to give full control to Administrators. I wonder if I could do this with SubInAcl as well, or is there another command line method I could use?

    Monday, November 30, 2009 5:40 PM
  • Monday, November 30, 2009 6:03 PM
  • THANK YOU !!! This change greatly reduces my annoyance with 7 - the other big improvement being the recreation of the classic start menu from XP using cs-menu from http://www.csmenu.com/
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 4:51 AM
  • Hi Noel,

    thank you very much for these, as all of your posts, right to the point and helpful!

    Kind regards, Hanno
    Sunday, January 17, 2010 9:13 PM
  • I'm glad so many have found this helpful.

    FYI, I have now tested this tweak under Windows 7 x64 as well, and it works.

    Monday, January 25, 2010 4:11 PM
  • Warning:  Removal of Favorites can cause Explorer to crash if you type, in the Run box:  C:\Users\YourUsername\Desktop

    That same path, typed into the address bar of an Explorer window, works just fine.

    Saturday, February 13, 2010 3:28 AM
  • I encountered a problem with Internet Explorer (8) after making these Registry changes - clicking the 'Browse' button on any file input element caused the tab to crash then recover itself, every time. Starting IE in admin mode made no difference.

    For some reason, I did not immediately connect this behaviour with the Registry changes I had made, and after disabling Add-Ons and then completely resetting IE did not work, I ended up running a registry repair (via the Windows OneCare scanner). It found and fixed some 130 or so errors (this on a system about 3 weeks old). But it still did not fix the problem.

    Finally the penny dropped, and I restored these two Registry entries to their original values. Problem solved.

    But even better, the jumping navigator-tree behaviour that prompted me to make these changes in the first place appears to have vanished. I wonder if it will come back...? If not, I would assume the registry cleanup fixed the problem, so it might be worth a try.
    Wednesday, March 3, 2010 12:24 PM
  • Another useful trick here to change the default location when you first open explorer. You just pin explorer to the taskbar and change the location the shortcut points to, to make it go to computer change it to:

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /e,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}


    more detailed instructions: http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/02/07/trick-to-open-computer-or-documents-as-default-instead-of-libraries-folder-with-windows-explorer-on-windows-7/

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:39 AM
  • The "remove favorites" tweak meakes Notepad crash when you click "Save as".
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 10:47 PM
  • Not on my system it doesn't.


    Friday, May 21, 2010 1:16 AM
  • Well, I did some more tests for my "save as" crash problem in Notepad and it consistently happens for .txt files on the desktop when the "remove favorites" tweak is activated, anywhere else "save as" works fine. Maybe it has something to do with the Desktop being one of favorite's links. My Win7 is x64, btw.
    Saturday, May 22, 2010 6:31 PM
  • I'm curious how come nobody has mentioned the GPO "Turn off Windows Libraries features that rely on indexed file data" which is located here:

    User Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Windows Explorer


    Has it not been effective?


    It sets the following key to 1:

    HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer\DisableIndexedLibraryExperience = 1


    The description of this GPO is here:



    Oddly enough, it doesn't get rid of the "Libraries" icon from appearing in the Explorer, but it does stop the "non-indexed location" error messages from popping up.


    I'm really hesitant to use too many registry hacks in our environment because they will be affecting a lot of computers.  How stable has the "disable library" registry update listed above been for everyone?  I really hope that Microsoft comes up with a more comprehensive solution to disable Libraries until the enterprise is able to catch up.




    Monday, May 24, 2010 11:12 PM
  • Dang, this doesn't seem to work with Windows 7 Enterprise 32 bit, for either Favorites or Libraries.  After doing the registry edit, nothing changed.  Anyone else have this problem?  Is there something different I should do?
    Monday, June 14, 2010 5:54 PM
  • I use the a tool named "wenpcgf" provided for free at the end of the following blog post.

    Monday, July 26, 2010 10:13 AM
  • I needed to kill and restart explorer.exe to make the changes effective. These can be done via Task Manager as explained below.

    Great post Noel, thanks.


    How to 'bounce' explorer.exe:
    Start task manager (control-shift-escape will do it)
    Switch to the Processes tab and find "explorer.exe"
    Select explorer.exe and hit "End Process". Confirm. Note that your taskbar will vanish.
    Start it again by selecting File->New task(Run)...
    In the Create New Task dialogue box type "explorer.exe" and hit return. Taskbar is back.

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 12:27 PM
  • Thanks


    much appreciated

















    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:36 PM
  • Hi

    much appreciation for the fix






























    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:42 PM
  • Here is a .bat to merge multiple .reg files into the Registry from the same directory.


    1) Create a directory;

    2) Save you .reg files to the directory;

    3) Save the below as a "Reg_It.bat" into the directory;

    4) To merge the .reg files into the Registry in Vista and up environment:

        right-click on  "Reg_It.bat" and select "Run as administrator";


    Script merges the .reg files and restarts the Windows Explorer to pick up registry changes.

    Some Registry settings might still require a system restart to become active.


    All usual warnings precautions for altering Registry apply when you use this script.


    As normal, I test all my .reg files separate before gathering them into one directory and using  "Reg_It.bat".

    :: --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    :: Run this file to:
    ::      1) Merge all .reg file from this directory
    ::      2) Restart Explorer to pick up the new settings
    ::      25/11/2007
    :: ------------------------------------------------------------------
       pushd %~dp0&::
       for /r   %%a in (*.reg) do %ComSpec% /c start /wait %SystemRoot%\regedit /s "%%a"
                                               :: To update Explorer with the new Registry settings:
       taskkill /F /IM "explorer.exe"&         :: Close all Explorer instances
       start explorer.exe&                     :: Start the desktop instance
       explorer /e, %~dp0&                     :: Start Explorer in the same location

    :: --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    :: --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To Noel: Thank you, Noel. I tried to add some description to the above. Completely agree, it is a rather sharp tool and it requires a steady hand and caution, as anything to do with the Registry. The tool is in use for a number of years.

    • Edited by M3700 Tuesday, September 13, 2011 8:55 PM
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 8:40 PM
  • Just entering all the registry files in the current folder into the registry seems prone to error.

    You should at least make it more obvious that's what it does.  "Merge all .reg files from the same directory" isn't NEARLY a clear enough description!


    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:17 PM
  • Where did you get your information from?  Why are you changing five bits in the first Attributes field but only one bit in the second Attributes field?  Are you sure it is supposed to be a9400100?

    It helps to go back and look at what each bit actually does.  I found the relevant MSDN Library article here:


    Here's the original flag set for the two relevant portions of the DWORD:


    Here's the new flag set for the same portions of the DWORD:


    Yeah, that just looks plain wrong to me.  I have no idea what the "correct" value should be, but it probably isn't this.  SFGAO_STORAGEANCESTOR (Children of this item are accessible through IStream or IStorage. Those children are flagged with SFGAO_STORAGE or SFGAO_STREAM.)  Looks like whoever came up with this "solution" wanted to turn the root object into something that claimed to be browseable but force-validated by the shell, which would fail and cause it to not show up some places but will definitely cause crashing elsewhere in unsuspecting applications.

    Here's what concerns me most:  0x00400000 is SFGAO_STREAM (Indicates that the item has a stream associated with it. That stream can be accessed through a call to IShellFolder::BindToObject or IShellItem::BindToHandler with IID_IStream in the riid parameter.)

    Suddenly this Shell extension is saying to other parts of the OS that it supports functionality that it didn't previously claim to expose.  I'm not surprised that some people are experiencing crashes.

    Let's look at the second "fix".  It changes only one bit, so I suspect it actually works better.  0x00100000 is added:  SFGAO_NONENUMERATED (The items are nonenumerated items and should be hidden.)

    That looks a LOT more promising.  Unfortunately, that bit is already set on Favorites.

    The fact that there are people with crashing issues suggests that one (or both) of these fixes is broken and therefore this whole mess should just be avoided - Libraries seems to use physical file system, so that change might be safe, whereas Favorites (ab)uses namespaces, so getting rid of it correctly is going to be a LOT harder than just changing its Attributes.  As a software developer who has been working with Windows internals since Win95, applying either fix would likely reduce the stability of my environment.

    The simplest solution is to just collapse both trees. They still occupy some space but at least will stay out of the way (and you won't run into the issue of crashing other apps).

    • Edited by Tiger Litmus Tuesday, September 6, 2011 12:32 AM
    Tuesday, September 6, 2011 12:31 AM
  • I got these values by a) reading what others had done, and b) additional experimentation.  I did not find the documentation you have shown.  Are you sure it's pertinent for both of these fields?

    Since my original post I have personally reinstated the original "Favorites" registry value, as that seemed to be the source of crashes under certain conditions.  Putting it back (and as you say, keeping it collapsed) has proven a good compromise.

    I can assure you the listed tweaks other than for Favorites are perfectly stable.  Libraries and Homegroup:  GOOD RIDDANCE!


    Tuesday, September 6, 2011 1:43 AM
  • The reason you didn't find the documentation is because the documentation on Shell Folders is buried rather deep in MSDN Library and that particular link I dug up was obscured by layers of other documentation...and I was looking specifically for it.

    Shell Folders Attributes is what the SFGAO_ constants are.  SFGAO probably stands for "Shell Folders Get Attributes Of" or something like that and is directly related to the IShellFolder::GetAttributesOf() function.  Also, the Registry path includes 'ShellFolders', which was the clue I needed to figure out the correct search terms to use.  I was originally thinking they were some weird file attributes thing, then I remembered that the Windows Shell does things differently.  Anyway, yes, I'm sure the MSDN Library article I mentioned is pertinent for both Attributes fields.

    The Favorites fix is just dangerous - as you've discovered.  The Libraries one is possibly safe but I'm not going to apply that one given that whoever originally came up with it also likely came up with the Favorites non-fix.  I apparently already did the Homegroup fix - that one is definitely safe to remove as it is a standard set of Windows Services rather than a built-in Shell COM object - they are two completely different things.

    If possible, you should consider editing the original post and mention that you don't use the Favorites fix anymore due to crashiness so other people don't have to experience crashiness, remember that they applied a registry tweak, then come back and read through the comments to see our part of the discussion.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011 2:39 AM
  • If possible, you should consider editing the original post and mention that you don't use the Favorites fix anymore due to crashiness so other people don't have to experience crashiness, remember that they applied a registry tweak, then come back and read through the comments to see our part of the discussion.

    Great idea; I did that even before you posted.  :)


    Tuesday, September 6, 2011 2:52 PM
  • Cool.  Didn't see that until after I posted.  I like the red font.  Classy.  :)
    Wednesday, September 7, 2011 6:25 AM
  • From my self experiments I discovered below keys that control the Navigation Pane Per User in Open and Save As Dialog boxes on Windows server 2008 and Windows 7.


    To Disable Navigation Pane:








    To Enable Navigation Pane:









    More Details: Registry Tweak to Hide/Remove/Disable Navigation Pane in Windows Explorer, File Open, File Save As Common Dialog Boxes of Windows server 2008 and Windows 7



    You are the Knowledge You have…
    MyWordPress; MyBlogSpot; MyMicrosoft; MyCitrix;
    MyVMWare; MySymantec; MyLinkedIn; MyFaceBook; MyGReader;

    Monday, October 17, 2011 8:58 AM
  • Is there a way to just hide the video's library and the music library from the navigation pane, thus not all the libraries?

    • Edited by Lextoc Wednesday, February 8, 2012 8:54 AM
    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 8:53 AM
  • Thanks for the tip.   I started down the path of trying to figure out how to remove Libraries because it is always the first thing highlighted in the navigation pane when you bring up a Save As dialog.  Unfortunately, now that I've removed Libraries, it just highlights Computer.  I use Favorites all the time... any idea if there's a way to make the root of Favorites the default selection when you open that dialog?

    Thanks in advance!

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012 7:11 PM
  • Right click the library you want to remove and in Properties theres a checkbox "show in navigation pane"
    Friday, March 2, 2012 6:42 AM
  • Enjoy your clean Navigation pane!

    I am happy to report that the tweaks for removing Libraries and Homegroup work in Windows 8 and now there's the ability to remove Favorites by a sanctioned setting as well, so one can have an Explorer navigation pane that's not cluttered up with a bunch of root namespaces that don't really work right anyway.




    Detailed how-to in my new eBook: Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options

    Friday, March 2, 2012 2:45 PM
  • Notepad won't crash on Open or Save As if the Desktop is shown in the Navigation Pane. Just check Show all folders in the folder options and the problem will be fixed.
    Friday, March 9, 2012 8:36 PM
  • In my navigation pane I have

    > What is the container "Jack Schmidt"?  (It's a fake name btw.)

    It sits outside the Libraries but seems to be a library.

    It contains all the folders under C:\User\jschmidt   plus   a folder under the U:\ drive that I have designated as My Documents

    My "My Documents" (or Windows 7 equivalent) is a network drive folder under U:\.

    The system tells me I cannot add network locations that are not indexed.

    Our network is not indexed, but a folder inside my My Documents is in a library.

    Also, sometimes it's there, sometimes it isn't...  WTF!

    • Edited by bodwyn Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:17 AM pasted pictures got removed - replacing with ones I saved and uploaded (yawn!)
    Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:12 AM
  • Good tweak!

    Note that libraries still show up in places for Office 2010 and some non-Microsoft programs. However, it is gone in Notepad, Wordpad, ...).

    Any ideas???


    Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:54 PM
  • Yes, is there any way to hide the libraries from IE?  We need to run IE as a RemoteApp but the server's local libraries still show up.  We did get rid of the driver letters, so we're halfway there.  What good is RDS if you can't hide the server's folders from users?

    I'm also finding that the libraries show when windows explorer is first launched in the server console, but they go away when clicking on the computer link in the left panel.  Weird.


    Tuesday, May 21, 2013 2:54 PM
  • Hello Russel,

    Have u ever found a fix for this issue?

    I am designing a image for a school network with both RDS and Win 7 x64 workstations and I have the same problem.

    Curious if you know the fix.

    Thanks in advance.

    With kind regards, René de Meijer. MIEGroup.

    Thursday, October 3, 2013 6:28 AM