Do you ever get aggravated by having to hold down the Ctrl key to select multiple individual files or folders in Windows Explorer? Or by having to hold down the Shift key to select an entire series of files or folders? Today on OS Tips, I’m going to show you how to open up a hidden feature to get away from those keys altogether and make selecting and moving files around a bit easier in Windows Explorer.

First, you’ll need to enable this option. You’ll need to get to the Folder Options menu. You can either: 1) Type folder options into the search box of the Start menu or 2) Go to Tools, then Folder Options in Windows Explorer (if you don’t have Show Menu Bar enabled, type Alt then T then O). Once you have the Folder Options menu open, go to the second tab for View, then scroll down in the Advanced Settings box until you find “Use check boxes to select items.” Check that to enable the feature, and then click OK.

When you go to Windows Explorer now, you should see small checkboxes to the left of all files and folders that you hover over with your mouse. Obviously, if you want to select a file or folder, check the box and uncheck to deselect. Then, you can cut or copy files around however you wish. The checkboxes also permeate through every facet of Explorer. If you look on your desktop, checkboxes will also appear next to all your icons now, providing you the same level of functionality. Whenever you initiate a Save or Open dialog box, the checkboxes will also be there. The nice thing about this feature is that it doesn’t interfere with any other features of Windows Explorer: You can continue using the Ctrl and Shift keys and double clicking to open folders if you so desire.

One last tip is that you should use this feature with the Detailed View. This view provides you with a checkbox at the top of a list of files/folders so you can quickly select them all. On top of that, the checkboxes are placed in a much more intuitive way in their own column, as opposed to other views where the checkboxes are located in the upper left corner of a large icon for example.

What do you like or dislike about this checkbox functionality? Let us know in the comments!