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The Windows Vista Details Pane

Vista’s new Details pane hovers like a low-lying cloud along the bottom of every folder. Just as the Details pane’s name implies, the little strip lists arcane details about the item you’re currently viewing, a treat drooled over by techies. The Details pane is shown in the following figure.

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View Vista’s new Details pane.

Open a folder, for example, and its Details pane dutifully lists the number of files that folder contains. It even says whether the files live on your own PC, or through a network.

The real information comes when you click a file. For example, click a music file, and the Details pane shows a thumbnail of the album cover, the song’s title, artist, length, size, and even any rating you’ve given it through Vista’s Media Player. Click a photo file to see a thumbnail preview, the date you pressed your camera’s shutter button, and the photo’s size. Here are a few more details (!) about the Details pane:

  • The Details pane knows more than it first reveals. Because it’s resizable, drag its top border up a bit. As the Details pane grows larger, it starts to reveal more information about your highlighted file: its size, creation date, the date it was last changed, and similar tidbits. A quick upward tug offers a quick peek at information; drag it back down when you’re through.

  • If you think the Details pane consumes too much screen space, drag its top border down a bit. Or, turn it off: Click the Organize button on the toolbar’s leftmost corner, click Layout from the drop-down menu, and click Details Pane. (Repeat those steps to revive a missing Details pane.)

  • While editing a file’s properties, feel free to add a tag — a keyword that lets you relocate that particular file more quickly.

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