Windows 11 has two types of common file dialog boxes that can open when you select to open and save files. The modern one has a folder navigation sidebar. An older XP-style common file dialog box has Places Bar items to select within its window.
The modern common file dialog is more prevalent in Windows 11, but the old-style one with the Places Bar has not entirely disappeared. Some software packages still have Places Bar file dialog boxes. This is how you can change the items included on the Places Bars in Windows 11.
Check Out the Places Bar in the Registry Editor App
You can see what an old-style common file dialog box with Places Bar looks like within the Registry Editor. That app’s Export Registry File window shown directly below has a Places Bar. To open that common file dialog box, launch the Registry Editor and select File > Export.
The default Places Bar includes Quick access, Desktop, Libraries, This PC, and Network items for you to select. You can change what items are available to select on that Places Bar. For example, users who regularly save MP3s to My Music folders can add a My Music item to that bar.
How to Change Items on the Places Bar by Editing the Registry
Windows 11 doesn’t have any built-in options for customizing Places Bar items on the common file dialog box. Nevertheless, you can still customize the Places Bar items by manually tweaking the registry. To change items on the Places Bar, edit the registry as follows:
- Open Windows 11’s Start menu, and enter a regedit keyword in the search box there.
- Click Registry Editor with your right mouse button to select Run as administrator.
- Next, open up the Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies registry key.
- If no comdlg32 or Placesbar keys exist there, right-click Policies and select New. Then click the Key option to add a new one.
- Type comdlg32 within the text box.
- Right-click the comdlg32 key to select New and Key options for it.
- Input Placesbar to be the other key’s title.
- Select the Placesbar key you’ve just set up.
- Then right-click an area on the right side of the Registry Editor’s window to select the New and DWORD (32-bit) Value options.
- Input Place0 for the new DWORD’s title.
- Double-click Place0 to bring up a value box for it.
- Enter one of the values for Places Bar items listed below within the text box, and click the OK option.
- Repeat steps eight to 12 above to add Place1, Place2, Place3, and Place4 DWORDS to the Placesbar key each with different value data.
There are a wide variety of different Place Bar items you can add by inputting numerical values ranging from 0 to 39 and letters in the value data boxes for the Place DWORDs. Here are some of the DWORD values for Places Bar items you can enter:
- Desktop: 0
- My Documents: 5
- Favorites: 6
- My Music: d
- My Videos: e
- My Pictures: 27
- Recycle Bin: a
- Control Panel: 3
- Templates: 15
- Program Files: 26
- Printers: 4
- Recent: 8
- Startup: 7
- USERPROFILE: 28
- Cookies: 21
- History: 22
- My Network Places: 12
- SendTo: 9
- Start menu: b
- Resource directory: 38
An alternative method is to add Place0, Place1, Place2, Place3, and Place4 strings to the Placesbar key. To do that, right-click Placesbar and select New > String Value. Then you’ll need to input full folder path locations for items you want to add to the Places Bar in the strings’ value boxes.
When you’ve finished editing the registry, the Places Bar will include the items you’ve added. To see your changes, have another look at the Places Bar on the Export Registry File dialog box again. The screenshot directly below shows an example of a customized Places Bar.
To restore the default Places Bar items, delete the Placesbar key you added. You can erase that key by right-clicking it in Registry Editor and selecting the Delete context menu option. Then click Yes to confirm the deletion.
How to Change Items on the Places Bar With Melloware PlacesBar Editor
Instead of manually editing the registry, you can change Places Bar items with Melloware PlacesBar Editor. It’s an old piece of freeware software, but you can still utilize it on Windows 11 and 10.
The app lets you reconfigure the Places Bar for the Windows and MS Office file dialog boxes. This is how to change the five Places Bar items with Melloware PlacesBar Editor.
- Open the PlacesBar Editor page on the Melloware website.
- Click the PlacesBar download link on the right of that page.
- Press Win + E and navigate to the folder you downloaded the ZIP file for Melloware PlacesBar Editor.
- Open the Placesbar ZIP archive, and click the Extract all button for it.
- Next, select the Show extracted files option so that the unzipped folder will automatically open after extraction.
- Click the Extract button to open an unzipped Placesbar folder.
- Double-click the placesbar.msi file.
- Select Next and I accept the terms checkbox for PlacesBar Editor.
- Click Next to reach the directory selection step. It will install in Programs Files (x86) by default, but you can choose a different directory by clicking Change.
- Then you can keep clicking Next until you get to the Install option. Select Install to add then Melloware PlacesBar Editor software.
- Double-click the Melloware PlacesBar desktop shortcut to run the software.
- Click the System Folders drop-down menus to choose alternative Places Bar items from there.
- Alternatively, you can click the Custom checkboxes beside each drop-down menu. Then click the Select Folder option to choose a custom directory, and press the OK button.
- Press the Save button to apply.
- Click OK on the Information prompt that pops up.
You can click the Test button to view your new Places Bar within Melloware PlacesBar Editor. To restore the original Places Bar items, select the Defaults option and Yes to confirm. Then click the Exit option.
Add Your Preferred Items to the Places Bar
So, now you can reconfigure the Places Bar to include your preferred items. If you have some software with the old-style common file dialog box, changing Places Bar items can come in handy. You can make more essential folders immediately accessible on old-style file dialog boxes by adding them to the Places Bar.