Nothing appears in Preview area at bottom of Explorer

Jan 7, 2016 at 8:36 PM
I just installed File Metadata 1.3 (64 bit) on my Windows 7 Pro (64 bit computer).

Installation went fine. This truly is a worthwhile addition, and it is too bad that M'soft did not include the function after XP.

I set it up initially for .txt files, and chose 'Simple'. I am able to add the metadata information with no problem. Right clicking on the file, and opening the Details tab shows what I added (Title & Comments). Also, I added a 'Comments' column to Explorer, and in Detail mode my comments appear.

But hovering over the file does not show either the Metadata properties (Title & Comments) or the text I entered. Likewise, nothing appears in the preview area at the bottom of Explorer when I click on the file.

I don't think it is a problem with my Explorer, because when I hover or click on your .msi file that I downloaded, all that information appears as it should.

I rebooted my computer, but that made no difference. Any idea what the problem might be?

Also, when I open the Association Manager, at the bottom left is a button which says 'Restart Explorer'. Exactly what does that do? Are you only closing and reopening Explorer, or something more?

Jan 9, 2016 at 7:26 PM
Hi Harry

it sounds as though things are working fine, by and large, as demonstrated by the fact that you can set properties and have them displayed in the details tab of the properties dialog for files, such as text files, on which this would not normally be possible.

So you should not need to reboot, or restart Explorer, nor would I expect doing so to make any difference. By the way, killing all instances of explorer.exe, and restarting it, is exactly what the Restart Explorer button in the File Association Manager does.

As far as I know, the fact that the properties do not show up when you hover over a file is expected behaviour. I do not know of anything that can modify the set of properties that Explorer shows there. But I would expect the properties to show up in the Details Pane, which does indeed by default show up at the bottom of the Explorer window in Windows 7. I have posted screenshots of what you would expect to see in both Windows 7 and Windows 8 and later in the documentation here . However, you mention looking in the Preview Pane, which is a different area, and shows the content of the file rather than its properties. What version of Windows are you on, and can you confirm that the Details Pane is being displayed?

Jan 10, 2016 at 5:29 AM
Edited Jan 10, 2016 at 5:31 AM

I have Windows 7 Pro SP1 (64 bit). I run a utility called Classic Explorer, so my view of Windows Explorer is not the standard. Also my terminology is probably not correct. So I have created 5 images, and I will explain them in the terms I used in my post.

Go here:

There are blue numbers in the upper right corner.
1 Is a .txt file that I modified with File Metadata named MapMarkerstring2.txt. I have right clicked on the file, selected Properties, and the Detail tab. That is what I called the Detail tab in my post. You can see that I added a Title, and Comments. I also added a Comments column to Explorer, and the red underline shows that my comments are correctly displayed in that column.
2 is what I see when I hover over MapMarkerstring2.txt. Neither my Comments or my Title are displayed here.
3 is what is displayed on the bottom line of Explorer in the red box (I call that the Preview area). Neither my Comments or my Title are displayed here.
4 is what I see when I hover over the file I downloaded from your site: FileMeta 1.3(x64).msi. All of the information that you added (Authors, Title, etc.) is shown here. The Comments are shown in Explorer (red underline on the right.)
5 is what is displayed on the bottom line of Explorer in the red box. All of the information that you added (Authors, Title, etc.) is shown here.

Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of the problem that I am having, and will aid in providing some ideas as to what might be causing the problem.

Jan 10, 2016 at 10:26 AM
Edited Jan 10, 2016 at 10:39 AM
Hi Harry

Thank you very much, the screenshots help a great deal. I think I can now see exactly what you are talking about.

File Meta does two things, in essence. Firstly, it configures the standard Windows property system to store metadata properties on specified file types. Secondly, it configures Windows Explorer (via registry settings) to show the properties in the selected profile in the properties dialog and the Details Pane. As far as I know, Explorer does not offer a similar mechanism for extending the properties shown when hovering over a file, or in the bar across the bottom of the window.

Classic Explorer is an extension to Windows Explorer. However, it is not obviously involved with the display of additional properties in the properties dialog, which appears to be working as normal.

I am wondering about whether the Details Pane also works as normal. In the standard Windows Explorer, the way to show the Details Pane is to go to the View tab, and turn the Details Pane on. The Details Pane shows properties in columns of name value pairs, and allows you to edit the values in place, as shown in the screenshots linked to in my previous reply. Certainly, for me, the Details Pane is the best feature in the Explorer experience.

After that, however, we have probably reached the limits. If Classic Explorer had a way of extending Explorer to allow the configuration of additional properties to show when hovering or in the status bar, I would probably not want to use it (unless of course, the settings were also consumed by standard Windows Explorer, which would be nice!)

I hope that this makes things clearer, if not better.

Jan 10, 2016 at 6:03 PM

Again, thanks for your diligent response. The problem is partially solved.

Years ago, when I first installed Windows 7, I bought a comprehensive manual. So I pulled it out again to better understand what you are talking about. In Explorer, under the Organize tab, I found that the Details pane was NOT selected. I selected, it, and now I see what you are seeing in the Details pane for all my File Metadata created files, as well as files that Windows already allowed to have comments, such as music, Office, etc.

But on my computers, there is a pane below the Details pane, which Windows calls the Status Bar, and is set on the View dropdown (the Status Bar is shown in the red boxes on screenshots 3 & 5 on the attachment I sent). Classic Explorer has the option for the Status Bar to display the SAME information as what one sees when one hovers over a file.

File Metadata does NOT, at least for me, display ANY info that I added with File Metadata either in the hover display (screenshot 2), or on the Status Bar (screenshot 3). For files that Windows has allowed to have comments, etc., the information is displayed when hover (screenshot 4) and on the Status Bar (no screenshot supplied). I don't know if you designed File Metadata to not work with hover & the Status Bar, or if I have a problem.

You might want to look at Classic Shell (which contains Classic Explorer). It is really quite powerful for a free utility. You can find it here:

Jan 11, 2016 at 4:37 PM
Edited Jan 11, 2016 at 4:45 PM
Hi Harry

No, this is not by design. It has honestly never occurred to me before to look at what is shown when you hover over a file. Poking around, however, it seems this is configured by a registry entry that I did not know about. The properties to show are listed in a value called InfoTip, on the same key as the FullDetails and PreviewDetails values that control the properties dialog and Details Pane respectively (currently set by the File Association Manager when the File Meta property handler is configured for a file type). . So, for example, for a text file, we might add:
This causes the file type and size to be shown with any comment and tag values when a text file is hovered over. Note that the properties in the InfoTip value must be a subset of those in the FullDetails value.

I will configure this registry value in a future version of File Meta. For now, you can achieve the effect by adding the registry value manually. I suspect that doing so will also cause the same information to appear in the status bar when using Classic Explorer.

Do let me know if this works for you, and thank you for putting me onto this.

Jan 12, 2016 at 3:44 AM
Edited Jan 12, 2016 at 3:49 AM

Works great! In both the Hover window, and on the Status Bar with Classic Explorer.

I know very little about the Registry, but with your guidance I was able to stumble around and get it done. (I do know enough to create a Restore Point first.)

Here is the code that I used:

Windows already uses Type, Size & Date Modified, so I was not sure if I needed to add them or not, or where they might be placed in the sequence if I did not add them. But what I added seemed to work OK.

I don't know how many of your users take advantage of the Hover window, but I use it all the time. I find when I have similar files, I can slowly move my cursor down the screen, and see what is in each. For me this quicker than clicking on multiple files.

So I encourage you to go ahead and change the code. Hopefully you can set it up so that whatever a user sets as the Metadata properties in the Handler he creates for an extension is added to the InfoTip; just as you do for Preview & Details.

Let me know if you include these changes in the update, and if I need to delete what I manually added before I install it.

Jan 12, 2016 at 4:51 PM
Hi Harry

That is very good news. You shouldn’t have to remove your manual changes when I make the update. In fact, I’ll probably make your property list the basis for the one I use in the standard profiles, so you shouldn’t see any change at all.

I’ll post again here when I make the change. And in the meantime, thank you again waking me up to the possibilities.

Feb 13, 2016 at 9:17 PM

After initial testing on my laptop, I installed File Metadata on my desktop (both are Windows 7 PRO (64 bit) OS. As long as I was able to type correctly, it all went fine, including adding the 'InfoTip' line in the Registry.

But I have four questions, based on how I am setting everything up. I'll start with the simple one.
  1. Not every extension in \SystemFileAssociations\ has the same entries included. I first started with .txt, as you suggested. The entry names that were there initially were: (Default), FullDetails, PerceivedType, and PreviewDetails. Some of the others don't have FullDetails and/or PreviewDetails. As long as I have the items I want in InfoTip, AND the properties I want in the File Meta Association Manager, do I care what other entry names are in the Registry extension?
  2. I wanted to add some of the Detail tab property entries that were already included before I added the .T14 extension(this is an extension used by a tax software program I have) Look at the attachment. The top image is what the Details tab looks like before I added .T14 to File Metadata. I was trying to recreate the 6 items highlighted in red. The bottom image shows the properties I added to the Preview panel and Details tab. The insert (pointed to by the arrow) is what the resulting Details tab has. The DateCreated and DateSaved extensions pickup the information like they should have. But the FileName, Type & FilePath did not. They require a manual entry, which is not what I wanted. Did I pick the wrong entries for these Metadata properties? I tried to open the sub files on each of the Property entries, but there must be thousands of them!
  3. Is there a list somewhere which contains all of the individual properties? I looked through the forum questions and the FAQ, but could not find anything.
  4. My tax program creates a different file extension each year. There was .T13, .T14, and now T15, etc. Rather than creating a different Metadate file extension, and Registry SystemFileAssociation for each year, will the Registry accept 'wildcard's? That is, could I create a SystemFileAssociation entry something like .T1(x), which would them work for every year from 11 through 19?
Thanks again for such a useful utility,


Feb 15, 2016 at 1:08 PM
Edited Feb 15, 2016 at 1:11 PM
Hi Harry
  1. As far as I know, the system reads explicit registry values, so as long as Infotip, say, is present, it doesn’t matter what else is present or not.
  2. It is just a question of picking the right properties. All of the six that you are looking for can be found under System. Setting the first six entries of the Details tab in your custom profile as follows will give you the properties that you describe:
  3. The properties are all documented, for instance, the System properties are described here: However, this information is rather too detailed, so I tend to just add properties with likely -looking names and see what they do, which is how I found the ones listed above. You will find that different properties give different presentations e.g. there are four or five properties in System that describe the item type in a variety of ways.
  4. There used to be some support for wild cards, but it was removed in Vista when they redesigned the property system. It will be necessary to add each tax file extension to File Meta. The good news, however, is that you can of course reuse the same custom profile.
Do let me know if this does not address your issues.

Feb 23, 2016 at 7:49 PM
Edited Feb 23, 2016 at 7:50 PM

Thanks for the detailed response. The items in 2. are perfect! I looked at the link, and I have no idea what they are talking about. So your cut and try method seems most appropriate.

I am having some problems with 4., reusing a custom profile. I just must not be doing it correctly. I modified the profile for .T14 substituting the entries you have in 2. for what I had. That works great for .T14. So I selected .T15, clicked on Custom Profiles, then under Custom, selected .T14. That cloned .T14 into .T15. I clicked OK, and on your main page, .T15 is highlighted, and all the correct new properties are listed in the Preview and Details panels. But as soon as I select another file extension name, and then reselect .T15, everything I added from custom .T14 is gone! And they do not appear when I go to Explorer and click on a .T15 file. Any idea what the problem might be?

I also have a more serious problem. The 'InfoTip' changes to the Registry no longer seem to work. I have looked at my registry entries and they appear fine. I have rebooted my computer a few times, and that was no improvement. Any ideas?

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:58 PM
Hi Harry

You should only need to go into Custom Profiles once to set up the profile. Say you called it ‘Tax’. Then, when you look at the .T14 extension on the main page, you apply the ‘Tax’ profile to it by selecting it in the combo box at step 2, before you click Add File Meta Handler. Then you can do the same for the .T15 extension, applying the same ‘Tax’ profile. There is no need to get into cloning profiles.

I will try out the InfoTip settings on my machines, when I have a moment, and see if they still work.

Feb 25, 2016 at 3:36 AM

**You should only need to go into Custom Profiles once to set up the profile. **
I must have missed this method. That certainly is a much easier way to do it.

**I will try out the InfoTip settings on my machines, when I have a moment, and see if they still work. **
No need to. It is working fine today. Either my mistake, or ???

Once again, a great program.