Explorer: How to get folders to appear AFTER files and in alphabetical order RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • This is for a customer; I fix PCs for a living. PC is Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit OS .
    However, I would not get carried away with the OS as I can not figure out how to do this with Windows XP 32 bit. The folder contents are displayed as a LIST in all cases. The folder is the Documents library OR the C;\users\username\My Documents folder BUT I AM QUITE SURE THE issue exists for any explorer window or WIn 7 (explorer) library.

    Customer claims (and I have not verified this) that his previous PC running Vista 64 bit OS had folders listed after files and both folders and files were in alphabetical order.

    The question is how do I do that in the listed OS
    . This is what I have tried. In Menu bar (above the directory display and that is not the default and I had to add it somehow) I do View>Sort by>Name AND the folders get listed beneath the files as my customer wants BUT both folders and files are in reverse alphabetical order. If I click Name again (which is a toggle) it reverses to folders above files and in alphabetical order. If instead I try to use the ascending or descending choices ALSO in the view>Sort by menu (i.e select the one that was NOT selected of the two) it acts EXACTLY like I clicked Name again. ie it goes back to the initial display INSTEAD OF keeping files before folders AND changing things to alphabetical order so THAT does not work either.

    View>sort by> type groups pdf and word files etc all in otheir own section of the list and hence is NOT what my customer wants unless it is combined with some other (currently unknown) option.

    PLEASE REPLY WITH EXACTLY HOW TO DO THIS. Folder view options are Sort by and Group by and the latter does NOTHING like what I want (I tried it). Document Library options are Sort by and Arrange by and Group by.  The Arrange by also does NOTHING like I want.

    HOW DO I DO THIS SIMPLE THING WITH DETAILED STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED. The initial state is folders before files and both folders and files in alphabetical order.

    I strongly prefer you not reply to this post unless you have a Windows 7 (or at least Vista) PC and have actually tested your solution on a folder (ANY FOLDER) with both subfolders and files in it AND ALSO you kept tract of alphabetical order in your test.

    • Changed type Niki Han Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:32 AM dup
    Thursday, January 19, 2012 6:04 PM

All replies

  • Mister Red-Box,


    Thanks for your post. However we are far from there yet.


    #1 Are you saying that what I want can NOT be done in Windows 7 OR that you are not 100% sure and you do not know HOW and maybe it can be done. PLEASE REPLY.

    #2 I am ALSO very interested in how to do this in Vista. If by manual sorting (your 2nd screen shot) you mean DRAGING things into position (like turn off auto-position on desktop and drag icons where you permanently want them THAT IS NOT HOW HE DID THIS IN VISTA. He has 1000's of files !! and a hundred folders and is constantly adding new files. The goal I expressed was done by Windows explorer options in Vista. Not by dragging things into the right order. 


    I ALSO do NOT know what manual sort means at all.


    PLEASE REPLY on how you got that Vista screen shot EXACTLY. Step by step.




    Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:11 PM
  • Mister Red-Box,


    In Vista, why can't you do the drag in List view? Are you saying you can ONLY do the drag in Details view?


    In Vista if the Documents folder is ALWAYS displayed in List View AND the existing folders are dragged to beneath the files and 10 folders are added and 20 files (no dragging, just added by downloads from IE 9 or by dragging from other folders into the Documents folder, THEN do the new files STILL go above the folders and the new folders go beneath the files WITH NO DRAGGING

    OR (assuming we ALWAYS want alphabetical order) do the new folders (added as above) still go above the files.

    The POINT IS if (in Vista) we drag the existing folders beneath the files does that mean new folders added AUTOMATICALLY also go beneath the files OR just the ones that were previously dragged there.

    It sounds like you are saying that the drag does NOT create a permanent sort order BUT JUST for the dragged folders WHICH IS USELESS TO MY CUSTOMER and also that even the folder drag ONLY works in Details view not in list view.

    Please clarify if what I say above (ex the last sentence) is correct.




    Friday, January 20, 2012 3:36 AM
  • You fix PC's for a living? Why waste time working on a PC that is not broken?
    Friday, January 20, 2012 5:48 AM
  • Al Dunbar,


    Customer wants to move to new Win 7 laptop. He claims on old Vista laptop, in the Documents folder, the files were before the folders AND everything was in alphabetical order. (Based on what is above, I am beginning to doubt that and want to see the old laptop ASAP to verify).

    Oh, BTW, this is my BIGGEST customer who has also made significant loans to my business so his requests (for anything) take TOP PRIORITY.

    Fixing-computer people do a lot of things, upgrade PCs, networking, even iPads, WHATEVER PAYS THE BILLS !! If I don't know how to do it, I FIND OUT.


    P.S. Upset over Sarah Burke. Reminds me of Rabii Kirshner's famous book "When Bad things happen to Good People"

    Friday, January 20, 2012 4:43 PM
  • I hear you. I have had users who periodically expected the impossible from us. Fortunately the appearance of my next paycheque has never included this kind of thing as a prerequisite.

    Personally, I also doubt that what he has told you is absolutely true. If he can demonstrate it for you, then you'll have your work cut out for you. If not, you'll have your work cut out for you to find a nice way to tell him that either you think he got his facts wrong, or that the feature is simply not available in Windows 7. Good luck with that.


    PS: Agreed. I'm hoping there will be some kind of recognition at the next winter olympics for Sarah Burke's having lobbied to have the sport included there.

    Friday, January 20, 2012 8:49 PM
  • Al Dunbar,

    Regarding "I also doubt that what he has told you is absolutely true', you are correct

    (1) I looked at his old Vista PC today and sure enough the order was View>Detail and YES files before folders BUT otherwise in the order of modification date with the most recent ones at the top; NOT what he told me last Sunday, i.e NOT alphabetical order but date order. The date order was achieved by view>sort by> descending. All of which I could have achieved without posting in this forum.

    (2) Just for the record, files before folders AND in alphabetical order CAN BE ACHIEVED by(my own solution)

    First get the folders above the files and both groups in alphabetical order. (Use Sort by>Name if you need to TO achieve this).

    Then (KEY STEP) View>Sort By>More and check the box in the popup to the left of "Folder Name" and exit the popup.

    Then View>Sort By>Folder Name.
    Then View Sort By> Descendeing

    DONE ! The files are ALL above the Folders and both groups are in alphabetical order.


      Michael Gross

    P.S Your last name sounds familiar. I grew up in Seattle and we had relatives in Vancouver which we often visited and Dunbar Street is an important street in Vancouver.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 12:06 AM
  • Hopefully your client has accepted the fact that he misspoke - and appreciates your finding a solution.

    Unfortunately, I can't really figure out what the benefit is in coercing a behaviour from windows that differs much from the default.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:03 PM
  • Al and Mister Red-box


    Could you please reply (if you are able) to my new (but closely related) MS Win 7 Forum Question at







    Sunday, January 22, 2012 12:44 AM
  • Al and Mister Red-box,


    SORRY.  Link above does not resolve. My new (closely related) Question is at




    Please answer it if you are able.



    Sunday, January 22, 2012 12:15 PM