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Win7 Explorer list view column widths RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have two Win7 Pro machines, both fully up-to-date, both using the Windows Classic theme with a few tweaks that I don't think have anything to do with my question. Explorer looks and behaves differently on the two systems, and I don't know why.

    1) In Explorer's List View, machine X makes each column the width of the longest name in that column. Machine Y makes all the columns the same width, determined by the longest name in the folder.

    2) On machine X, if the rightmost column is only partially visible, if I click on a file in that column, it instantly scrolls to the left to make the entire column visible, even if the file name was already entirely visible. Naturally, this foils double-clicking. On machine Y, if the rightmost column is only partially visible, clicking on a file in that column doesn't cause it to scroll, even if that particular name is only partly visible.

    3) Machine X has more leading between names. Machine Y has less, meaning that you can get more files into a column in a window of a particular size.

    4) The View menu on machine X lists only "Status bar" in the first section. Machine Y lists "Toolbars >", "Status bar" and "Explorer bar >". Machine X lists eight views, ending in "Tiles" and "Content". Machine Y lists "Extended Tiles" but no "Content", although "Content" still appears in the slider when you click the down-arrow next to the views button. All the other menus look identical.

    To avoid that irritating automatic scrolling, I'd like to get machine X to behave like machine Y. But I don't know how I got Y to behave that way in the first place. It just magically changed one day. I noticed it immediately, but I hadn't done anything obvious. The only other differences I can think of are: X is 64-bit, Y is 32-bit. X has a 2560x1600 display, Y has a 1920x1200 display. But these were always the case, even when they behaved the same.

    Does anyone know where I'd find settings that relate to any of the above behaviors?

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 3:25 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    For better understanding, could you please share the screenshot for the two explorers with us to compare the differences?

    I would suggest you check the "view" under Control Panel\Folder Options between the two machines\accounts, by the way, have you checked the view of the explorer in another user account in machine X?

    You can also reset the folders to the default view settings under Folder Options, check if it can make any differences.

    Another place which deserves a check, control panel\system\Advanced system settings, compare the settings under "Performance" tab.


    Yolanda Zhu
    TechNet Community Support

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 5:25 AM
  • I've made screenshots, but I don't see any way to post them here.

    I've checked the "view" settings, and the two machines don't give identical choices: machine Y includes a "Managing pairs of Web pages and folders" item with three radio buttons under it, while X does not. Other than that, everything is set the same (quite different from the defaults, though). And I don't have any other accounts on these machines to compare to.

    I tried resetting the defaults on machine X, which unsurprisingly didn't change anything, since it hadn't changed before. I don't want to reset to defaults on machine Y, since I don't want to lose the mysterious setting that I'm trying to figure out, and then not be able to get it back.

    I also checked the Performance tab, and it too has different choices. Machine X includes "Enable desktop composition" and "Show thumbnails instead of icons", while machine Y doesn't. The remainder are set the same.

    It's as though I have two different versions of the OS, but they're both Win7Pro, and they're both fully up-to-date. As I said before, X is 64-bit and Y is 32-bit, but in the past they looked the same (although I can't vouch that the menu settings were the same), and then one day Y changed to be more like WinXP (which I like in one important way). There must be some more settings somewhere. Is there some power tool that lists a bunch more options?

    And if you can explain how to post images, I'll show you the screen caps.

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014 6:46 PM
  • It's been a while, so I guess no one has an answer. Here's another clue. I notice that on 64-bit machine X, if I rename a file while in List view so that its order relative to the other files changes, it doesn't move until I refresh, or close and reopen, while on 32-bit machine Y, the list rearranges itself after every rename.

    The strange thing is that if I move or copy a file into that directory, it always appears at the end of the list on both machines until I refresh, or close and reopen.

    Also, a while ago, I saw one of the machines, I can't remember which, get into the state where a directory was unsorted. The View->Sort By menu didn't have a mark next to any of the sort criteria. Refreshing did not reinstate Sort by Name--I had to explicitly select it in the View->Sort menu. At the moment, I can't get either machine into that state, don't know how I did it, but it happened several times.

    This is behaving like I've got two different versions of the OS, yet they're both Win7Pro with all updates. Normally, apps that run on 32-bit and 64-bit systems are written to be independent of that, and simply recompiled. One doesn't normally write the same program twice, and do it differently. So I doubt it's a 32/64-bit thing. But does anyone have a 32-bit and a 64-bit machine they can compare?

    Monday, November 17, 2014 2:21 AM