Vista Windows Explorer View setting annoyance RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am having difficulty setting the default view for ALL folder views in Windows Explorer.

    I prefer the Detail view and want the FileName, Size, Date and File Type as the deafult view.

    I have NOT been able to set this for more than one folder view at a time and am not able

    to set it as default for all folder views like I could with Win2000 and WinXp, so I have to

    reset every time I reopen Windows Explorer. Also the default detail vies is set to

    Date Modified instead of Date, which does not always have an entry. I copy many

    files based on latest date.  This is a real annoyance and causes me a big loss of

    time working with files.


    I find in general Vista is not a workload reducer and Office 2007 in particlar was a real

    step back in features. I find all the prompts to copy or execute files to be a real

    significant work increaser. MS you guys need to do a better job of designing features

    that reduce workload instead of increasing it. For me Vista has been a real disappointment,

    not to mention hassle for all the programs that don't work on it and I have to find

    a means to repurchase to get software that works with Vista. What a bummer.....


    Thursday, October 4, 2007 5:37 PM


  • There may be hope for you yet .. there is a service pack on it's way .. by number SP3 it should be a good OS :-)

    Here's my way to get around the annoying change of folder details with the tempolates:

    (this won't work on the C Drive Root as the option isn't there in properties, just click a folder instead):

    In explorer, right click a drive, select properties, select Customize;

    Ensure it is set to "ALL ITEMS" template, click OK.

    Set up the look and tags as you like it, go to TOOLS, FOLDER OPTIONS, select VIEW, APPLY TO FOLDERS, click OK.

    Then RIGHT CLICK the Drive Root again and select PROPERTIES and CUSTOMIZE with 'ALL ITEMS' as the template, place a tick next to 'also apply to all subfolders'.

    Not a perfect solution, but works around the annoyance.


    Thursday, December 27, 2007 9:12 AM

All replies

  • Sunshine Design,


    Here is a method I can supply to you:

    1. Open one folder with Windows Explorer.
    2. You can then click the triangle sign in right of Views button located at top-left window.
    3. Choose detail in drop-down menu.
    4. You can now choose the Name, Size, Date Modified and Type by right-clicking on the column, which is very similar with Windows XP and 2000.
    5. Click Organize, which is in left of Views button, then choose Folder and Search Options in drop-down menu.
    6. Choose View tab.
    7. You can now complete your configuration via clicking Apply to Folders button.
    Tuesday, October 9, 2007 2:46 AM
  • Did you just seriously give that as a solution?
    Monday, December 10, 2007 4:58 PM
  • ^^ Agreed! - That doesnt solve the problem at all... 

    Personally, I prefer a details view across the board with 'Size' and 'Type' columns. 

    In XP and before, in Folder Options you could hit 'Apply to All folders' and edit the filetype 'Folder' setting it to 'Explore' by default which worked perfectly.

    In vista however, they've changed it from 'Apply to all folders' to 'Apply to all folders OF THIS TYPE', and removed the 'File Types' tab altogether.  This is another way M$ want to dumb down the general population by making everything 'automatic'.

    It seems completely random what type of view I will get when I look at a specific folder.  Every time I go to my storage drive I see either the 'Details' view (which I want), 'Large Icons' or massive 'Tiles' which are NOT easy on the eyes and make it awkward to navigate.  Each time, I click 'View' and change it to details.  Originally I also went into folder options and hit 'apply to all folders' but gave up on that and now just change it every time.

    I know they're 'trying' to make it display a view which relates to the types of files in the folder, but not everybody wants this.  There has got to be a way to disable all Vista's automated garbage and give control of my computer back to ME.  If anybody finds this, let me know!  All I've found on Google are details on how to RESTORE all these stupid settings I want to get rid of.
    Sunday, December 23, 2007 3:40 AM
  • It could be worse. Vista has decided that my default view in explorer has the columns Name, Artist, Album, #, Genre and Rating. A completely useless view for me. I have to change it everytime I go into a folder by changing the type of folder. It's the biggest waste of time. There are not even songs in these folders. I have no idea how this happened.

    Wednesday, December 26, 2007 7:14 PM
  • I have to say I gave up fighting the issues with Vista and devolved my laptop to Windows Xp SP2 after it killed my visual studio 6 set up for the 3rd time and was completely unrecoverable the 3rd time. I had to start from format the drive to rebuild as VS6 was completely unrecoverable. Microsoft your Vista is a bust and users are hating it, expecially the developers. I want my money back for it. I feel ripped off. I think it's time you start listening to the users and develop what we want and not what you want to give us and force on to us as you did with Vista.


    Thursday, December 27, 2007 1:21 AM
  • There may be hope for you yet .. there is a service pack on it's way .. by number SP3 it should be a good OS :-)

    Here's my way to get around the annoying change of folder details with the tempolates:

    (this won't work on the C Drive Root as the option isn't there in properties, just click a folder instead):

    In explorer, right click a drive, select properties, select Customize;

    Ensure it is set to "ALL ITEMS" template, click OK.

    Set up the look and tags as you like it, go to TOOLS, FOLDER OPTIONS, select VIEW, APPLY TO FOLDERS, click OK.

    Then RIGHT CLICK the Drive Root again and select PROPERTIES and CUSTOMIZE with 'ALL ITEMS' as the template, place a tick next to 'also apply to all subfolders'.

    Not a perfect solution, but works around the annoyance.


    Thursday, December 27, 2007 9:12 AM
  • Hey Klaus,

    I tried that one just after I made that last post but it didnt do much.  Icons were in display view, right columns were chosen, 'Apply to subfolders' etc etc but as soon as I closed and opened explorer again it was back to random.

    Like Donovan above, I find it very random how vista chooses which view/columns to display.  I've had 'Artist, Title' etc show up in folders with nothing but text files.  2 seperate dirs that are of type 'All Items' displaying different views.  In the same window!

    I dont believe for a second that Vista is a huge slump like many people are making out, I've used it for yonks now and find most features handy.  Dont really use super-tab for changing programs, most of the time I dont need to see a whole image of the window to know what I'm looking at.  One thing I DO love is the textbox in the start menu.  That was a brilliant idea, and whenever I sit in front of an XP machine I realise how much I've come to depend on it Smile

    Indexing is a bit of a pain, I created a new disc image on my harddrive somewhere but was in a hurry so didnt specify the output directory.  Thought I could find it easily with windows Search, but to no avail.  Told it to search everywhere, indexed or not and it couldnt find my iso.

    Sorry 4 getting off topic - there are a million things on both sides of the vista fence, but we're here to discuss a way around the random view bug.  I still havnt come across a fix that works.  Anybody else?
    Friday, December 28, 2007 1:08 PM
  • Thanks KlausdB, it worked fine for me on disk-level for all disks exept the c-drive, but did that one by sub-folder.


    Thursday, January 3, 2008 10:56 AM
  • And for me, when some registry hacks did not. I haven't rebooted yet, but shutting down and restarting Explorer it seems to have worked so far.
    Thanks for that, it was hugely annoying not to be able to see the details view.
    Tuesday, January 8, 2008 1:58 PM
  • Here is the fix for Windows Expolorer being helpful. I was simply trying to see what file had the latest time stamp, but couldnt' cause all I could org by was music file related headings, no one understands the frustration unless you experiece it  1st hand :-)

    It got to the point were I had the XP cd in my hand, but thought one last look on the net to sort this out. thank god I found this.

    Sorry don't know how to "Quote" as such but this came from a user on this forum in another thread, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    "Are you saying that a folder that had a template of All Items and has been viewed in Explorer (so that it's view is saved) is switching templates when new content is added?


    I didn't think content sniffing kicked in on a folder that already has a saved view, but maybe it does.


    Be aware that the 'Apply to Folders' option only affects folders of the
    same type or template, e.g. 'All Items', 'Documents', 'Pics & Video', etc.
    So if you want to set list view as the default for all the major folder
    types, you need to use 'Apply to Folders' five times, once from each type of


    That being said, you can force the 'All Items' template on to
    all folders with the following:

    Copy the text between the lines below into notepad & save as a .reg file.
    Watch out for line wrap -- [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\...\Shell] is all one line,
    there is a space between 'Local' and 'Settings'.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell]


    Merging the .reg file will set the 'All Items' template for any folders that
    don't currently have a view saved with a different template.  You can clear
    all saved views by deleting the

    "HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags"

    key BEFORE merging the .reg file.  If any folders open with a different
    template after clearing the 'Bags' key & merging the .reg file, they most
    likely have a template specified via their desktop.ini file.

    Good Luck,


    • Proposed as answer by William69 Tuesday, January 5, 2010 4:34 PM
    Thursday, January 10, 2008 10:34 PM
  • "Set up the look and tags as you like it, go to TOOLS, FOLDER OPTIONS"

    I can't even find Tools (or any menu) anymore in Explorer..?

    My folders keep on changing randomly, sometimes they're all Music, sometimes some of them start using Group by and strange sorting, I can't take it much longer. Also, Explorer crashes several times per week, without even re-opening the folders I had open.

    I shan't put my whole list of issues here, but let me say that Vista has been an extreme disappointment to me. Before actually using it, I thought people were just doing their usual MS rants, but this is bad, really bad. Since I develop desktop applications for a living, I need to learn about all the new security issues, and I will probably have to keep it around for a while longer, but I'll go back to XP as soon as I can.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008 2:26 AM
  • Thanks man!
    it's looking better now
    as an extra touch I removed permissions on the bags key except read for everyone Smile
    Tuesday, April 8, 2008 11:41 PM
  • This works if when choosing the details to display, date modified or type, etc.. and also change the view settings and/or pixel column width as well, then it will propagate the changes to all folders. Additionally you may need to try doing it to a sub-folder, not root directory of C:
    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 10:52 PM
  • At least some of you seem to be able to CHOOSE DETAILS in the Vista explorer. The 'developers' who were allowed to completely ruin this part of Explorer must be insane. What is the point of having a group of 'new' features supposedly with immense 'power' if the fundamentals have been reduced to garbage? I've been writing software for 40 years now, and I'M embarrassed for the colossal  mess that has been made of one of the main features of Windows, from the earliest versions. I tried to look at the date modified column and somehow made it disappear. And since there seems to be no way to CHOOSE DETAILS I guess that folder will just have to exist without dates.

    Bill Gates, we need you to unf**k this garbage. I have an MBA as well as a EE, and I want the head of whoever allowed this garbage to pass out the door and turn a simple, classic file display/organize/use tool into a ____ hole! I mean was this change in the requirements document and clearly specified, or was it just handed to some newby with the sage direction: "Screw this up and confuse as many long time users as possible."

    This is the worst thing that Microsoft has ever done outside of stealing every idea that they can. The irony is that Windows Explorer was one that they owned and perfected.

    I'm sure that the MS execs, if they pay attention at all, will see this Vista screwup as just another reason to ship development to India. A way to avoid responsibility for mistakes and mismanagement. Listen, the ONE thing that any manager has to do is to be able to look in the mirror and say "Well, today I'm the bozo."
    Friday, October 2, 2009 1:14 AM
  • Thanks so much! I may not have solved the other problems but at least I can add 'date modified' to the explorer.
    Friday, October 2, 2009 1:19 AM
  • Thanks, this worked for me just fine.
    Tuesday, January 5, 2010 4:38 PM
  • just a general comment to the microsoft folks

    diddling the office menus, and the seemingly endless pointless tweaks of well established interfaces are equivalent to an automobile manufacturer putting the steering wheel in the backseat and the dashboard in the glove compartment.

    So i'll give google apps a try, and devote a surplus machine to ubuntu linux and open apps. hopefully this means i'll only have to go through this frustration one more time.

    best regards and farewell
    Friday, January 22, 2010 11:56 AM
  • Thanks for the registry edit hack - I can't believe that's what it takes, but it worked great.  A source of constant grief is now gone, what with folders randomly opening with some ridiculous view option.  I could never figure out what it based it on.  I had one folder of c++ source code open up using the audio template.

    Anyway - thanks again, and I would also add that I've been using Ubuntu a lot lately too and it is very usable.  I have not been a linux person before now but Ubuntu really seems to have taken it up a notch in terms of ease of use.
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 7:56 PM
  • Hi, I have the converse problem: I would like to view any folder in any old way I want, and return to that view the next time I open the folder!  I jumped from XP to Win7 and I must say I never encountered this problem in XP.  Does anyone have any suggestions, or have a link I could check out?  From what I've found thus far, the fine folks at usoft felt what I was doing was not the proper way to view folders ;-) and so per-folder settings don't exist anymore - now there's only 5 views, General, Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos.

    I've diddled all the switches / options I can find (short of the Registry), to no avail...


    Wednesday, April 21, 2010 3:36 PM
  • This is a Vista discussion... I see though, that in Windows 7, if you upgrade, the files are set with your settings from XP; however, if you do a new install, you can open explorer and go through two steps:

    1) locate the upper right corner icons which when you hover your mouse over it, it says "Change your view"  This lets you find the details view by clicking the down arrow slightly to the right of the icon.  Select details from the sliding menu bar.

    2) now find the column (third column) labelled "Type".  Again locate the tiny arrow to the right and click it.  There should be two check boxes.  Check them both and this will give you the application extension and the file folder information in your view.

    3)Here is what is missing "Show hidden files".  I still haven't figured this out.  There is probably a registry setting somewhere.

    AAH, I see there is a hack above that is in an italic font and something about quoting people that actually has an answer to #3 above.  Not sure why people use weird fonts... I must have glazed over it.   Looks like that works for #3.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell] "FolderType"="NotSpecified"

    Copied italics... did not work but above did... not sure what the difference is

    • Edited by Crakdkorn Friday, July 30, 2010 10:56 AM reg file
    Friday, July 30, 2010 10:03 AM
  • Has anyone every found a solution to this really irritating problem? In some folders or drives, even those that have no media files, Windows Explorer switches to this useless view and I can't get back to the normal details view. I can't even figure out how to change the type of folder as described above.
    Saturday, August 7, 2010 11:04 PM
  • William69 has found the solution.  Thanks. 

    It took only about a min or two and now all my folders show the proper "details" view in Vista ... not the goofy "details" view that has mp3 music tags instead of file details like size, etc.

    Thank you sooo much!!

    Thursday, June 7, 2012 4:51 AM
  • Hear, Hear!

    Must have spend a year of my life going through and RE specifying preferred view settings, including deleting fields which are totally useless. A total waste of time. Will try the suggested remedies, thanks

    Thursday, July 11, 2013 3:51 AM