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Windows Explorer defaults to a simple view of the files on your machine. You can change that default to include all details by following a few steps.

How do I get Windows Explorer to display details by default?

A Windows 7 version of this article is available here:
How do I get Windows Explorer to display details by default in Windows 7?

Windows Explorer defaults to showing files as icons, and even to hiding some files from you. Personally, when it comes to my computer I'm a control freak - I want all the files and details by default. There are several options including viewing file details that you can manipulate, and it's fairly easy to make them the default. In fact it's one of my standard customization steps whenever I install or get a new copy of Windows.

It's easiest to think of this as a two step process. First we'll set an instance of Windows Explorer to look the way we want, and then we'll make it permanent.

  • Fire up Windows Explorer. You can right-click on "My Computer" and select Explore or if you have the windows key press it and "e" at the same time.
  • Select the View menu and then click on the view type you want. As I mentioned I'm partial to viewing file details so that's what I choose.

  • Select the Tools menu.
  • Select the Folder Options item.
  • Make any changes on the General tab that you wish.
  • Click on the View tab.
  • In the Advanced Settings box make any changes you wish. I typically select Show hidden files and folders and uncheck Hide extensions for known file types. Your choices may differ of course.
  • Press OK.

Now verify that Explorer is showing you things the way you want to see them. If not go back and adjust whatever needs to be adjusted. When you are done:

  • Go back to Tools, Folder Options, and click on the View tab.
  • Press the Apply to All Folders button. You'll get a reminder message that the new settings will apply the next time you start Windows Explorer.

That really all there is to it. Next time you start Windows Explorer, it should come up with the settings you've selected here.

As you might have guessed the two step process I've outlined above can be combined by not leaving the Folder Options dialog box before pressing Apply to All Folders. The only caveat is that you should press the Apply button at the bottom of the dialog before doing so to ensure that any changes you've made to appearance options have actually taken effect.

This video shows the steps to change the default behavior to show details instead of icons:

Article C1865 - November 24, 2003 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

December 9, 2003 3:04 PM

I've wanted this consitency in file view for some time & your explanation worked like a charm...


L Corcoran
March 12, 2004 5:13 PM

Thank you for the help. I, too, want to see all the file details and have been annoyed at home and work every time I have to change the view when I move between folders. Your description of how to change the default setting was simple and easy.
Thanks again.

April 13, 2004 6:08 PM

Is there a way to apply to a selection of folders to one type and another selection to another type?

April 14, 2004 3:13 AM

You are simply fantastic. You have helped me to solve a chronic problem which I always have with XP.

JW (Oxford, UK)
May 17, 2004 1:25 AM

Great explanatory video - thanks. This has solved a long standing problem.

June 11, 2004 4:19 AM

How can i make my default settings as details in explorer.

July 9, 2004 1:34 PM

It would be nice if the paper-clip told me things that were this useful.

August 22, 2004 11:26 AM


What do you do to set Details View as a default when File Brower is opened? Not Windows Explorer as explained above.

I have to change the view of File Brower from List to Details every single time when trying to open a new file. Being able to set Details View as default for opening file in WE would fix my problem. Thanks for your help.

August 22, 2004 11:52 AM

If you mean the file-open dialog box, I know of no way to make that stick. I agree it's annoying.

September 13, 2004 2:17 PM

Is there any way to view everything with details EXCEPT the "My Pictures" folders? That's the one folder where I prefer thumbnails. Thanks!

Bill Nicolai
October 7, 2004 4:14 AM

When placing the cursor on start and right clickking the "my computer" is not in the list.
How can I add this?
My problem is however I try I can't get windows explorer with a toolbar
could you help me please?

October 11, 2004 2:34 AM

Hi, I need set this behavior (which you had described) to many computers. Could I do it in some easy way from remote...such as copying regs or something like that. Thanks a lot.

Btw. great pages!

October 20, 2004 7:13 AM

Hello, we used Win2K servers as Terminal Servers for hundreds of users (with MetaFrame XP). The servers were originally set with Large Icons in Windows Explorer.
So when users open the Windows Explorer published app, they always get the Large Icons by default. There is a Policy enabled preventing users accessing the Tools / Folder Options menu for many reasons.
I want to know if there is a reg key or something else to show the "Details view" by default to my users.


November 8, 2004 3:32 AM

Hello, how to on an standalone machine is clear but we use Win2K servers as Terminal Servers with MetaFrame XP. The servers were originally set with Standard View in Windows Explorer.
So when a user opens Windows Explorer they allways get the Standard View by default. There is a Policy enabled preventing users accessing the Tools / Folder Options menu for many reasons.
I want to know if there is a reg key or something else to show the "Details view" by default to my users.

Seems that ohter Admins get the same problem

hoping for a solution
until then

November 8, 2004 6:46 AM

Thank you for the very clear, simple and useful explanation. Also the video is great and clear. Thank you for sharing your know how.

Keith Cowan
November 30, 2004 7:22 AM

Is there an easy way to get expanded details view applied to all music folders like bit rate, playing time and genre?

April 8, 2005 9:22 AM

Thanks for the tip. This was a major pain point for me and now it is solved. Thanks a bunch

April 26, 2005 11:40 AM


April 26, 2005 12:20 PM

Sounds like viruses and/or spyware. Start with this article:

May 24, 2005 11:54 AM

Is there anyway to get these setting to apply to a popup file chooser dialog?

I hate it when I have a pop-up dialog come up and it defaults to icon view and I have to switch it to list view. I hate scrolling right! I'd rather scroll down!

May 27, 2005 7:00 PM

Not that I'm aware of. It's a common question, and I've not found a solution yet.

July 15, 2005 1:35 PM

Thanks for the great video clip showing how to display folder details by default.


August 2, 2005 2:19 PM

this works fine for explorer but how do you show details automatically in File open from say Solidworks and other applications. It must be reg setting

August 3, 2005 5:30 PM

To the best of my knowledge you cannot. It'a annoying, I agree.

September 11, 2005 8:02 PM

I am at a loss. I have done the above several times. And this used to work with no problem. But lately, it is as if it is not remembering my settings. I want it as details, yet no matter how many times I tell it to use details, and apply, and make all other folders look like this etc... it still opens as thumbnails. it is driving me nuts. Any clue?

David H
September 13, 2005 3:38 PM

Just a quick comment to thank you for the tip - the fact that Windows Explorer defaults to an icon view is something that's been bugging me for ages. It's great to be finally rid of it. Thanks for the advice.

Mike N
September 18, 2005 8:39 AM

Good explanation very helpful Thank you

matt t
October 3, 2005 9:39 AM

The only way I've found to show the details view for all files is to open explorer, select the highest level drive, set that drive to details view, then select the "apply to all subfolders" option. This only works for explorer and not "open file" dialogs.

Sameer Shah
October 20, 2005 2:25 PM

thanks! That was a perfect explanation to a problem that has been driving me nuts!

October 25, 2005 8:55 AM

Thanks Leo - This one has been bugging me for a couple of years!

Arpan Dhar
December 15, 2005 12:05 AM

Dear Mr. Leo,

In windows explorer i am not able to see "Folder Options" in "Tools' menu. Please help me. Its happening in both Windows 98 & Windows 2000 Professional

Thanks & Regards
Arpan Dhar

bruce kelly
December 15, 2005 7:45 PM

i have done all of the above things and more but xp home edition will not make the normal view "details" how can i change the real windows default view to details? this obviously will have to be a registry settinng since windows will not allow it using the normal settings.

Arnold Stark
January 5, 2006 3:31 AM

Good explanation. Few people know about this trick.

evan lum
January 12, 2006 12:20 AM

Thank you very much, you just saved me a lot of time. I just bought a computer preloaded with Windows XP Media Center 2005 & every folder in Windows Explorer displayed either icons or pictures. I was laboriously converting the view on each folder to details until I read your article & it worked the first time. Don't know why Microsoft assumes everyone wants to see pictures & dumb icons.

January 18, 2006 12:58 AM

i used computer windows 98
folder option no tools menu
this problem what i do

mahmood ali khan
January 22, 2006 5:41 PM

In windows explorer i am not able to see "Folder Options" in "Tools' menu. Please help me. Its happening in both Windows 98 & Windows 2000 Professional

January 24, 2006 1:06 AM


i used windows xp

my problem is the folder option is not see on the tools menu and control can detect this folder option and hiden files please helpe me.

surender panthri
January 30, 2006 1:12 AM

when i open windows explorer and than i click Tools menu but don't show folder option so how can i do?

February 16, 2006 8:13 AM

thank you very much will definateley look for advice from you in the future

February 17, 2006 3:40 AM

when i open windows explorer and than i click Tools menu but don't show folder option so how can i do?

February 18, 2006 4:57 PM

I've known about this for a while, but how do you change the default view to details in the File dialog?

February 18, 2006 8:20 PM

To the best of my knowledge, in a *dialog* you cannot. Frustrating, since I'd like to change it myself.

February 21, 2006 10:39 PM

i have a problem, can you give me an advice to this, when i open windows explorer and then i click Tools menu, it won't show the folder options menu. how do i access the folder options? is there any shortcut?
thank you so much :) and God Bless!

February 21, 2006 10:44 PM

Try item #129 here:

March 8, 2006 4:56 AM

when i open my windows explorer, i cant view anymore the folder options in the tools menu, because of the brontok virus that i acquired through email. How can i let the folder options show again?.. thanks

March 22, 2006 12:14 AM

my problem is the folder option is not see on the tools menu

March 23, 2006 2:37 AM

when i open windows explorer and than i click Tools menu but unable to find folder option so how can i do?

March 30, 2006 6:06 PM

Thanks so much for this useful tip, but more importantly, for the effective way in which you convey it.

ankur gupta
April 11, 2006 9:50 AM

when i open my windows explorer, i cant view anymore the folder options in the tools menu, because of the brontok virus that i acquired through email. How can i let the folder options show again?..
dont think i've just copy pasted the above problem is really the same.i have re installed windows by formatting c drive but still the problem persisits.before reinstalling i had a comp virus check of my full hard do i need 2 clean up my hard drive completely.i have some very imp data tht i cant loose.nd i am afraid if i take the backup the problem wud again arise.plzz pass me the soln.
eaerly waiting 4 ur reply

Wes Hackbarth
April 17, 2006 11:51 AM

Leo, your ability to write with such clarity and coherence is really refreshing. You are a real asset to the lay-computing community. Keep up the good work. I've always wanted to change my file view default to details and could never figure it out. Your explanation was terrific.

April 17, 2006 12:41 PM

My problem is the same. Can't view the folder options under the tools menu on my win xp sp2 machine. Shows only these three items:

Map Network Drive
Disconnect Network Drive

Please help me.

May 5, 2006 3:31 AM

heyy!!! you are such a big help!! seriously! --legendary!

--thank you.

May 12, 2006 10:36 AM

Hey, having the icons is a pain in the butt. I just followed these directions, they worked beautifully! Thanks a lot for posting this!

Adil Osman
May 24, 2006 9:54 AM

A great tip .. thank you!!

May 26, 2006 2:00 AM

nice one!!!!!

May 27, 2006 7:55 AM

Being able to choose details for Windows Explorer is great. I'd like to be able to somehow 'capture' those details, say to work in Excel. My attempts to copy, print, send, etc. have not worked out. Any suggestions?

May 27, 2006 9:36 AM

I use the command prompted for that. The DIR command displays similar information, and can be copy/pasted, routed to a file or printer. The command prompt is worth looking into.

May 27, 2006 6:26 PM

In regard to your reply, the command prompt is good for the old DOS details, e.g. path, size, archive. I haven't found a way to use it to get the newer details associated with music or picture files (e.g. bit rate, title, etc.). The info is directory and explorer can display whatever you like. But I haven't found a way to get to it either through the command prompt or any other vehicle.

Mukesh Baldha
May 29, 2006 12:20 AM

My problem is the same. Can't view the folder options under the tools menu on my win xp sp2 machine. Shows only these three items:

June 9, 2006 4:30 PM

By default my XP SP2 will show tiles on reboots. I like icons and I have to change this constantly, via Windows Explorer>Tools>FolderOptions>... What is the registry settings by default look like for this. I'd like to compare mine with default to see if I need to make any changes. This tweak setting doesn't hold.

July 1, 2006 8:55 AM

My problem is the same. Can't view the folder options under the tools menu on my win 2000 machine. Shows only these three items:

Map Network Drive
Disconnect Network Drive

Michael I. Hayat
July 16, 2006 4:30 PM

Dear Leo,
I wish I had met you 5 years ago!
This tip is terrific, your explanation is very clear, and it's going to save me at least 5 precious minutes a day. That's 30 hours a year!
Thanks to you, every year now is a leap year!
Thanks a bunch, Theo!

PS: I also like the +e key combination to open Win-Explorer. Cool!

July 27, 2006 12:26 PM

how to apply the same view for subfolders only?

Dave C
August 4, 2006 11:03 AM

While that's great, I want to know where these settings are set in the registry.
I even tried RegSnap with no luck.

I want to roll out PC's (RIS based) and have them all have ICON be their view of choice for every folder.

IS there a registry setting for this? I've searched everywhere.

August 15, 2006 11:11 PM

Thank you soooo much - this is going to save me so much time and frustration.

August 18, 2006 2:11 PM

But where exactly in the registry is this setting located? I am having a problem where this setting is not sticking.

August 21, 2006 1:54 PM

I use a program on a server that I need to import files from my PC. The software prompts me with a Choose File window and the files are displayed in LIST format. How do I choose them to always be in DETAILS format? I already have the files setup to be viewed in the DETAILS format.

September 5, 2006 3:52 AM


I am facing a problem with the explorer view in sharepoint site. The view is "Icons" by default and I want it to be "Details". Is there any way to accomplish that. Appreciate your help.


Leo Notenboom
September 6, 2006 10:35 PM

In File Open and related dialog boxes, there's no way to set the default. Very frustrating, I know.

September 11, 2006 11:36 AM

these settings, where are they saved? because we want to save these settings for our users at logoff, and apply them again in a next session at logon. our users have mandatory profile, but don't want to set view all the time...

Graham Kelly
September 14, 2006 11:44 PM

Id like to know how to do this in Internet Explorer - have the "details" view as default when you try to save a webage??

Debbie Riser
October 13, 2006 7:21 AM

Great tip! I like you am a control freak....I like seeing the details.

October 15, 2006 12:30 PM

When I display details view in windows explorer I can choose the details to display for that folder. For my avi files folder I have chosen to display the duration. When I select this the files display their duration at a painfully slow rate. What's more is that the duration doesn't save - so next time I browse to the folder, the duration again takes an age to load file by file. anybody got any ideas?


October 30, 2006 6:42 PM

I also would like to know how to do this in the Internet Explorer, set "detail" view as default on the webpage for all users. Is there a way?

Jen Dillman
December 6, 2006 4:50 PM

Awesome tip....most times I need to see the details and I haven't changing my view for every folder.

December 20, 2006 10:25 PM


January 22, 2007 8:44 AM

So helpful!
I've wanted to know how to do this for sooo long and it took less than a minute to learn the trick. Wish i'd looked this one up 2 years ago...

February 7, 2007 8:27 AM

It works! This will save me a ton of time! Thanks!

February 8, 2007 10:30 PM

Thanx Thanx Thanx

February 16, 2007 7:33 AM

OK, That's my standard routine too, now a new twist. When I open up explorer (My Documents) it doesn't give me the 'Folder' view. I have to click on the Folder icon up top to get the left column. How do I make that the default view?

March 2, 2007 2:23 PM

Very helpful. I have been trying to do this for some time. I like to see file list and details.

Thanks again

Paul Kochie
March 20, 2007 7:30 AM

How do I set the default view to Details with the registry. I've got about 2,500 computers to do it to.

March 23, 2007 6:51 AM

Everyday I have to go into windows explorer - change the seetings to view details, go into tools - view settings and change it to view like current folder because windows explorer is not rememering my settings. Perhaps it has something to do with my CCLEANER program that I run daily to clean my computer. Perhaps this is clearing my explorer settings?

March 27, 2007 2:14 PM

I was aware of that method of setting a default view; unfortunately, no matter how many times I use it, folders randomly change to icon view. Is there a more permanent fix?

April 2, 2007 5:24 AM

A very valuable tip indeed. I used to do it manually for each folder and thought there was no permanent fix to this.

May 23, 2007 12:52 AM

thanks....that was a very valuable tip!!!

May 31, 2007 1:58 AM

My computer probably suffers from memory loss: it doesn't remember the new settings. I carefully took every step from the article but after restarting explorer or computer, it shows icons in stead of details. Once or twice i restarted the explorer and for one folder the detail-setting was right. The other folders where still displayed by icons. I pressed the button , the only thing is, since I've made no changes in the advanced settings, the button is unavailable. To test that, i did make changes and applied but there's no difference in the display of the icons... could you please help me?

Yo Yo Ma
June 28, 2007 6:55 AM

BOOYAH! This rocks!!

July 3, 2007 9:17 AM

Ok great! Thanks!

Now how do I do it for the 150 other workstations on my network? Is there a registry entry I could alter in a logon script?

Bibhudendu Mishra
July 12, 2007 9:31 AM

Thanks for the information... very helpful.

Phil Skversky
July 30, 2007 11:45 AM

I just started this new contract, and there's something wrong with either the PC I've been given or the network here. I do as advised - set the view in one folder to Details, then go to Tools > Folder Options, click on the View tab and click the "Apply to all folders" button. Even though I click "Yes" to the subsequent confirmation, it does not change the default view to Details for all folders.
Is there some registry hack to make that the default?
If there's a DOS command to set the view option for each folder, then I can write a command script to go thru and do so for every folder and subfolder.
Since Windows Explorer can remember the setting for each individual folder, that info must be stored somewhere. Where is it stored, and is there a way to change all those values?

October 23, 2007 12:50 PM


Rich Murphy
October 25, 2007 9:33 AM

Tried this but settings don't stick. Do you know a way to make "details" always show in all your programs?

November 14, 2007 10:42 PM

thank - so frustrating beforehand!

November 15, 2007 1:04 AM

I'm seeking a solution to a problem that occurs
after doing the above. After Apply to All Folders
the detailed view is the template/default, but ...
a. I might change a Folder view temporarily from
Details to Tiles or Icons or Thumnails;
b. Later when I change the Folder view back to
details, Explorer does not diplay the
template/default details that were Applied to
All Folders. Explorer seems to display details
based on some entry in the Registry for
folders of certain types of files.

I would like to know either/both
1) how to have Explorer return the folder view
to the template/default details view;
2) how to quickly/simply return the folder view
to the template/default details view. One thing
that achieves this (but at an unacceptable cost)
is changing one character in the folder name.
Then Explorer returns the detail view to the
template/default detail view; but upon reversing
the character change Explorer loses the
template/default detail view.
Any experience/help with this?

December 8, 2007 6:49 PM

thanks for the tip

December 22, 2007 11:17 AM

Thx man! This really helped me out =D

December 25, 2007 10:41 AM

I guess we're not going to get an answer whether or not there is a registry entry hack to overcome problems of windows explorer not remembering the details view by default after changing the setting within the folder options.

December 29, 2007 2:04 AM

thx, just what I was looking for

January 6, 2008 10:17 PM

Exactly what I was looking for. (Didn't notice the 'Apply to All Folders' button myself :P, found it on your article)

January 25, 2008 4:56 AM

When you are selecting Details as the default setting for ALL Windows Explorer Displays, run Windows Explorer and click View and select Details. Then click on Tools,Folder Options,View and UNCHECK "Remember each folder's View settings". With "Remember each folder's View settings" unchecked click on "Apply to ALL Folders". This should make any folder you Explore default to DETAILS. This was most annoying until I tried this combination in Windows XP Home Ver 2002 SP2. Thanks for getting me on the right track.

January 25, 2008 10:30 AM

The article at the top of this page is great, but does not quite solve my problem. I have a keyboard with keys that can be assigned tasks, and I am trying to figure out how to have explorer come up with the "folder" tab (at the top) pressed. I can make it go to the root file I want, but can't get the folder "tab" look that I prefer.

February 7, 2008 2:36 AM

it doesn't work by me. Is there any registry entry to edit?!

Timothy Takemoto
April 26, 2008 11:48 PM

If you do find out how to get windows to show the detailed view the open, select, save dialog box then please do let us know. There is probably a registry entry somewhere.

June 2, 2008 8:56 AM

Thanks Leo !! Quick and easy. Now if I could just find out how to better sync outlook and my iPhone all would be great in the world.

June 24, 2008 11:34 AM

Thanks so much, I was tired of the view always being icons, You have saved another ignorant computer user.

July 10, 2008 12:00 PM

Hi Mr. Notenboom, this was very helpful and it worked a treat. Unfortunately, one of these really annoying computer guys works in our office, and after having seen that I changed the setting, he changed the settings on every computer in our office so that the new settings are not saved when the computer is shutdown.... It's a minor thing, I know, but please could you tell me what he did (changed)??? thanks a lot in advance...

July 27, 2008 6:29 AM

That sort's part of my problem, but as a photographer I have images on an external drive and want to see them as miniatures (thumbnails). Changing to Details in View changes all the external hard drives as well. What can I do. Thanx

July 31, 2008 10:05 AM

Mitch, if you go into the 'View' tag in Explorer's Folder Options again, there's a check box: Remember each folder's view setting. I.e. once you set Detailed view as default, applied it to all folders, then each change from detailed view on any window you do, in your case into thumbnails, should be saved. So check that box and your problem should be solved.

August 25, 2008 10:39 AM

Outstanding!!! I have been looking and looking all over Microsoft help and all they tell me is how to show details one folder at a time. You are a genius!!! Many, many thanks!

August 31, 2008 2:56 PM

Thank you Pop (Posted by: Pop at January 25, 2008 04:56 AM).

September 23, 2008 5:28 AM

How do I get this to happen on all my drives, and stay everytime I turn on my computer. I have several network drives and I have to do this for everyone, and I have to do it everytime I turn on my computer.

Chris Williams
September 28, 2008 8:55 AM

When I get to the step requiring me to click "Apply to Folders", that button & "Reset Folders" button are grayed out. I can't select either one.

October 3, 2008 8:10 AM

You, little things like view folders you way makes life easier. Thank you for Leo for this video, short and sweet and very helpful.

October 9, 2008 11:18 AM

Wow this worked perfect. I wish I'd done this sooner. Thanks a lot

October 14, 2008 10:17 PM

Good article. Works really fine.

November 11, 2008 4:47 PM

Looking everywhere for this. Thank you very much.

December 9, 2008 4:06 PM

Thank you, you just saved me a ton of time, not getting the view details in a folder drove me nuts.

December 10, 2008 6:45 AM

This has been bugging me 4 years .... thanks for ur help!!

Gerri Ricci
January 2, 2009 12:24 AM

I would like to change the default wording in the Details Pane that appears on the left hand side of Windows Explorer. Currently it shows me the document name, file type and date modified. I'd like it to show date the photo was shot, using the pictiure metadata. This information only talks about viewing the files, not changing the information in the panes. Can you advise?

January 20, 2009 6:41 AM

Hi Gerri,

Right click (assuming standard Mouse config)the details (ie. headers) for options eg. Header for Name, which will provide a list of options - Select which will provide a greater level of detail. Use the buttons to organise to your preference and then save - hey presto.

Equally you can drag and drop headers to suit your preference.

Again for permanent explorer following Leo's guide lines above before closing window.

Ciao Baby

March 2, 2009 8:30 PM

Excellent! Might not be hard core Windows programming, but it was also driving me nuts having to go to the details button ALL the time...


March 16, 2009 12:01 AM

5min x 200 approx days/year x 10years = 7 days you have saved me changing folder settings manually. You are wise. My first born child shall be named after you in honour of your greatness.

April 3, 2009 5:20 AM

This comment does not apply to Vista. Please describe how to show file details by default in Vista.

April 21, 2009 3:25 AM

thanks alot, i had even gotten a thought this being a trojan/virus/malware behaviour. thanks alot again.

April 27, 2009 7:24 AM

Thanks a lot. I appreciate your work.

May 2, 2009 10:12 PM

Thank you, saved me lots of frustrations

July 22, 2009 11:23 PM

Dear Leo

i know this ..but i want to edit registery so that by default it always show details view.

Paul Sadowski
September 12, 2009 2:21 PM

And where do I find the Tools menu? My Windows Explorer in Vista has NONE! Thank you. PS

In Vista, look under Organize -> Folder and Search Options.

September 23, 2009 9:52 AM

Thank you! This is exactly what I needed, when I needed it. Your directions are concise and easy to understand.

Thanks again!

Bob Smiley
October 12, 2009 1:59 PM

Leo: I've used this in the past with much success. Is there a way to do a similar thing with the columns in the detail view? For example, I like to see the "Attributes" column. I tried displaying that column in a folder, then choosing folder options, view, apply to all folders, but the columns don't seem to be part of that feature. Do you know how to make my custom column list the default for all folders in the details view?

October 24, 2009 4:15 PM

I consider myself an advanced user of Windows and I have changed nearly every option in the Advanced Settings section of the View tab over my time, but do you think I had ever acknowledged the blinding obvious Folder Views section? No! :) Thanks for the article.

October 31, 2009 9:07 AM

Good info, but to take it a step farther, I'd like it to open with it reverse sorted by date (newest file at the top). Is there a registry setting to allow this?

Joshymon Mathew
November 2, 2009 12:53 PM

How can i remove the details of display like rating, tag, author, genre, etc... from Windows Vista.
Thanks in advance

November 16, 2009 3:04 PM

Works fine but not with Search. How can I extend it to Search results

Moses H
December 10, 2009 3:23 AM

Could you explain when creating, renaming, deleting items between the All Documents & Explorer View, item changes are not replicated between the views?

December 24, 2009 9:11 AM

God bless you!!! This is very helpful. Your instructions are easy to follow and they worked perfectly!!! Thank you so much.

Anthony Owen
January 26, 2010 9:53 AM

Fine, if it worked. I work in the video industry and often have multiple versions of the same video or audio, so I always need to see date of creation, file size and so on.
But the moment I have any sort of media file in a directory then Windows INSISTS on hiding the information about the file and showing things like 'artist name', 'track name' and other stuff which has no relevance at all.

EVERYTHING which exists on a computer is a binary file. To think of it as anything else (music, video etc) is ridiculous. That MS itself is now trying to force users to stop thinking 'files' and start thinking 'music', 'film' etc. is just plain stupid (and wastes me so much time, resetting folder properties, only for them to change back next time I boot the machine back).

Sometimes I long for the times of DOS, computing was a lot simpler then (and I edited media, used the 'net and so on, all under DOS) than it is now when the computer insists on doing things that I don't ask it to.
/rant over. ;-)

February 17, 2010 5:00 AM

That works for about 2 seconds until I go out of Windows Explorer. When I exit Windows Explorer and then go back in, I'm back to thumbnails. I want Details view to stick.

March 24, 2010 9:04 AM

What a great little tip..I've struggled so long with Windows, and it's constant alterations of how I like the look of my folders (of which there are many). Thank you very much, you are a star :)

Dianne Campbell
April 21, 2010 8:02 AM

I fixed my Explorer so it always shows file details, but I was hoping it would also apply to all Office Open File views. It did not. Do you know if it is possible to set a default for the view I get when I want to open a file in Word or Excel or any Office application?

Jan Kushell
May 6, 2010 2:17 PM

Thank you for your great information. You have saved me from the headache of continuously having to change the Windows Explorer default to details. Why can't Microsoft hire someone like you that can answer questions in plain English. No wonder Google is such a rising star. Google finds things on your computer faster than Micosoft's search utility. Thanks again. I've bookmarked your page and subscribed to your newsletter. Jan Kushell

July 17, 2010 4:21 PM

Hooray! Thanks for these instructions. I like to see the file details, too, and was so frustrated having to change the view every time I opened a new folder!

Stephen Mann
September 14, 2010 9:23 AM

But, how do I make it stick? If I add a video file to a folder, Windows changes the view all over again. I ALWAYS want ALL of my Windows folders to open in the 'details' mode all the time.

January 3, 2011 8:43 AM

No. That doesn't hold all the time. Windows will slip back to that small ison view. Besides, what I always wanted was to freeze the view to be sorted a certain way (by date, or type, etc.) and retain it. This Windows is incapable of. It's been around so long, and you don;t have the ability to tweet and personalize. Stupid. Yes, I am venting.

January 31, 2011 10:02 AM

This works fine but how do you establish a view that automatically shows the latest files first without clicking on the date column?

May 19, 2011 6:30 PM

I want this to be applied to everyone in the organization, how should I do this?


July 13, 2011 1:27 PM

Thanks kindly for posting this , E is MUCH nicer now with details displayed :D


Dred Stimpson
October 7, 2011 7:10 AM

I'd like to set the The Open/Save Dialog Box to "Details View" for Internet Explorer. The default is always set to "List View".
This cannot be set with Windows Explorer (tools, floder options....)

So is there a setting within Windows 7 that will allow this, or is there a regedit work around? I'm not interested in third party software.
If there is no solution I'd really like to know that, as countless hours of searching on line has only yeilded the Explorer Tools Folder Options answer and the ever popular, buy this software ad.

Thanks in advance.

I'm not aware of a way to change the default for file open and save dialogs.
October 22, 2011 8:04 AM

Following your instructions to set the Detail View as the default works only until I shut the computer down. When I next turn the computer on (Windows XP), the Icon View is right back as the default!

What more should I do to make the Detail View permanent as the default?

The only thing I can think might be the cause of losing the Detail View as the default is the CCleaner program which I use each time before shutdown. But up until about two months ago, I did not have a problem losing the Detail View as default while using the same shutdown routine as now.

E. C. Griffin
January 6, 2012 8:41 AM

The non-intuitive 'thinking' by Microsoft's engineers is unbelievable! When will that Redmond gang understand that it's all about easy OPTIONS? Give consumers 'options' so that they can customize these really simple things the way they want. With every release of Windows they toss out, it's seems to be an either/or proposition with these guys; leaving hapless users to have to jump through technical hoops to tweak and refine their systems. I suspect we are all sick and tired of this nonsense. The Windows Folder View settings scheme (or lack thereof)in Windows 7 is more than maddening. Even more maddening is the fact that these folks at Redmond seem never to listen and act in a corrective fashion to the hundreds of thousands of complaints by an ever-increasingly dissatisfied and frustrated public. Get a clue dudes and dudettes!

C L Edward
February 4, 2012 12:50 PM

Your advice on how to coax Windows Explorer to remember your view settings was exactly right as far as it went. Unfortunately, the next time you invoke Windows Explorer, it does not remember (if it ever paid any attention?) to your settings. Where does one go in the registry or elsewhere to "finalize" your requested settings?

Drew Jay
March 7, 2012 6:53 AM

Thanks Leo! If I just would have known this years ago it probably would have saved me a few hours in my life (if you add up the seconds it takes me to click from icon/thumbnail view to details view).

March 25, 2012 12:59 PM

Thanks Leo

I'm looking for a long time this setting explorer

April 12, 2012 12:20 PM

for XP
is it what U are searching for ?

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