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  • Fickle File Explorer Column Headings

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Windows 10 version 20H2 – October 2020 Update Fickle File Explorer Column Headings

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      • #2355708
        Chris Greaves
        AskWoody Plus

        Here’s the deal:-
        If anyone, man, woman, child, dog, lurker, guest or anonymous wossit can come up with a foolproof method for forcing Windows File Explorer to show, always, for ever and anon, “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size” as column headings in and under all circumstances, then I promise either to leave these forums and never return, or to stay until the day I die. Popular vote should decide. And only my vote counts, and if necessary, Linux it will be!

        I don’t care how this is done:-
        (1) Binary patch to an EXE or DLL
        (2) One-time *.reg patch to the registry
        (3) Volatile *.reg patch to the registry that must be invoked at re-boot.BAT time.
        (4) Using the new trick to delay updates for 90 days
        (5) Leaving the laptop on all night
        (6) etc.

        It goes without saying that a satisfactory permanent solution will also see me re-subscribing to FatherChristmas.com and ToothFairy.org, as a Premium or Angel member.
        I would even give up the remainder of my subscription to Ask Woody/Woody’s Lounge/Woody’s Fan Club et al for a foolproof way to thwart File Explorer and its snide pal Windows 10 in the matter of column headings.
        I think instead I will have to settle for an explanation “Get used to it, Chris!”.

        I can’t remember having these problems in Win3.1 but I suspect that they were there; they were certainly there in WinXP, Win7 and for the past twelve months in Win10.
        Explorer01
        Above is what I like to see. “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size”. They are FILES, regardless of their content. They are manila folders and I write the labels the way I can understand the labeling scheme.
        There is nothing else I need, and nothing else I want, but these four headings. I say with confidence after thirty years of trying to cajole, persuade, exhort and, as of this date, being willing to bludgeon File Explorer into a boring life of nothing else but “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size”, ever again.

        If I never again see useless columns of empty metadata, they can bury me in the cemetery up on the hill in the shadow of the twin water towers; just someone make sure to drop the dozens of Windows CDs in the coffin so that no youngsters get sidetracked into a life of grime.
        Explorer02
        When I issue a search, asking for a list of specific files, I get a two-row display (hence only half as much data as my eyes/brain can process) with no headings. Certainly not the sort-able data regarding “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size”. Oh yes! I get some of that data, but I can’t use it to clarify the results.
        Explorer03
        If I stray into sylvan fields of in instrumental classical music (my other weakness in life) File Explorer wanders off into (as Bill Bailey would say) “a surrealist ramble, a two-dimensional continuum” with four empty columns of vacuous vacuum.

        About once a year I search forums of ever more dubious nature, each bragging that they have found a solution.
        They haven’t.
        And I would so like to die happy after another twenty years of using Windows File Explorer MY WAY.

        P.S. I have and use Everything.exe and FileSearchy.exe.

        With absolute faith in AskWoody forums,
        Thanks
        Chris

        Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

        Attachments:
      • #2355756
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        Chris,

        Give this a try.

        1. Select your Documents folder in the navigation pane of File Explorer.
        2. Right-click it and select Properties.
        3. Click the Customize tab.
        4. Set as follows:
          Document-Properties
        5. Click Apply.
        6. Click OK.
        7. Your back in main FE now setup your columns like you want them to look/order, etc.
        8. Click on the View tab.
        9. Click the Options icon (far right of ribbon).
        10. Click the View tab.
        11. Set any options you want in the Advanced settings section.
        12. Click the Apply to Folders button.
        13. Click Yes. Apply-Folders
        14. Click OK.
        15. Repeat procedure for any folders not under Documents you want to standardize.

        Search now looks like this:
        SearchResult
        My Word file looks like this:
        FEWord
        Note: The display of Folder Path in the Search Results is added because you want to know where the file it found is located (done by Windows).
        HTH 😎

         

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        Attachments:
        • #2355839
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          “Give this a try: Select your Documents folder in the navigation pane of File Explorer.”

          Thanks RetiredGeek. This looks like the procedures I have tried Lo! these many years, but I asked for advice so I shall follow yours to the letter, and then I shall report back.

          I do not use the “Documents” folder, but perhaps Documents is the magic pathway to nirvana, so it is worth a try. (I am with Alex on this; except I don’t want to specify for C: and D: (in my case C: and T:) but for the entire PC.)
          In the past I have tried applying the settings to the root of drive T, which is nowadays assigned to the unlocked VeraCrypt partition.
          I suppose that when the T: is dismounted Windows might lose whatever settings I had made. But to that purpose I shall as you suggest plough ahead with Documents. Perhaps the original programmer figured everybody would have and use Documents, so that was a stable bedrock on which to base folder views.

          “15. Repeat procedure for any folders not under Documents you want to standardize.”

          I have 12,654 folders on my data drive T:
          I had 60,000+ folders on my system drive C: when I canceled out of the Properties box.

          Right. A fresh coffee, your advice pasted into a new MSWord document, and off I go!

          Thanks
          Chris

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

        • #2355846
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          Well, that didn’t take long, but I am not finished yet.

          1. I applied your steps to the “Documents” folder, thinking that by a quirk of a Windows programmer 30+ years ago FE stored settings with that folder entry and used that folder entry as its master template.

          In your “5. Click Apply.” the Apply button came up disabled, but I switched to General then back to Documents and the Apply button was then enabled, so then I clicked it.

          I had not previously used the “Options” button far-right, but I wanted to follow exactly the steps you recommend, so I chose “Options”. I saw what I have seen before, but perhaps Context Is Everything.

          I saw in “11. Set any options you want in the Advanced settings section.” an option I had not remembered using, to wit “Restore previous folder window at logon”, but left it as it was, vacant, since you did not expressly say that it should be turned on.

           

          2. Then I repeated your steps, but this time after selecting the root drive of T: in the left pane.

          So in theory all the folders of my data drive T: should be set up nicely.

          I did NOT reboot at this stage, in case rebooting causes loss of settings, so fresh out of instructions I did a search on the T:Music folder looking for MP3 files, with the awful two-row format I mentioned in my initial post.

          Untitled
          Rats!

           

          A cursory sample of half a dozen folders in T: show the four column headings as requested, but this was often the case; just not always, and in the past I have not recorded the conditions under which the required four headings did not appear.

           

          So for the time being I will suppose that all my folders on my data drive T: are correctly set and will remain so for ever. (But secretly, I doubt it).

           

          I would like now, if it does not try your patience, to make my Search layout look like yours, that is, with my four chosen column headings, one row per result.

           

          So now I head off and pay especial attention to your instructions in the Search arena. This time I shall

          (1) reboot to see if that was needed before Search behaved correctly

          (2) try a Search after re-booting.

          (3) re-issue your steps for searching and then

          (4) try a Search before re-booting and

          (5) try a Search after re-booting.

          Than I shall report back.

          Thanks again

          Chris

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

          Attachments:
          • #2355938
            Chris Greaves
            AskWoody Plus

            “(1) reboot to see if that was needed before Search behaved correctly

            (2) try a Search after re-booting.”

            OK. Now the quagmire.

            I rebooted, did a search, got the same double-high row – not my requested “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size” set.  Swore. Went off and did a little bit of productive work, and in doing that task needed to search T:Music again, tried “View, Details” from the ribbon and TaDa! (image below)Untitled-1The view includes the folder path on the RHS, but since it is AT the rhs I can ignore that; for now at least.

            I have exited FE and re-entered to search T:Music and get the same layout/format as shown above, so maybe FE/Search just needs to finish its tea-break before it starts using new settings?

            I am changing nothing until around this time tomorrow. I am  going to use FE as usual and see if the “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size” settings remain in place.

            I noticed that my folder of maintenance tools shortcuts T:Maint had adopted the “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size” settings instead of the Large Icons I had in place, but that means to me that the procedure RG suggested for settings has WORKED across all my folders.

            More later

            Cheers

            Chris

            Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

            Attachments:
            • #2357537
              Chris Greaves
              AskWoody Plus

              “I have exited FE and re-entered to search T:Music and get the same layout/format as shown above, so maybe FE/Search just needs to finish its tea-break before it starts using new settings?”

              I have been happy with the regular/default view of folders for two or three days now, but the SEARCH settings are weird.Untitled-4

              1. When I repeat the search for *.MP3 in T:Music I get one-line search results (with the appended path field), just as I did a few days ago. So far so good.

              2. I choose a different folder T:Greaves and search for *.doc and get the two-line version. Not so good.

              3. I return to searching for *.MP3 in T:Music and am back to the one-line option (good!)

              4. I search for *.MP3 in T:Greaves and am back to the two-line version.

              The folder settings “Name”, Date Modified”, “Type” and “Size” as column headings seems stable for Viewing a folder, but not for Search results.
              I am wondering whether the search results in T:Music work well for me because I have previously (as in a year ago) set them inside the search results for *.MP3 in that particular folder T:Music.

              Today I shall start working through the other solutions suggested here.
              But first I shall create a System Restore Point!

              Cheers
              Chris

              Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

              Attachments:
        • #2364147
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          A month has passed since I promised to explore the extra tweaks; I have failed to do so, due to time constraints, however I am back.

          “Search now looks like this:”

          (a) My general folder views seem to be consistent, for which I am grateful. A month’s-worth of consistent views is good enough for me. I occasionally get a weird view when I stray into a weird drive, such as my RamDisk E:, which did not get the treatment, but the folders on my data partition (T: Veracrypted) are consistent, and that’s the main thing.

           

          (b) My search window is a little weird. (But I am now in a position to implement those extra tweaks). In a regular folder on my data drive I use the Win10 search (F3) and the results come back in a grand “Extra Large Icons” view. Darn! I use the View menu to switch to details, and now I have details on the folder (say “T:\Greaves\Admin\2018”).

          I move away from that searched folder to (say “T:\Greaves\Admin\2019“) , ho-hum, then move back to “T:\Greaves\Admin\2018” and make a second search (F3) and this time (and all subsequent times) I get the Details view in the search results. Hooray!

          It seems to me that the Search results pane needs to be set to details the first time a search is done in that folder, but from that time on, Win10 remembers to present search results for that folder in details view.

           

          Whatever, I can live with that, setting individual details view the first search in any folder. In popular folders I need set the view to details just once, then never again. At least now I don’t set the view every time I do a search in that folder.

           

          Of course all bets are off the next time I reinstall Win10, I am sure. Or Win10 updates itself. Or the moon changes phase, or …

           

          Now, on to those tweaks: I shall perform one today and then wait a week of regular use to gauge the impact.

          Thanks

          Chris

           

           

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

      • #2355832
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Repeat procedure for any folders not under Documents you want to standardize

        Why not run the settings on Drive C:, Drive D:…

        I have a problem to get fixed width column.

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Alex5723.
        • #2355852
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          “Why not run the settings on Drive C:, Drive D:…”

          Hi Alex; I agree, and this is what I really want: My chosen four-column layout on every drive. Fact: I would want to apply that format to ALL drives accessed through FE via my machine.  “ThisPC” as it is known this year. Back in the day when I worked on corporate networks I would have wanted my four-column layout to be applied to the shared folder from YOUR desktop PC!

           

          “I have a problem to get fixed width column.”

          I am cautious about this.  Most times I am happy with an abbreviated column width – about 5cm – for the name; most of my filenames are resolved within the leftmost twenty characters .

          FWIW Autosize would bug the heck out of me when faced with a single file from a saved HTML page “1b008fc9-b074-4b2e-8e4a-c1e1f07d344b_002_GSW SpaceSaver 10 Gallon Electric Water Heater _ Home Hardware”

           

          Cheers

          Chris

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

      • #2355855
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Windows search is very uncomfortable for me. Also if I save results, they seem to be lost anyway and the search starts again, if I open saved search.
        I dont use windows native search for complex searching. Just for files in specific folders like documents. For complex search I use Total Commander, it takes some time, but I drink coffee and smoke cigarettes in the meantime.

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2355869
        alejr
        AskWoody Lounger

        Can’t help you with the search results columns issue (I completely disabled Windows search and use FileSearchEx instead) but there’s a fix for Windows file explorer “forgetting” folder views.

        The fix is to increase the number of folder views file explorer can remember as follows:

        1. Open regedit
        2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell
        3. Create a new 32-Bit DWORD value named BagMRU Size and set its “decimal” value to a number higher than file explorer’s default “remember 5000 folder views
        4. Log out and back in (or restart the explorer shell) for it to take effect.

        Personally I set mine to 20000 way back in 2014 while still using Windows 7 and haven’t had to reset any of my folder views (which are exactly the same as yours) since I did it.

        Google “remember windows folder view settings” for links that explain this tweak.

        • #2355943
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          “3. Create a new 32-Bit DWORD value named BagMRU Size and set its “decimal” value to a number higher than file explorer’s default “remember 5000 folder”

          Hello alejr, and thanks for this tip.
          I currently have no value “BagMRU Size” in that part of the tree, but after waiting 24 hours I will institute your tip and see if that nails the problem.

          “(I completely disabled Windows search and use FileSearchEx instead)”
          As I mentioned earlier in this thread I use 3rd-party (Everything.exe and FileSearchy.exe) for searches, but every now and then I feel that a simple Windows Search is all that is required.
          As well I still deliver training and help to people using Windows and who, for whataver reason, can not or are not allowed to install 3rd-party software.

          This business of folder views has been bugging me for years on my systems, but as well on other people’s systems.

          Cheers
          Chris

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

          Attachments:
        • #2364150
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          Hello again alejr

          The fix is to increase the number of folder views file explorer can remember

          This I have now done and will see what happens in Win10 Search for the next few days.

          I was thrown a bit by finding a folder BagMRU where I was to create a DWord BagMRU Size, but I have gone ahead. The attached image shows the current state of my registry. My guess is that each of the folders (101, 102, 103 etc) contains settings for the search in a specific folder, which supports my view that Win10 retains the layout (View details) for each searched folder, and so I have been setting up the view, folder by folder, and I made a search.

          Of course I would rather use block capitals and scream at Win10 File Explorer “I want this view by default on every folder you ever show to me”. Every. Folder.

          Thanks again

          Chris

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

          Attachments:
          • #2364241
            alejr
            AskWoody Lounger

            That key & value doesn’t normally exist so explorer uses its built-in default of remembering 5000 folders. To override that, you have to manually add the key and set a value for it.

            You’re right that all those subkeys (101, 102, 103…) contain the settings for specific folders, but they’re not just for “searched” folders. They’re for all the folders that have ever been opened in Explorer (including those on external and network drives.) The subkeys get updated using a newest replaces oldest algorithm whenever the limit is reached.

            When the capability to remember individual folder view settings was added to Windows 95 explorer, the 5000 limit was probably more than adequate. Back then very few users had more than one hard drive in their PC and external/networked drives were non-existent (or at least extremely rare.)

            Multiple drives (internal, external and networked) are very common these days  so users are regularly bumping up against that 5000 folder limit. Of course, unlike us, most of them probably don’t even realize it’s happening because they accept Microsoft’s idea of what their folder views should be.

      • #2355870
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        Re Search Results – these links might make an interesting read:

        How to customize default search view ?

        https://www.tenforums.com/general-support/73059-how-customize-default-search-view.html

        [Fix] Search Results defaults to Content View in Windows 10

        https://www.winhelponline.com/blog/search-results-content-view-fix-details-windows-10/

        • #2355947
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          <strong class=”gdbbx-bbcode-bold”>How to customize default search view ?

          https://www.tenforums.com/general-support/73059-how-customize-default-search-view.html

          Hello Moonshine,

          Thank you for the tips, I shall come back here if RG’s fixes don’t hold.

          From the first link I make a couple of notes:

          “… so the search view is saved somewhere on a folder basis.”
          “Note that the new customized default view will not apply to folders where you previously already searched into, because any time you search a folder it will create the per folder settings that has priority on the default settings.”

          Both of these cautions suggest to me that they are not the global blanket which I seek. I want to NOT specify specific folders from this day forwards.

          I want EVERY folder view, and EVERY search results view to be details with my stated four fields on view.

          The prospect of deleting (what is now for me) a hundred or so registry keys, or of having my carefully constructed registry key clobbered by a more recent search settings is of concern to me. As of course does the prospect of creating registry keys for each group of folder types (general, Documents etc.)

          Cheers

          Chris

           

           

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

          • #2356045
            doriel
            AskWoody Lounger

            Both of these cautions suggest to me that they are not the global blanket which I seek. I want to NOT specify specific folders from this day forwards.

            I want EVERY folder view, and EVERY search results view to be details with my stated four fields on view.

            Excuse my intervention and cheekiness, but is problem for you to click twice? If you have some search results, simply go to “View tab” and select type of the view. It literally takes two clics to reach your goal.

            EDIT: I attached screenshot.
            details

            Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

            HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by doriel. Reason: Picture with czech captions :)
            • This reply was modified 1 month ago by doriel.
            Attachments:
      • #2355948
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Repeat procedure for any folders not under Documents you want to standardize

        Why not run the settings on Drive C:, Drive D:…

        I have a problem to get fixed width column.

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Alex5723.

        Found this setting: View – Details – Size All Columns to Fit

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2355987
          RetiredGeek
          AskWoody MVP

          Alex,

          Sure why not! Love the fit setting (never noticed it), thanks! 😎

          May the Forces of good computing be with you!

          RG

          PowerShell & VBA Rule!
          Computer Specs

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2363279
          Alex5723
          AskWoody Plus

          WinSetView v1.50

          Changes:
          WinSetView 1.50
          5-4-21
          1.50:
          File and folder path type column headings are now only applied to search results. For example, if “Folder path” is checked, that column will appear in Details view for any search results, but otherwise, will not be displayed.

          The arrangement of the column heading choices have been changed to put file and folder path options first, as it makes sense to have a path option as the first column (after item name) in search results. The app default settings now include “Folder Path” as a selected heading.

          Other minor code clean up.

      • #2356044
        alejr
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’ve been using the “Size All Columns to Fit” option for many years but there’s a catch…

        Unlike the view and column settings which can easily be applied to all folders of the same type using the “Apply to Folders” option Chris mentioned, the column auto-fit option isn’t global (i.e. it has to be applied to each and every folder individually.)

        It’d be great if there was some hack or patch available that make it a global option but there isn’t (I’ve looked.)

        It seems Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, figures no one would ever want their file explorer columns to always auto-fit what’s displayed in them.

      • #2356052
        Chris Greaves
        AskWoody Plus

        For the sake of completeness I should stress that I am interested here in Windows File Explorer display only.That my Windows File Explorer display settings do not carry over into myriad other displays annoys me, but I know I have to accept that.Untitled-3This image is the File, Open dialogue box of MSWord2003. I rather fancy that I would have had a happier time since 1990 had every Open, saveAs dialogue box in every application (yes, QuattroPro, I’m speaking about you) had made use of a system-wide “This is how I like to see my file details” setting.
        Cheers
        Chris

        Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

        Attachments:
        • #2356300
          Chris Greaves
          AskWoody Plus

          “For the sake of completeness I should stress that I am interested here in Windows File Explorer display only”

          I am even more forgiving than that! I am not insistent that my display preferences be applied to plug-in devices such as my smart phones, or even USB drives (although it would be nice).

          As you might guess I am spending more than 24 hours keenly eyeballing Windows File Explorer’s ability to stick to my declared settings. So far so good!

          Cheers

          Chris

          Unless you're in a hurry, just wait.

      • #2356504
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Just found this app : WinSetView v1.23.
        Haven’t checked the app yet.

        “This tool provides an easy way to globally set Windows Explorer folder views. For example, if you want Details view with a particular selection of column headings enabled across all folders, then this tool will do that for you.

        The tool is comprised of two files: WinSetView.hta (HTML GUI with VBScript code) and WinSetView.ps1 (Powershell command line script).

        Double-click WinSetView.hta to open the GUI. When you click Submit, the hta/vbs script will pass your choices as parameters to WinSetView.ps1, which will make the changes and then restart Explorer.

        Each option, and related Explorer background information, is detailed below, but if you just want to get to it, the dialog is pretty much self-explanatory. For best results, close all open applications before running this tool. Open applications can prevent open/save dialog views from being updated.

        All changes made by this tool are per-user within the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive in the registry. No machine settings are touched and no elevated privileges are required. On each run, the tool makes a unique backup file of the affected registry values. A restore option is provided allowing you to rollback to any of these backups. There’s also an option to completely reset all Explorer views to Windows default values….

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2363460
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        Note, if you have the Windows Script Host disabled for security purposes the .hta file will not run.

        HTH 😎

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

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