Customize the Five Windows Folder Templates - This page explains that Windows 7 categorizes folders into 5 different types. When you customize a folder's display settings and choose to apply those settings to "all" folders (via the "Apply to Folders" button in the Folder Options - View dialog), it only applies the settings to folders of the same type.

This allows you to customize different display settings for "Music" folders versus "Picture" folders versus "General Items" folders, etc. If desired, it is possible to configure all types of folders to display the same way; it simply takes extra effort in that you do need to update all 5 of the folder type templates.

Using the information presented on the above page, I finally know how to configure all my music folders to include "Date Modified" and "Size" columns!
Sometimes when I sort a folder by date in Windows Explorer, the most recently modified files are displayed at the top of the list, and the folders are displayed at the end of the list. I like this, as it allows me to easily access a file I have just saved, without having to scroll down past the folders.

Other times when I sort a folder by date, the folders are all displayed at the top of the list, followed by the files, regardless of when the folders were modified in comparison to the files. I found* that I was able to change this behavior by doing the following:

  • open the folder properties

  • select the "Customize" tab

  • in the "Optimize this folder for" field, change the selected value

In my scenario, the "Optimize..." field was originally set to "Pictures", and I changed it to "General Items". After doing that, the files were displayed at the top of the list like I wanted them to be.

I changed the "Optimize..." value several more times to find out how each value affected the results. Eventually, even with the value set back to "Pictures", the files were displayed at the top of the list when sorting by date! Therefore, I can't say which value should be selected, to achieve a specific sorting behavior. However, the "Optimize this folder for" field does somehow affect the sorting. Therefore, if your files and folders aren't being displayed as desired, you could try changing that setting.

(*) - Stan's comment on this page inspired me to try changing that setting. Stan's reported workaround corroborates my findings: changing the setting makes a difference, but the results aren't always predictable. Stan wanted the files sorted the same way as I did, but he achieved it by changing the selected value from "General Items" to "Documents", whereas I first achieved it by changing the selected value to "General Items".



September 2017

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