Define Default Windows Vista Folder Settings

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 13, 2008
Updated • Sep 24, 2015
Windows, Windows tips

The default folder settings are not working consistently in Windows Vista and it becomes quickly annoying to move and resize folders to the right size all the time in the new Microsoft operating system.

Brian Scott posted an interesting Registry hack that lets you define default folder settings for all folders in Windows Vista. It requires that you delete two keys in the Windows Registry and modify a third one but it is well worth it in my opinion as you get rid of the issue once and for all.

A good suggestion would be to backup the Windows Vista Registry before starting to apply the changes. Windows saves folder information in two Registry keys that need to be deleted prior to applying the changes to reset already stored settings and make it easier to identify the Registry key that needs to be changed.

Open the Windows Registry by pressing Windows.R, typing regedit and hitting enter. Now navigate to the following two keys and delete them:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU

Logout from the computer system or restart it so that the changes can take effect. Now right-click on the Windows desktop and create a new folder. Open that folder afterwards and resize it the way you want the default folder to look like. You can also change the default view and other settings. Close the folder afterwards and open the Windows Registry again.

Go to the key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\

and notice that there is only one subkey now that should show up.. Expand that key, then the Shell subkey and the guid name afterwards so that the structure looks like the one on the image below:

The digit and the guid will most likely be different from the ones shown in the screenshot. Right-click the guid name and Export that key to the hard drive. Name it anything you want. Now locate the exported key on the hard drive and edit it with Notepad.

There should be a line looking like the following:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\4\Shell\{5C4F28B5-F869-4E84-8E60-F11DB97C5CC7}].

The digit 4 corresponds to the digit under the Bags Registry key, remember that it might be different on your computer system.

Replace the digit with AllFolders so that it looks like the following:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell\{5C4F28B5-F869-4E84-8E60-F11DB97C5CC7}].

Save the edited key and double-click it to import it to the Windows Registry again. Now open up any folder in Windows Vista and see that it will be displayed in the the default size and view mode that you picked up earlier.

Define Default Windows Vista Folder Settings
Article Name
Define Default Windows Vista Folder Settings
Find out how to set a default folder size in Windows so that all folders are displayed in that size by default.

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  1. Whiler said on November 12, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Just to tell you Thank You as I was very upset by the default Vista behaviour and you give me a solution which works as I wish!

  2. Jon Austenaa said on September 26, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I use Basta computing zmover 4.1. Works with all windows. I like to have smaller explorer windows, it makes drag and drop, and organizing files much easier.

  3. Peter Trelogan said on July 3, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I donnot know what the GUID is?
    Which level is it?
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\4\Shell\{5C4F28B5-F869-4E84-8E60-F11DB97C5CC7}].
    Is it: “5C4F28B5-F869-4E84-8E60-F11DB97C5CC7” ?

    Thanks in advance… Pete

  4. [A] said on July 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I officially *hate* the way Vista handles this. I tried this and other methods but everything ends up looking wrong.. I just gave up

  5. Jess said on March 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    It looks like this post might be a little old but I still found it on Google when I searched for this exact problem.

    Thanks a bunch for the fix, it’s been absolutely infuriating to have all of my new folders created as picture folders since I got my laptop.

  6. Bierfreund said on October 14, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    It works perfectly for all “normal” folders. But for example Folders that contain images (e.g. C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper or C:\Users\Public\Pictures\Sample Pictures) are not display the way i configured the first folder (detail view). Is there any way to aply the dfault settings here, too?

  7. Martin said on October 13, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Scott yes you are right, corrected the article.

  8. Scott said on October 13, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Martin – In the list of registry keys to be deleted, you list the same one twice. If I’m not mistaken, the second one should be:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU

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