Windows Explorer in Vista and Windows 7 makes use of different folder templates to present the files and folders to the user. A folder with mostly images for instance is displayed using the image template, one with videos using the video template, and folders where a dominant type cannot be determined use the general view template. Folder views can change from one day to the other, for instance by moving 20 images to a folder with five text files, which usually changes the view mode to the image template.
This can be highly confusing, and requires some manual view mode modifications from time to time to change to the desired view mode. As we have mentioned previously, a wrongly configured folder mode can slow down the folder display time in Windows (see Fix slow folders in Windows 7).
There is currently no direct option to change the folder view mode for all folder templates in the Windows operating system together. The only options provided are to change the view modes for each template separately, which to be honest, is not that user friendly at all. A user would have to make the changes to a folder of each folder template, and then select the Apply To All Folders option in the Folder Options.
A faster option is available by some light Registry editing. It consists of two steps. In step one, all folder template associations are deleted, to reset them back. The second step is then used to define one view mode for all folders, that will then not be changed by moving different types of files into folders.
The Windows Registry Editor needs to be opened first. To do that press Windows-R, type regedit and hit enter. Accept the UAC prompt if it appears and navigate to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell
Locate the key Bags and delete it. You may want to create a backup prior to deleting it, this can be done by right-clicking the key and selecting Export. The key can be deleted by selecting it, and hitting Del on the keyboard.
This resets all folder view modes. Visiting a folder for the first time may change the folder view mode again. To avoid this from happening, a default view mode needs to be configured in the Registry. Open a single folder in Windows Explorer, so that the Bags key is regenerated.
Switch to the Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell
Look on the left side and see if the value FolderType exists. If it does set FolderType to NotSpecified by double-clicking the value. If it does not exist, right-click on the right window, and select to create a new String Value with the name FolderType and set it to NotSpecified as shown in the screenshot below.
This sets the default folder mode to general for all folders. It still may be necessary to modify the current folder view settings, but that is only necessary once and they are set for all folders.
There may still be situations where the default folder view mode is changed by the operating system, by updates for instance. Just repeat the process to reset the folder settings once again.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.