How to disable file groups in Open dialogs in Windows - gHacks Tech News

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How to disable file groups in Open dialogs in Windows

The next Windows 10 version may group files automatically in open dialogs. When you use the open option to load files in Windows 10 version 1809 or earlier currently, e.g. to open an image in an image editor or an archive, you get a single list of files sorted by recency.

Microsoft's next version of Windows 10, Windows 10 version 1903, and newer versions may change the default behavior.

Instead of listing files in a single list, it may group files by date-based criteria. The screenshot below shows an open dialog with the three groups "today", "yesterday", and "earlier this week".

windows open dialog disable groups

Groups are not a new feature in Explorer. I talked about them back in 2008 in Windows Explorer Tip: Show In Groups already, and they have been a part of Explorer for some time before that.

While that may be useful at times, especially if you know when a file was modified the last time, it is problematic if you don't have that information but just the file name.

Since files in each group are sorted individually, you'd have to go through each group to locate the file or files. An alternative to that would be to use the search option to find the file that way, but that might delay the operation further depending on the number of files in the folder.

You may notice that there is no View menu available to disable the grouping of files. There is still an option to do so, but it is hidden from sight.

All you need to do is right-click on a blank space in the file listing, e.g. on the right to select Group By > (None) from the context menu to disable the automatic grouping of files in open dialogs.

view group by open dialog

Windows disables grouping immediately after you select none. You may browse a single file listing again just like before after doing so.

The context menu displays other options that you may find useful, e.g. to change the sort order or view options. Those are accessible directly in the open dialog window, however.

It is unclear if Microsoft is testing the change currently on select systems or if it will be the new default for all users when Windows 10 version 1809 is released.

Now You: Do you prefer file groups or a single file listing?

Summary
How to disable file groups in Open dialogs in Windows
Article Name
How to disable file groups in Open dialogs in Windows
Description
Find out how to disable file groups in Open dialogs in Windows to restore the single file listing in those dialogs.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Jeff said on March 29, 2019 at 4:27 pm
    Reply

    As long as there is an option that Explorer doesn’t remove, reset or forget. Otherwise it will be terrible.

  2. Glynn Brooks said on March 30, 2019 at 3:59 pm
    Reply

    I’m running 1809. I don’t see file groups in File Explorer, but I do see file groups if I right-click a file and choose Properties > Previous Versions. The dialog box shows “Today”, “Last Week” etc. Is there a way to kill file groups in Previous Versions?

  3. Croatoan said on March 30, 2019 at 5:36 pm
    Reply

    Groups are good for folder Downloads.

    1. Kevin S said on June 29, 2019 at 9:31 pm
      Reply

      For you maybe, for others it’s not. There is no need for this kind of sorting for myself personally so don’t assume it’s good for everyone because not everyone prefers this.

      What’s good in my opinion is being able to sort and use my PC how I intend to use it NOT how Microsoft “thinks” I should sort/use it.

      1. Croatoan said on August 11, 2019 at 5:27 pm
        Reply

        I said that groups are good for folder Downloads (set groups by date, easier and faster to find new downloads). I didn’t said that groups in open folder are good. Also I didn’t said that it’s for everybody. I was only commenting on question Martin said.
        Why so much hate for my comment. If you don’t like Windows don’t use it.

      2. TG2 said on August 14, 2019 at 4:06 am
        Reply

        Its not hate for your comment, but the lack of inclusion … you make the assumption Groups are good ..

        Firstly they are neither good nor evil
        Secondly, they have a place, can they be useful, yes. Can they be detrimental? Yes.

        Case in point .. were you more organized with how you treat your downloads, you might very well be in the camp that does not like want or need “grouping”.

        If all you do is download, and stick it were ever it defaults to, with no organizational thought to it, then I’m sure you’d think grouping is the greatest thing since sliced bread .. but .. if on the other hand .. in your downloads, you have set each browser to properly PROMPT you before downloading said file, so that you *can* organize the files, you would see how grouping hurts keeping a good system.

        You think prompting before downloading is a waste? Drive by downloads happen. And if you’re not prompted, you could end up with oddly downloaded files that you had no intent to get. I could easily see you as the next victim of a browser flaw that allows anon dl’s and you go to open that download from last week.. oh.. it must be this one .. because windows so gracefully grouped your downloads .. and any cryptic name must be something …

        Its the subject matter and the assumptions. If you can’t clearly see this then you really don’t have any business being in tech, unless you’re a cracker.

  4. Mike Flanagan said on July 3, 2019 at 5:36 pm
    Reply

    I’m using 1903 and until finding this it was driving me crazy to have the dialog sorting into date groups! I have searched over and over and gotten several Microsoft help results that didn’t mention the blank space right click option! THANK YOU MARTIN!!!

  5. Anonymous said on July 8, 2019 at 6:43 am
    Reply

    NOOOOOOOOOO
    Don’t Do Something without option to disable that default shit

  6. Owen said on July 8, 2019 at 4:18 pm
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    Single file listings sorted alphabetically is my preference. Is there a way to make the group by none setting permanent as I fin it reverts after a reboot?

  7. Joe said on July 16, 2019 at 4:16 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the article. The Group sortings were driving me mad. I dont know how anyone would be able to work in a business environment with this switched on. Hopefully Microsoft wont persist with having it on as a default.
    Cheers

  8. Anonymous said on July 18, 2019 at 3:51 am
    Reply

    This is the single worst default behaviour I’ve seen yet. It’s awful, and I will dedicate my life to hastening its demise.

    1. TG2 said on August 14, 2019 at 4:16 am
      Reply

      Really? Single worst?
      How about microsoft’s continued hiding of “known file types” … obviously you weren’t around (or burned even once by) for the Melissa or “I love you.txt.exe” virus? worm? trick?

      You see a file .. named: I love you.txt … you double click but its not a text file … the last 3 characters were hidden because microsoft knows what an EXE is ..

      Sure.. alternate data streams now added to every file to identify where they came from (Zone.Identifier) great more hidden data .. oh, and what we can use for good purposes can also be used for bad … eg.. the malicious code ADS’s.

      So.. single worst default behavior? not by a long shot .. though it is in the class one would call Microsoft’s arrogance.

  9. bblackmoor said on July 18, 2019 at 4:15 pm
    Reply

    Thanks you SO MUCH! This has been driving me crazy.

  10. Noam said on July 19, 2019 at 3:58 pm
    Reply

    Tried your workaround. I don’t get the access to (none).
    It can only expand/collapse and close a group through the ‘open’ window.

    If there’s a regedit workaround, it would be helpful.

    1. WWWobbly said on July 21, 2019 at 4:15 am
      Reply

      It has to really be a REALLY blank space. Cancel out of wherever you are and then try again by clicking the link that opens the dialog. DON’T CLICK anything yet. But, expand the window until you find huge amounts of white space underneath. That’s where you right-click and where you’ll eventually find the “Group by” sub menu.

  11. Nigel Harrison said on July 22, 2019 at 2:25 pm
    Reply

    I have found another way to get the blank space you need – make sure the groups are collapsed and then go to full screen mode. There should be plenty of white space at the bottom of the screen to right-click..

  12. AC said on August 5, 2019 at 6:28 pm
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    Thank you! Thank you!
    This is one of the more ridiculous default behaviors that Microsoft has pulled in the past few years. If I click to sort by file name, I want to see ALL the files, not a silly subset based on something that someone at Microsoft thinks is useful. And the lack of a View button on screen to change the behavior was driving me crazy. And of course, it’s not happening to everyone, so I had to try to explain what I was seeing on my screen to someone who didn’t have the groups.

  13. spawnmod said on August 12, 2019 at 6:22 pm
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    Unfortunately MS did this late last year/early this year in one of the insiders builds, announcing it as a positive change… But no mention of how to revert the change. Since then everything I’ve tried to get it to stay off does not work… I tried this method early on and still have it revert on me randomly… :(

  14. akerbeltz said on August 19, 2019 at 10:32 am
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    Thank you so much for posting this one. I’d really love to hear what the use-case for this was to be switched on by default… as an opt-in for people who keep using the same dozen folders over and over, maybe, but my business has a very complex but logical folder structure and I was tearing my hair out because suddenly, instead of a numbered sequence like 1-10 of a set of folders I was seeing 3, 6, 7 and 9 and a lot of other stuff and no obvious way of seeing 1-10.
    You may want to mention that doing that in Explorer does not permeate to all views, I found that for the Word/Email “Save as” dialogue, I had to resort to the white space right click trick. Fingers crossed it’ll stick.
    Seriously Microsoft…

  15. Jeff C said on September 15, 2019 at 11:51 pm
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    Thank you! This has been driving me crazy as I knew there must be a way to remove the grouping.

  16. Dave Edwards said on September 16, 2019 at 6:27 pm
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    I set it to none and it returns, have done all the recommended steps and it still returns, I want the options to kill it permanently on my systems

  17. Jim said on September 17, 2019 at 2:15 pm
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    The default grouping behavior comes back every time a new Open or Save As dialog is launched. It’s really annoying. I was hoping for a registry hack, or similar, to disable the default behavior.

  18. troy said on September 19, 2019 at 12:36 am
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    I would rather use Windows ME that 10. It’s constantly overwriting settings, popping up restart messages while I’m doing something and other stuff. I have spent more time hacking this OS than all the rest combined. I may as well go back to Linux. Sorry for my rant, thanks for reading.

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