XP: Change the Default Folder View/Make all Folder Views the Same

   Posted by David Kirk in Windows

Do you prefer all your folders to have certain appearance, but you do not want to change them one by one? The following Tech-Recipes tutorial explains the quickest and simplest way to make all your folder views the same.

Use the steps below to change and set your default folder view to apply to all folders:

    1. Open a folder.
    2. Click the View menu.
    3. Select the type of view you want (large, small, details, list, etc.).
    4. Click the View menu again.
    5. Select Arrange Icons.
    6. Select the type of arrangement and if you want Auto Arrange.
    7. Look at your folder view. This will be the folder view that you are going to set as your default folder view if you continue. If you are not satisfied with your choices, continue to adjust the methods of viewing and arranging. Then continue.
    7. Click the Tools menu.
    8. Click Folder Options.
    9. Click View tab.
    10. Click Apply to All Folders.

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Matthew

    Thank you, worked a treat 🙂

    • Armando Dacal

      > Yes, this worked! I was tired of changing the views of my folders. This was very helpful.

  • gretchen


  • ECampbell

    This has been driving me nuts! Thanks!

  • shelly

    I just earned big points with my boss. This has been driving us both nutz for quite a while! Thanks!

  • Naz

    Thats great! thanks for that!

  • Eric Holroyd

    I like to view folders as a List, and every time I set it up that way it reverts to Icon view when I reboot.

    Does anyone know of a PERMANENT fix for this please?

  • Thomas

    Thanks davak! This was awesome! Thanks for sharing mate 🙂

  • hunter

    Thank you so much, it works

  • Jaimin

    Thanx for help

  • Anonymous

    Great!! That’s working!! Thanks a lot guys!!!

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t work with the powerpoint 2003 view. It stays at PREVIEW view.

  • Matt

    This is perfect. Couldn’t believe how easy it was to setup. Can’t believe I was changing folders one by one each time I opened them. Cheers!

  • Name

    Thank u so much! This has been driving me crazy for a long time. Can’t believe how long it took me to fix considering it was so easy. Thanks again.

  • Anonymous

    How is it that sometimes its the little things we have to look up online? Great help!! Looks like no more right clicking for me!!



  • Anonymous

    Great tip, been lazy to do a search for this but I wanted this for so long.
    Saves me ton of time on doing this minuscule thing every time.

  • Moonlighter

    Thanx! I needed that! ;o)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks to whoever put this here. Having to change every folder to show details was getting on my nerves something fierce

  • Name

    But what if you don’t want “ALL” folders to look the same – what if you only want, say “My Music” to include “Artist”, “Title”, “Track” and “Duration”, while “My Pictures” has “Dimensions” and “Date Picture Taken”?

  • Thanks for your tutorial, now i can change the Default Folder View 🙂

  • Joe

    I’ve been wanting to change my default view for the longest and it finally dawned on me to just Google it. Problem solved! Thank you!!

  • Brenda

    I prefer the DETAIL list when viewing folders. How can I make the font larger without losing the DETAIL list?

  • M Davies

    I’ve been working with Windows for more years than I can remember – and I never knew this trick! Many thanks 🙂

  • Shea

    anyway to keep the view the same when searching for documents to attach in folders?

  • Shakti

    Hi Davak,

    REALLY helpful article.


  • vhexp

    Thanks alot Davak

  • Leah

    very helpful, thanks.

  • Peki

    It`s very small things, but I spent one hour looking for it! Thanks!

  • Abraca

    On my XP SP3 it does not work
    Always set the order of view to the last modification, and does not affect if i set order to Name and click on Apply to All Folders

  • MSWindows For free

    wow i am already using win 7 , but now i know that my xp sp2 can do that, it’s been so long ago think it impossible, but now it work’s, so i told my boss and he likes it, to viw details al of his backed up folder view changed un usual,
    now it can, be all detailed view.

  • Dineshonfun

    Thank you guys….
    -Dinesh aka networK!NG

  • Me

    This had been driving me nuts. Finally go annoyed and had time (made time) to research. Great job – thanks. Kate

  • Guezzt

    Thanx, bro!

  • D3

    Great stuff! Can this be done as a batch file? If so, how!?!

  • Yorjio

    Amazingly Worked Thanks!

  • Guest

    Works! Thanks!

  • Bawareh

    It works great UNTIL I reboot, then reverts back to ICON view!

    Is there a way to make it permanent, perhaps in the Registry???

  • AAA awesome!!!!!

  • necip

    thanks.. 🙂

  • Teresa

    Thank you!

  • Teresa

    Thanks! It was very helpful.

  • Christian

    Thank you in 2012!! 🙂

  • Hard On

    Woot! XP all the way

  • Peter

    Excellent, thanks

  • sameer

    Thanks buddy!!!!! it works.

  • Amanda Pingel Ramsay

    Bless you; I’ve been changing them all by hand and OMG this is so much better.



  • Eric Y.

    Thank you SO much for this. My work computer is still on XP, and this has been such a pain in the butt…until now. Thank you again.


    • David Kirk

      No problem. Glad that we could be of help.

  • rajjni

    this is working very well for me
    I am very much thank ful to you

    I love this option very well

  • T

    I’ve been trying to change my default view for auto arrange for a long time. your tip helped me a lot… also you saved my time otherwise i have to change it for each foldres… love you… T

  • HAM

    Thanks, this will be incredibly helpful, wish I had looked it up earlier


    thanks a lot 😀

  • Jimbo


  • Joseph

    Great solution !

  • Marco

    Thanks a lot, this was what i needed

  • Mary

    Thank you for teaching me how to do this. (“Give a man a fish…..”)

  • Stan Jolie

    fantastic advice. Thank you this makes things a lot easier.

  • CH

    Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!

  • jason