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How to change default view to "List" from "Details" view ?????

Last response: in Windows 7
August 30, 2011 9:42:17 PM

First, I'm new to Win 7 in the last couple months (not new to computing)... second, I refused to ever switch to Vista, so I hopped over Vista... went straight from Win XP to Win 7... so ... here I am....

Has anybody discovered a way to change the Windows 7 file and folder view to "List" view instead of the default Win 7 "Details" view?

In WinXP, you simply went to Folder Options dialog box >> "View" tab and it allowed you to change the view for an entire drive with one click. Win 7 does not do this.

I much prefer "List" view, but the only way to change it is folder-by-folder which becomes aggravating after several dozen folder changes.

Plus, once you have changed the file view inside of a folder to "List" view... if you change the folder name, every file and folder, no matter how deep, inside that re-named folder will return to "Details" view.

What a PITA...

I have Googled this and searched for some time, but have come up with no answer, I thought I might ask the folks at Tom's and see what we come up with.

So glad Microsoft is "thinking for us all" again... ugh... I hate "Details" view...
a b $ Windows 7
August 30, 2011 10:17:02 PM

Hi. Open windows explorer (windows key + E ). On the top right click the icon and set the folder to the view you want. Then go to the top left and click on Tools\Folder options\ then the View Tab. Click on Apply to all folders
August 30, 2011 10:26:25 PM

mibix19 said:
Hi. Open windows explorer (windows key + E ). On the top right click the icon and set the folder to the view you want. Then go to the top left and click on Tools\Folder options\ then the View Tab. Click on Apply to all folders

Yes, this works for the folder you are currently viewing, but does NOT affect all folders and files down stream as deep as you wish to view. Doing this exact thing, changing the viewing folder to "List" view... then checking the other folders and files by opening new folders... they are all still in "Details" view.

In Win XP, this same function would change the view of the entire drive. It does not do this in Win 7.

Evidently, Microsoft has left it a mystery... or simply deleted the ability to change an entire drive to "List" view with one fail swoop as in previous version of Windows... (???)
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September 10, 2011 2:02:43 PM

First, let me say there is no way to change Windows 7 to "List" view, globally in one pass for an entire drive, like it used to be available in Windows XP.


If you go to (say) C: drive, and open any folder... to convert that entire folder and directory path IN THAT FOLDER to the view you are currently looking at, here's all you do...

1) - adjust the view of this folder to the way you want

2) - right-click on any white area of that folder

3) - from the dialog box that opens, click on "Customize this folder"

4) - Using the drop-down bar, choose from the selections "General Items"

5) - check the radio button next to the words "Also apply the template to all subfolders"

6) - Click "OK"

In order to change the enitre drive, you have to open the drive (such as "C:") and then open every folder in "C:" and repeat the above 6 steps. Opening "C:" and right-clicking, you will find Microsoft did not include an option to "Customize this folder" at the drive-level... which would have made it possible to change the entire drive in one fail swoop.

Quick tip: -- It is most helpful to go into the "Users" folder, then do the 6 steps listed above... which changes the view of all folders in the majority of folders you might use on a daily basis, such as "My Documents," "My Music," "My Pictures," etc.

I have 7 hard drives in my computer, with an available 2.56TB (yes, TERAbyte) storage. Microsoft's default of "Details" view is a major PITA for me as most of my work on the computer does not necessitate needing "Details" but rather needing the most bang-for-the-buck on space for the white portion of the folder view... which "List" view offers. This has driven me crazy ever since using Win 7, and for anyone else who prefers some other view to their folders other than the default "Details" view, these six steps, completed directory by directory from your drive letter window make "List" view (or any other view... "Extra large icons," Large icons," "Medium icons," etc, etc, etc) available to the folder you are viewing next time you open it, AND pass the information down to every folder in that directory as deep as the folder/directory structure runs (in the folder you are currently viewing).


Thanks Tom's Hardware folks for the help, and for helping me figure out one very aggravating feature in Windows 7.

I did a Google search for this topic and there is not much out there to be found (easily).

In commento about Windows &... it seems to be the most stable, best operating system Microsoft has come out with yet. I came over from Windows XP straight to Win 7, and the transistion phase was not very time-consuming on learning some of the new Vista-esque features. Like I said in a previous post, I refused to ever switch over to Vista, as I perceived it was yet another Windows ME debacle... at least from every single person I heard from that used Vista, it was a nightmare. I'll never know personally as I skipped Vista completely, and held out until Win 7 got here.

As I find at times... the software manufacture needs us to buy new software versions... but many times we do not need the new software. Such is the case with folks still using Office 2003... which works perfectly, does everything as-advertised, and gives the buyer a handsome software package. But Microsoft (in order to keep making profits) NEEDS us to buy their latest-greatest bug-filled goop. (Having never once seen a Microsoft product that wasn't full of bugs straight from the factory...)

Meanwhile Bill Gates is a gah-zillionaire, LOL.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (ok, done ranting about MS... haha)
September 30, 2012 3:58:36 PM

Hey Jamhandy, 2.5 Tb aint nothing to shout about these days, specially if you've had to string 7 hard drives together to get it. Is any of it replicated?

I have 2 2tb drives in a NAS raided together giving me 2 tb of "safe" storage, and the 2 drives in this pc bring that total to more than your 2.56 :p 

Only joking buddy, not trying to p you off or anything.
Thanks a bunch for that tip with the subfolder propagation. I too just moved from xp to 7 and was getting annoyed with it picking a seemingly random view for every different folder!

thanks again :)