Setting Windows Explorer 7 Default Column Widths

Posted on 2010-08-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I just upgraded to Windows 7 Professional, and cannot find a way to increase the width of the columns (Name, Date Modified, etc.) so that the width is maintained a.) for all folders opened by Windows Explorer, and b.) that this column width is maintained after logging off and back on.

I have tried:
Manually resizing by grabbing and dragging the width
Clicking in the white space of the column >> Sort By >> More >> and setting the Width of Selected Column (in Pixels)
Right clicking the column header and clicking Size All Column to Fit

... and none of these settings "stick" for any subsequent folders opened. This is a new, Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit system, and it's driving me a little nuts because all my long files names are truncated every time I open Windows Explorer 7.

Thanks in advance for any help on this.
Question by:Cactus1994
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Expert Comment

ID: 33539666
See if this works.
After you apply the settings that you like hit right Alt key go to Tools > Folder Options > View and click the button Apply to folders.

Author Comment

ID: 33539959
That doesn't stick the settings as the default, either. Every folder I open up after that goes right back to the narrow column settings in Explorer.

Expert Comment

ID: 33540132
Ok, I just tried to reproduce the problem you have since I also have a win 7.
It appears that if I am in a folder and customize the view and want it to apply to all the other folder this does not work. It only works for the folder that I did the settings.
However if I go the root of the a drive (drive c for instance) and make my folder views however I want and I go to Folder Options and click the button Apply To Folders then all folders will have the same view.
So see if this works. Go to the root of a drive make the settings and go to Folder Options > View and Apply To Folders

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Expert Comment

ID: 33540168
Correction better go to the root of the system drive and apply the view settings :)

Author Comment

ID: 33540300
Thanks for the followup. This DOES work ... so long as you stay within the WIndows Explorer navigator and search through all the folders and files this way. The minute you click a Shortcut anywhere, however, everything reverts back to the skinny columns and the settings don't stick again.

Can you think of a way to make the default settings stick for Shortcuts as well?  If you can, then we'd have figured out a major hiccup in Windows 7 Explorer. I haven't seen it anyway in the Search Engines where setting will stick for the Explorer views, and until your answer here, couldn't figure out how to make Explorer stick with default settings just for the root and navigator searches.

I'd sure like the Shortcut settings to stick, too, because I use them more than anything, but every time I do, everything in Explorer reverts right back to the narrow column views and truncates all the file names.

Thanks. Hope to hear back from you soon on this.

Expert Comment

ID: 33542392
I think you are referring to the favorites section and the libraries.

I haven't actually played with those but from what I remember the Library Folders created inside the Library is not an actual folder instead they are virtual folders that can lead to one or more real folders.

They also don't have the Apply to Folders and Reset Folders (Documents, Movies, Pictures, Videos and any other library created).

Only the Libraries folder itself has this option but oddly it was not recursive throughout the Libraries.
Also another thing is that the view setting from the Pictures Library for example do not pass over to the real folders and vice versa.

So for those I made the view setting individually.and they remained intact.

For the Favorites section from what I can tell is that those are just shortcuts to other folders but the view settings are linked.

So if I made a favorite from a folder (D:\Kits\whatever\) and that folder had the detail view (because I went to the root system drive and told it to apply to all) I would have the same view settings.

So why would that not work on Libraries ?

My guess is that favorites represent one shortcut to a location whereas Libraries are different from Favorites in the sense that they are just virtual folders to have access to one or more real folders.

So to sum up you would have to set the view setting individually to each Library you create, and for each favorite you add the view setting should remain the same.

Author Comment

ID: 33546435
Actually, any shortcut created from a regular folder (say, from the C Drive in Explorer) throws off the adjusted column widths and resets them to the narrow column default. I haven't done much with the libraries at all.

Could you tell me exactly what you mean by going to the "root system drive" and telling it there to apply the folder view settings?  I went into Explorer, opened the C: Drive, increased the width of the view columns there, and then applied it to all folders ... but I'm wondering if you meant for me to do something else in another area (the root system drive) and I may not know exactly what you mean for me to do.

Thanks again!

Expert Comment

ID: 33548113
Hi, yes i meant the C drive.
If I understand you correctly you applied the settings and when you add a folder the favorites it resets the view to the default.
But if you go to that folder in the file navigator does it have the view you applied or not ?


Author Comment

ID: 33573854
The adjusted view seems to hold when navigating within Windows Explorer, but the minute I create a shortcut from it on my Desktop, clicking on that shortcut reverts the Explorer view back to the skinny, narrow default view and truncates the icon titles.

It just shouldn't be this hard to mainting a default view setting for Explorer in Windows 7 ... just like the drop-shadow text icon issues, no "up-arrow" in Explorer, difficulty changing certan settings and others, Windows 7 seems to make a few things less user-friendly than Windows XP that I upgraded from.

Accepted Solution

_3mp3ror_ earned 500 total points
ID: 33602831
I did not experience this problem, after I set the options in the while I was in the C drive, every drive on my PC had the view options, when I did a Send to > Desktop (create shortcut) to Program Files for instance it would create the shortcut to my desktop as it should.
If I opened the shortcut later on the views stayed in place.
I had no use for this though and it appears that in my case shortcuts to folders keep their view settings.
In any case there is a program that might help called kdn Tweaker which I got from here while searching this issue. This program has a feature that helps to keep the view settings.See picture.
Another software that handles folder views


Author Closing Comment

ID: 33603072

This looks like exactly what I need, and the fact Windows 7 is confirmed to save folder views differently is probably my problem -- in addition to the fact there are different "types" of files that Windows 7 is categorizing them as, and the "apply to all folders" function doesn't work across all different types.  

I'm sure one of the 2 programs you found for me will solve this issue.

Thanks for all your work and help on this!  

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