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Windows allows you to arrange icons however you like in a window. However after some time when I go back to the window, it has forgotten the icon positions and has completely rearranged the icons. Is there a way to preserve the icon positions?

In the previous version of Windows I used, this would happen on rare occasions (about 6 months) and it might only move a couple of icons. Now it is happening practically every day and it is every single icon. Attempts to rearrange them manually are futile and it is increasingly maddening.

Searching Google, I have found a number of programs that allow you to save and restore icon position on the desktop. But, this is just a regular folder window so I am not sure if any of those would even work.

Some details:

  • Windows XP SP 3 running in Parallels 5 virtual machine
  • Auto Arrange and Align to Grid are NOT turned on
  • Fresh OS install and only setting icon positions in one window
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3 Answers 3

XP forgets your folder view settings?

Sometimes you'll customize a folder (view, position, or the folder's display options) and upon restarting the changes haven't been saved. Or, the settings work for few days and then XP forgets it?

This is due to that fact that Windows XP remembers the settings for 400 folders, by default. As and when you customize more folders (and sub-folders), the 400 mark is reached easily and the old settings are lost, just like a System Restore point. Microsoft has introduced a tweak (through Tweak UI Powertoy), using which the 400 limit can be bypassed. Though Tweak UI is a great tool, this particular function of Tweak UI does not work as it alters a different registry value. Windows XP allows a maximum of 8000 (default being 400). To prevent Windows XP forgetting the folder folder customization, increase the limit to 5000 or till 8000, with no performance issues. From what I've heard, the developers tested it with 10000 and for some reason made 8000 as the highest limit.

Set the BagMRU Size to 5000 (or up to 8000) in the following registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam

NOTE: Always backup the registry before editing it.

Click "Decimal" and type the BagMRU Size value (5000)

Windows XP SP2 increases the Bag value to 5000

For more information, please see MS Knowledgebase article Q813711:

Your view settings or customizations for a folder are lost or incorrect

Source

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This is Windows XP SP 3 and the registry setting is already at 5000. –  g . Dec 22 '09 at 20:24

Windows has a setting that must be set to remember folder views. Open any folder in Windows (My Documents, etc). Make the layout however you want Windows to remember it thru the "View" menu. Then, click on "Tools", then "Folder Options". You will then get a window that has several tabs on it. Click on the "View" tab, then click the button "Apply to all folders". Click OK on the prompt you get. Now Windows should remember your folder views.

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I am only concerned with the one window/folder, not all. And the problem isn't the 'view' (e.g. list, detail, icon, thumbnail, etc) it is the position of the icons for a specific folder/window in the icon view. –  g . Dec 23 '09 at 10:57

I fixed the issue by unchecking, saving and checking again the following checkmark in Explorer options: Tools: Folder options: View (tab): Remember each folder's view settings. I don't actually know for how long this will work, but it's worth a try.

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