Is there a way to make Windows (7,8,10,whatever) remember a different sort-order for displaying your files in regular Explorer windows vs. open-file/file-browser dialog windows?

To give an example. When I open up regular ol' Explorer, say from the taskbar or Win+E or My Computer, etc. -- I want to look at the files sorted alphabetically (grouped folders first, then files) -- i.e. the standard default view. Great!

But when I go into an application and go to "File -> Open" (or any kind of similar operation) and the application does so using the standard Windows file-browser/open-file dialog, I want that view to sort by Date-Modified descending (i.e. latest on top).

Am I really the only one who would find this extremely helpful, to be able to customize this a bit? Right now, say, if I sort the view in the open-file/browser window, by date-mod-descending, and then a few minutes later I open up a standard Explorer window, that window is now also sorted by date-mod-descending. I don't want that! So now (because I'm freaking OCD), I have this ridiculous habit of, whenever I'm opening a file from an application, I sort-by date-mod-desc, pick the file out, then revert it to sort-by-name-asc before I close the dialog-window (i.e. hit "OK" or "Open").

Any ideas? (Besides the obligatory "stop being so dang OCD, man!" response)

  • PS: this isn't some off-the-wall 3rd-party application I'm using,either. It's SQL Server Management Studio, mostly -- I like to open my most recently edited files, but I don't want that polluting my normal file-explorer windows where I'm dealing with nicely sorted files that use proper naming conventions.
    – NateJ
    Mar 18, 2016 at 18:57
  • 1
    I use XYplorer - Portable File Manager for windows instead of explorer. Displays my preferred sorting order (and a bunch of other nice features as well). File Open/Save still uses the standard explorer dialog sorted by mod date descending. ;)
    – DavidPostill
    Mar 18, 2016 at 19:02
  • @DavidPostill that's not a bad rec; I thought it was pure payware but I was looking over the free version feature limits (xyplorer.com/product.php#features) and the only thing that struck me was the "Folder View Settings" line.. does that just mean you can't get super-duper-customized in the Free version, or does it literally mean "you can't change your view at all"?
    – NateJ
    Mar 18, 2016 at 19:39
  • You can change the view settings. I think the folder view settings allows you to customize the folder view for each individual folder. I use the free version so I'm not complete sure. Folder View Settings has more info.
    – DavidPostill
    Mar 18, 2016 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


In Windows 10, this seems to "resolve itself" after it learns your preferences for particular folders. So basically I've got what I want. I liked the suggestion for an explorer alternative (see comments on question), but I was specifically asking if there was something built-in to Windows.

For Windows 7 & below, I would say don't bother, or use an alternative explorer. I can't speak to Windows 8/8.1 as I haven't used them.

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