I'm having the following pet-peeves with the Windows Explorer in vista, compared to Win 2003....

  • It refuses to show the columns for file details in the right order, no matter how many times I change it. It shows Date/Type/Size, instead of Size/Type/Date
  • I can't easily (with one click) show/hide the folders pane, which is quite useful.
  • Backspace doesn't go up, it goes "back" (whatever the hell that means in a folder tree structure). (Yes, I know about Alt-Up, but I never remember to do it)
  • Alt+Enter won't work on the left pane for some mysterious reason!!! What's this about?
  • When I change something about a file, it stops sorting by Name, and it start sorting by "leave stuff whethever you put it"
  • I'm guessing this is not quite Windows Explorer, but when I select several files and I go to "Properties", I don't get the Security tab anymore, which was quite useful for resetting the permissions of files with different settings.

Is there any way to make Windows Explorer work decently?
If not, has someone made a replacement that works like the old Explorer?


  • "Back" means wherever you were previously, which may not be the parent directory. At least that's what it means in Mac OS X's Finder.
    – jtbandes
    Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 7:16
  • I know what it means, my point is that it is absolutely ridiculous. Give me "a" shortcut that takes me "back" if you will, but don't reassign the one key (Backspace) that I use all the time to do something that does makes sense. That's a rant, not a question :) Commented Jul 24, 2009 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


The newer versions of Windows Explorer are useless. You could try one of the numerous Windows Explorer alternatives: xplorer2, FreeCommander, Total Commander, XYplorer etc.


This link provides some tweaks that might solve it

(but it's too long to copy-paste here)

Possible cause:

Vista sets the Explorer window view settings and folder type template according to what folder types are in the window.

This will show you how to reset the Windows Explorer folder view settings, turn off Automatic Folder Type Discovery, and increase the folder view cache to have Vista remember the view settings, folder type template, size, or position of a specific window for when it was last closed at the specific path location.

The exact cause of Vista losing it's memory on your folder view settings has not been found yet. This may just reset them for now to help Vista remember them again. It has been noticed that changing a lot of window folder view settings in combination with some unknown applications settings may be triggering this forgetfulness.

Make sure that you do not have a setting in a 3rd party program set to clear the folder view setting cache when it is used. (EX: CCleaner - Window Size/Location cache option under Cleaner -> Advanced)

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