In Windows explorer if I change the folder view to details, for a standard folder the columns shown are Name, Date modified, Type and Size. When I open a folder containing files with audio extensions (wav, mp3, etc), the columns change to something else such as artist, genre, etc. Is there a way to force the details view to always show the same standard columns, viz, Name, Date modified, Type and Size?

The view changing to thumbnails in case of image files is not a problem for me, as I can go to details rather quickly in a few clicks, and it shows the standard columns by default. My main problem is audio files which seem to change the columns that are shown. I have seen this, but preferably I would like to do this without registry hacks. I am using Windows 7 enterprise edition.

2 Answers 2


Edit: may be duplicate of Windows 7 Explorer: How to change the columns displayed for file attributes? Alternative systematic solution presented is not in other thread.

Those columns are because File Explorer sees the audio files in the folder and defaults to using its "music" template to show the folder's contents. There are 2 options depending on how systematic you want the changes you make to be.

You can force change the folder template back to "general items" for this folder so that it won't show those columns by:

  1. Go in to the folder's Properties
  2. Select the "Customize" tab
  3. Under the section "What kind of folder do you want?" change the "Optimize this folder for:" option from "Music" to "General Items".

Once it's applied, the folder's detail view should no longer have the columns specific to music files.

Keep in mind that the changes will only apply to this folder (and any contained subfolders if you selected that option when applying the new properties).

Alternatively, you can change the "music" template itself. So that any folder that windows explorer opens which it automatically applies the "music" template, will display whatever customized view you made.

In the currently open folder that is already in "Music" view mode/template (ie. with columns for artists, genre, etc.), manually change the columns to the desired fields by:

  1. Right-clicking on the title row (row containing Name, #, title, artists, album), and select More... in the pop-up menu.
  2. Change the column selection and order to your desired layout.

Save the changed layout as the default for the "Music" template by:

  1. Open up the File menu (top left)
  2. Select "Change folder and search options"
  3. Select the "View" tab
  4. Under the "Folders views" section, select "Apply to Folders"

Once that is applied, all folders that file explorer will default to "Music" view mode/template will now use this layout.

For more details and illustrations on the alternate method, please consult How-to-Geek's Guide on customizing the windows folder templates

  • Does this change persist after a log off/restart? For example, if I go back to the folder after a restart, will it still be optimized for general items?
    – user13267
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 7:35
  • Just like any property changes to a file, folder property changes will persist through log off/restart.
    – Gen Test
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 7:46

Windows 10 is ignoring the Customize setting and persists in showing Windows Explorer folder with MP3 files in Music rather than General Items format.

  • 1
    While I could immediately Customize folder to Pictures, Videos, Documents or Music. The Customize to General Settings did not work until I closed the File Explorer window and opened another. Very bizarre behavior. Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 17:33
  • In Windows 10 looks like you need to select "Documents". "General Items" looks like the way to tell Windows to determine the columns.
    – user13267
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 8:17
  • "Documents" did the trick. Thanks - so annoying Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 15:44

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