In Windows 7 Explorer, when I open a folder containing only music, it's smart enough to show me a custom set of columns (Name, #, Title, Contributing Artists, Album) that make sense for a music folder.

However, I also always want to see a Length column.

I can right click on the column headers and add the Length column, which is persistent for that folder, but when I go to another music folder, it doesn't have the new Length column.

How do I set up Windows so that ALL music folders ALWAYS show me this column?

  • Perhaps I should have waited until you put a bounty on it ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 29 '09 at 15:16

You can add extra columns in the 'Details' view in one music folder and then set that as the default for all music folders via the 'Folder Options' dialog ('Organise > Folder and search options > View' and click 'Apply to folders').
Win 7 is clever enough to only apply this view to other music folders.

  • What do you do if "Apply to Folders" isn't available/disabled?
    – jcollum
    Apr 27 '14 at 22:00
  • Just wanted to point out that this works for Windows 10 too. Apr 18 '19 at 21:58

Joel try this (from here):

Constantly Changing Folder Views

A source of frustration for most any Vista user is the ever-changing view type for various folders in Windows Explorer. For example you may set your \Users[username]\Downloads directory to display in Details view, however if you copy a picture, song or video into the directory, the next time you view its contents they may be displaying in Large Icons view. Even if you go back and change the view type, it may reset itself once again the next time you place a different file type in that directory.

It's a genuine issue, and one which doesn't have any logical explanation - fortunately it can be permanently resolved.


  • Open the Registry Editor and go to the following keys:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU]

  • Right-click on the Bags key in the left pane and select Delete, then do the same thing for BagMRU. This will remove most existing customizations for things like window sizes, positions and views. While still in the same place in the Registry Editor, you will need to manually recreate one of these keys with a new setting. Right-click on the following key in the left pane:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell]

  • Create a new key called Bags to replace the one you just deleted. Right-click on Bags, select New>Key and name this new key AllFolders. Right-click on AllFolders, select New>Key and name this new key Shell. The end result should look like this:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell]

  • Now left-click on the last Shell key and in the right pane right-click in an empty area and select New>String Value. Name this new string FolderType and once created, double-click on it and in the Value Data box you can set the default view which all folders will initially take (unless otherwise specified) by entering one of the following values:

    • NotSpecified
    • Contacts
    • Documents
    • Music
    • Pictures
  • For example if you enter Documents in the FolderType Value Data box (which I recommend), then all folders for which you do not manually set a view will default to the standard Documents folder view as you set it.

Now in Windows Explorer go to your \Users[username]\ directory and for each of the main folder types under there (Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos), make sure that you set the view you wish, including things like choosing which columns to show and how wide they each are, the size of any icons/thumbnails, the way in which they are sorted, etc. As you make the changes, for each folder click the Organize button at the top of Windows Explorer, select 'Folder and Search Options', go to the View tab and click the 'Apply to Folders' button. This will set this view for all folders of that same type, and this method also means that should you copy files of any other type into a folder, it will not alter that folder's view settings - from now on the settings should remain exactly as you leave them.

Update: There is one more step which can help ensure these settings remain fixed. Go to the following key:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell]

  • Left-click on the Shell key and in the right pane, if you can see BagMRU Size then there is no need to undertake this step. If it isn't there however, right-click and select New>DWORD 32-bit Value and name it BagMRU Size. Now set this value to 10000 in Decimal view (or 2710 in Hexadecimal view).

I've used this solution for quite a while now without Vista once resetting or changing my folder views, so I can guarantee that it works if applied correctly. If you still find your folder views changing or resetting, or wish to conduct other forms of customization, see the Windows Explorer chapter of the TGTC for more details.

  • So setting up the column and using Ctrl-Click to close the window does not work in Vista? Sorry, I'm still using WinXP :)
    – Isxek
    Jul 29 '09 at 15:18
  • @ivo-flipse Should this work for Windows 10 too? Or for which windows versions exactly does it work?
    – PeterCo
    Nov 24 '16 at 11:37

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