Windows file explorer columns show/hide (size, date, type, etc..). Where does Windows 7 store these settings? Are they stored for each individual folder?


2 Answers 2


Most settings are kept in the registry. The complete list of these keys is:

  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Streams\Defaults
  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU
  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags
  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam\Bags
  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam\BagMRU
  • HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU
  • HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags

You might find useful this article and its .bat file:
How to Backup and Restore Folder View Settings in Windows 10.


This is Win 10. I skipped 7 but think paths are similar. The default views for the various FolderTypes are found in the subkeys of:


There are GUID-named FolderTypes (Generic, Documemts, Music, etc.) defined here, each has a subkey named TopViews with one or more GUID-named subkeys that specify default view settings. In these keys, the column information is in a relatively human-readable form. The value is named ColumnList:

gp 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes\{5c4f28b5-f869-4e84-8e60-f11db97c5cc7}\TopViews\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}'

ColumnList      : prop:0(34)System.ItemNameDisplay;0System.DateModified;0System.ItemTypeText;0System.
LogicalViewMode : 1
Name            : NoName
Order           : 0
PSPath          : Microsoft.PowerShell.Core\Registry::HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\C
PSParentPath    : Microsoft.PowerShell.Core\Registry::HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\C
PSChildName     : {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
PSDrive         : HKLM
PSProvider      : Microsoft.PowerShell.Core\Registry

The "0" prefix means the column displays by default. The "1" prefix places the column in the top section of the context menu displayed when you right-click on column headers. Width is optional and is seen above as the "(34)" in 0(34)System.ItemNameDisplay. 34 -> 340 pixels.

Folders that have been viewed in Explorer or via a common dialog save their individual views under the Bags subkeys. enter image description here

Here, the column information is in binary format in the ColInfo value. I just recently finally took the time to parse/decode this value and explain it in detail here.

HKCU...\Explorer\Streams\Defaults stores the custom templates created by Apply to Folders. These are binary structures containing the same settings found under Bags.

  • Hi, thanks for the answers! @Keith I've also looked at your other post stackoverflow.com/questions/56451366/…, helped a lot. Is it possible to get registry key of the current folder with a batch script?
    – bitbar
    May 13, 2020 at 0:10
  • correction: registry key Slot Number
    – bitbar
    May 13, 2020 at 1:32
  • You mean the Bag# ? Yes, but given the nature of BagMRU, you need the complete namespace path to avoid ambiguity. May 13, 2020 at 3:31
  • Could you post a link to more info as to how to do that? p.s. I've exported the registry entry for folder HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\956\Shell\{5C4F28B5-F869-4E84-8E60-F11DB97C5CC7} changed 956 to 812, ran the reg file and the folder with 812 slot number changed to the same view as 956. So basically all I need to have are preset *.reg files and bat script that gets the slot number of current folder.
    – bitbar
    May 13, 2020 at 12:41

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