If I say a folder is "Music" for instance, five column headings are provided: File name (obvious requirement), # (track number, only useful for albums), Title (Why? file name duplicated?!?), Contributing Artists (ditto albums), and Album.

I am an oldies fan, with thousands of singles, and less than ten "albums" for a single artist group. I access my music by Artist (last name first), then title of the song as "Orbison, Roy - Crying.mp3"; next column is "length" (running time of the song), and finally "Comments" with info such as chart position/flip side/(band group names)/etc.

And any folder, after my successful attempt to change one MUSIC folder resulted in every folder sharing those headings, including "General" folders.

What should happen is customizations should only apply to the current folders and its sub-folders, with the same folder icons. This does not happen; the sub-folders retain the unwanted headings. There really should be options for: Every folder of this type; only this folder of this type; and a (WORKING) for all sub-folders of this type.

I occasionally have "Image" type folders within a folder for picture sleeves, for instance, so they would not be affected by having a parent of "Music" with the option of all sub-folders (of this type).

2 Answers 2


The behavior you're describing is not normal behavior for Explorer. Normally:

  • Changes made to a folder's view are only saved for that folder.
  • If you modify a folder's view and then use View -> Folder Options -> View tab -> Apply to Folders, your changes should only affect other folders of the same type (Music, Generic,, etc.), by creating a custom template for that type.
  • If you check Also apply this template to all subfolders on the Customize tab, that only affects the folder type. Columns, icon mode, etc. are still determined by the type template (either default or custom) -- not by the view settings of the parent folder.

Since it doesn't sound like you have many views to your liking, I would suggest deleting all saved views by deleting the following two registry keys:

  • HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU
  • HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags


  • Log out and then sign back in.
  • Open Explorer to a folder with music, set its type to Music via the Customize tab, set the columns to your liking, and then use Apply to Folders.
  • Check to see if:
    • Other folders of the Music type now display your preferred columns.
    • Documents and other non-music folders have retained their "normal" columns.

If you're still having issues setting your folder views, you may want to try WinSetView. It's a free, open source, portable app that will let you globally set your preferred folder view defaults.

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