Every time I open file explorer I have to resize the Name column to see the full filenames.

Is there to automate this? Whether from Windows or a utility?


Windows Explorer should 'remember' the last used column width.

In other questions you mention that you're using Windows XP, changing the BagMRU size may solve the problem.

By default, Windows is designed to remember 400 different folder settings (200 local folders and 200 network folders, for a total of 400 folders).

  1. Start the Registry Editor
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Shell \
  3. Right-click an empty space in the right pane and select New > DWORD Value
  4. Name the new value BagMRU Size
  5. Double-click the BagMRU Size value, and set the Base to Decimal
  6. Now in the Value data field enter the number of folders for which Windows should remember the settings (I'd suggest 1,000 or more, i'm using 5000)
  7. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ ShellNoRoam \
  8. Repeat steps 3-6
  9. Close the registry editor
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  • I am using Windows 7 now and your method seems to work. Does Windows 7 have another method like doing the resizing automatically without prior knowledge? – Tony_Henrich Feb 15 '10 at 7:12
  • @Tony_Henrich - Windows 7 is using 5000 as default value, you can increase this value in the registry or with XDN Tweaker: xenomorph.net/?page_id=336 – Molly7244 Feb 15 '10 at 13:58

An easy way to manually resize the Name column is to right click on the column header and choose Size All Columns to Fit.

In Windows 8, you can add an easy to access button to the Quick Access Toolbar, embedded in the window title bar, by opening the View pane and right clicking on the Size All Columns to Fit button.

Another option is to use the shortcut CTRL and the + key on the numeric keypad. If you don't have a numeric keypad then you can use an AutoHotkey script to remap any key combination to that. In the following line I remapped it, for example, to the F4 key:

F4::Send,{LCtrl down}{NumpadAdd}{LCtrl up}

I normally use that in combination with another shortcut (CTRL+SHIFT+6) which will switch the view to Details:

send,{LCtrl down}{LShift down}6{LCtrl up}{LShift up}
send,{LCtrl down}{NumpadAdd}{LCtrl up}

Unfortunately I could not find an easy way to make this option a default for all folders: apparently Microsoft thinks that allowing users to do that would cause enormous usability problem.

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  • 2
    It should be an option. A user can turn it on or off at will. What's the point of having a big screen (getting more common by the day) and wasting empty screen space by making filename column too small where we can't see enough of the name. In this regard, MS has been very myopic. – Tony_Henrich Apr 14 '13 at 19:14

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