How to Fix Annoying Folder View Type Automatic Change Problem in Windows

UPDATE: This tutorial will work in Windows Vista and all later Windows versions such as Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

One of the most annoying problems in Windows Vista and later Windows versions is the automatic change of a folder view type. Imagine a situation when you set a desired view type of a folder (such as large icons, list, details, etc) and after some time Windows automatically changes its view type to "Pictures and Videos" or any other view type when you copy a picture or video file to this folder.

Its a very common problem in Windows Vista and later OS which almost all Windows users are facing. Actually it happens because of "Automatic Folder Type Discovery" feature which was introduced in Windows Vista but instead of making something good, this feature has made the life of Windows users worst as Windows doesn't remember your customized view types for folders and automatically resets the view type based on folder content.

But now no need to worry, there is a registry trick to fix this annoying problem. This trick will reset the view settings of all folders and then it'll completely disable the automatic folder type discovery feature, so you'll not face this problem any more and Windows will always remember your customized view type settings for all folders.

So follow these simple steps to fix this problem:

1. Type regedit in RUN or Start search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now navigate to following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell

3. Under "Shell" key, select "Bags" key and press "Delete" key. It'll ask for confirmation, click on Yes button.

4. Now right-click on "Shell" key and select "New -> Key" option. Set the name of new key as Bags

5. Now right-click on "Bags" key and select "New -> Key" option. Set the name of new key as AllFolders

6. Again right-click on "AllFolders" key and select "New -> Key" option. Now set the name of new key as Shell

So the final key path will be:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell

7. Now click on this new "Shell" key and in right-side pane, create a new String value and give it name as FolderType and set its value to NotSpecified

Fixing_Folder_View_Type_Problem.jpg

8. That's it. Either restart your system or log off and now Windows will no longer forget or automatically change your customized folder view type settings.

NOTE 1:

If you are not familiar with Registry editing tasks and want a ready-made Registry script to do the task automatically, download following Zip file, extract it and run the extracted REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it:

Download Registry Script to Fix Folder View Type Problem in Windows

NOTE 2:

If you want, you can apply same folder view settings to all folders using following steps:

1. In Windows Explorer, open any folder and customize its view type to your desired view such as large icons or details, etc.

2. Now open Folder Options (from Tools menu in Windows XP, from Organize menu in Windows Vista and 7, from Ribbon -> View in Windows 8 and later).

3. Go to View tab in Folder Options and click on "Apply to Folders" button.

Apply_Folder_View_Type_Settings_All_Folders.png

That's it. It'll immediately apply current folder view type settings to all folders in your computer.

Also Check:

How to Disable Full Row Select Functionality in Windows Vista Explorer

[Windows Tip] Disable Full Row Select and Auto-Arrange Features in Windows Explorer

[Fix] Desktop Icons Position and Folder View Settings Problem in Windows 10





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows Vista


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Comments

  • Thanks!

    In Win7 there are 100's of new file details you can display and sort by. For a large music collection you can almost edit all of your tags (song details) right in explorer! In addition Windows Search catalogs all the information so you can search for it. For example: In a music folder click in the search box, click Genre and either type or select from the huge list.

    So, because of these exposed details I like my folders in a very specific format and sort order. When Windows comes along and screws with that it's a lot of work down the drain!

    Thanks again!

  • thanks for this. worked perfectly on windows 7

  • Thank you for this fix; haven't tried it yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed until I do. I'm absolutely flabbergasted that Windows would allow such a careless mistake to continue unaddressed; this quirk has irritated me for as long as I've been using Windows 7. Used to be that you could set your folders to be viewed in any manner you wished (List, Details, Tiles, etc), and also, sorted in any order you wished (Name, Date, type, Size, etc), and it would keep every individual setting in place. Now, the settings just change without rhyme or reason--most definitely without reason, and it is infuriating! The fact that Microsoft has failed to address this, even with so many customers complaining about such an pointless but very essential change tell sme they just don't give a damn, and it has pushed me ever closer to making the switch to a Mac. I'm really surprised some code group or company hasn't created some software that takes care of these problems, but here's to giving you a tip of the hat for your efforts at this. Thanks once again!

  • VG

    ^^ It'll 100% work. Thats one of the first things which I always do after installing Windows Vista or 7 in a system. ;)

  • Thanks, working great ! i have used your registry file and all ok now

  • VG

    ^^ Double-click on the key and type the value in textbox. If you are having problem, you can try the Registry script given at the end of the topic.

  • wow thanks that was so annoying and as a side benefit the whole vista OS seems snappier!

  • Yep, now all folders became "General Items". At least its better than randomly assigning whatever type the OS wants. From now on I hope that my folder customizations will remain as they are. Another annoying issues is that sometimes the custom icons I set for preview of folders get reset. I wonder what the cause is.

  • Thank You very much. It was my nightmare. :-)

  • thanks so much! finally i could get rid of this most annoying "feature" ever

  • hi, can you help me. see i have this problem with my window 10. since i upgraded my window and whenever i try to open a folder and scroll down. it will automatically went back up by itself. it's really annoying and it's happen so many times now. i really hope you can help me. like seriously. please. thank you so much if you can help me.

  • VG

    ^^ Sometimes this problem occur due to faulty USB devices. If you have connected a USB mouse or hub to your PC, disconnect it and then check.

    Also try to change the view type of folder.

  • Thank you for this fix. I applied to Windows 10 and it solved my issue. It appears to have a side effect that the "recent files" part of the jumplist is now correctly working as well. Windows 10 has been a nightmare regarding getting back functionality. Thank you again.

  • Hi, i have basically the same problem of Windows automatic change of a folder view type. When i change the view of my folders and exit or go back, it will change back to detail view. i can do nothing it will keep change back to detail. also on my desktop items will keep arranging itself. it doesnt matter if i uncheck align items to grid ect.

    i have also tried the above method and also downloaded the file with no luck.

    im on windows 10. Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

  • hi ,
    i have this problem in windows 10 , too . this method not work for me .
    i have this problem for Desktop Icons , too . i change Them to "small Icons " but it Restore " medium Icons " after restart .

    please help me .

  • VG

    ^^ It might be a bug or an issue related to 3rd party software. Recently a reader reported that the same thing was happening to him because of ESET security suite. When he uninstalled it, the problem disappeared.

  • I had ESET Smart Security and uninstalled it. The problem with icons is still there. The problem arose about 7 days ago. I did not install any software or upgrade. Tips associated with Windows 7, and 8 (8.1) does not solve the problem with Windows 10.

  • Same for my windows 10 happens this month, and the solution here didnt fix. pls help

  • i am having same problem with my desktop icons and folder view thwy both revert back to the medium icon setting after reboot and i tried all the steps above

  • Hi , VG

    Please Add this method for fixing this problem :

    http://www.askvg.com/fix-desktop-icons-position-and-folder-view-settings-problem-in-windows-10/

  • Thanks Arshia.
    This method worked well for me in windows 10. :D

  • Hi worked fine on win 10 but i get a message that the firewall and the antivirus is off. They work normally but i keep getting thow annoying message every 1 minute and i cant turn it off. Please help.

  • I turned off the pc and the firewall problem was fixed but the folder problem happens again.....

  • ^^ that is what happened to me in Windows 7. After the first restart after changing the registry, my network icon did not show up and my antivirus said it was not on. I checked in the network center and I WAS connected to the internet as usual, then I clicked on the antivirus icon and it changed to green and said it was on. In the customize notification area, the network entry had no icon next to it and neither did my 7 Taskbar Tweeker entry; just those two.

    I restarted again and the antivirus and internet Taskbar Tweeker icon were back to normal.... but my folders keep changing views like before.

  • I restored my registry with the backup I made before I changed the values and downloaded and used the zip provided here. This time after restart, the icon problem didn't happen. I know that I followed all the manual instructions very carefully, double-checking each step so I'm not sure why the difference. It is still not remembering the folder views.

  • THANK YOU VERY MUCH! This is [was] the most annoying problem.

  • I have been looking for other information about this, I found this page on microsoft site. The instructions in the link are very similar to the ones here, with just a few additions. I followed the manual instructions and have not had any problems with folder view settings since. I thought I would leave this here in case it may help anyone else.

  • This works great for normal explorer views but when I plug in my android phone and start navigating the camera folders the view changes to silly large icons just like before. To make matters worse even though the default viewer for JPGs is IrfanView, when exploring the camera folder I get that stupid Windows Photo Viewer when I click on an image.

  • Can anyone upload an unmodified version of that registry key? I tried doing this but I screwed it up, and I want to reset.

  • VG

    ^^ There cant be any side effect of this method and script. It just clears folder size and view type settings. Nothing else. What problem are you facing in your computer?

  • I have this folder problem with Windows 10 (home 64Bit). VERY annoying! However, searching the Registry shows no \Shell folder in the path you suggested!
    The only folder under ...\Microsoft\Windows is Current Version.

    However, there is: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags.
    Can I use this folder in the way you suggest? It has a sub-folder \1

    Your reply would be much appreciated.
    Thanks

  • VG

    ^^ Did you try the automatic Registry script?

  • Just did:
    Extracted the downloaded .zip file, backed up my Registry then ran the automatic fix. Restarted the computer and set some folders (3 different ones) to my preferred layout etc., backed out of there and reloaded each folder but they all still came back to a Details list. Unsuccessful.

  • VG

    ^^ After running Registry script, make sure you follow the steps given in NOTE 2.

  • I went to Folder Options >> View and the APPLY TO ALL FOLDERS was greyed out - not able to select it!

  • VG

    ^^ It seems some registry keys or values are corrupted in your Windows which are causing that button greyed out. You should try sfc /scannow command in Command Prompt to fix corrupted system files and registry values.

  • I opened the command prompt, and received the following message: "You must be an administrator running a console session in order to use the sfc utility."
    I am administrator on this computer, and had the blue Command Window open, with my name/user folder as setting.
    What must I do to carry out this action, please?

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

    http://www.askvg.com/guide-different-ways-to-open-command-prompt-as-administrator-in-windows/

  • This didn't do anything for me. For some reason, the properties of several folders across my computer seem to be linked. If I change the folder view type of one folder, it changes a few other completely unrelated folders as well.

  • Unfortunately this does not work for me with Windows 10 Pro.

  • I'm trying to open regedit, it says: "Registry Editor has been disabled by your administrator".

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-enable-tools-folder-options-and-registry-editor-in-windows/

  • Thank you very very much. I am a huge fan of the old explorer and with every new windows things get worse. I already got rid of the zips shown as directories and now this help. Thank you so much.
    Now I have to find a way to get the old search back as the windows 7 and newer explorer-search are a real pain in the butt.

  • Thank you! This definitely worked! I tried Windows 8 and this issue kept ruining my experience on that OS. I had a bad experience from other things as well and decided to return to Vista and the faster UI was much missed by me! Compared to Windows 8 that was slower which was very strange. After installing Vista back this same issue come up in Vista too that I never seen before. As if Windows 8 was haunting me for leaving it.

    There's a somewhat small or big issue with this that I have see. When I got the folder open to my specific size if I press Ctrl + W the settings for each folders will reset! Despite my configuration having the "Remember" thing checked. It's a slight annoyance manually clicking the X on the upper-right that I don't recall if I was using those commands before I upgraded to Windows 8 and downgraded but this definitely will reset at least on my end just in case others do the same thing.

  • My Windows 10 problem has not been down to the OSs forgetfulness but the frequent freezing and greying-out of icon choice features accompanied by empty icon boxes. Shutting down/signing out and then returning, together with a host of applied suggested iconcache fixes - all immediately effective - but, alas, short-lived. Maybe a coincidence, but this annoying habit was not noticed until the first Windows 10 upgrade. Windows 10 is good but there have been times when reverting to Windows 7 has been given a thought.

  • hi! is there another compressed reg file to reverse the changes? (looks like it also gave me multiple options in details (columns i don't need) i want to display for items in a particular folder have.) thank you.

  • Worked perfectly on windows 7. Thank you for your expertise. Cheers.

  • If I wanted to reverse the changes after running the script, how would I go about doing that?

  • My pictures folder is organized by "date" and the green progress bar appears every time I open it or press F5. Annoying!

  • Thank you so much... Having to come back to Windows after 5 years of OS X, I was going to hit my head on the wall when I remembered all these crappy "features". I feel much better now!
    Really I cannot thank you enough :).

  • Well, this worked perfectly for about two or three months after which the folder views started getting reset again, I'm assuming starting from the ones that I set the first after doing this. Now some folders I use even tens of times per day get reset every time I close them or open a subfolder and then go back to the previous one. Also, now in Registry Editor under the Bags folder there are 5000 folders named from 1 to 5000 which I'm not sure were there before doing this. Might they have something to do with the problem I'm having? Do they mean that I can only set the folder view for 5000 folders? Well, anyways, a lot of trouble that I put in to setting the folder views has gone down the drain cause now I probably have to try something else and start the whole thing from the beginning. Except if there is a fix?

    I'm using Windows 8.1.

  • NICE BUT NOT REASSURING. What is REALLY needed is a 3rd party developer where folder views are stored somewhere else besides the registry, and can be rebooted once (and you know its going to happen) Windows screws up again and resets all your work, so you can change it back again to the right way. Windows tries very hard to obfuscate how they do things to make this nearly impossible, relying on its kernel or storing encyrpted keys or unreadable hashes in its registry. There goal is to wrest control of your machine so they can have things in a nice format to make it easier for them to spy on you.

  • @ile

    That it worked for 3 months is good, it means it works (i ran the automatic fix and hope it works from now on after i've manually changed the view settings of my folders). But it seems it only works till the 5000 folder limit that you mentioned, so some folders start to reset. That seems to be the windows standard size since windows vista. You can change the limit, i did 50.000, it should be enough. Google "windows forgets folder view settings", it's a tutorial to rise the limit. Here a quick copy and paste from there:

    "Windows may keep forgetting the folder type view settings. This occurs because, by default, Windows Vista or Windows 7 is set to remember folder view settings for only 5000 folders. In Windows XP it was 400, but has been increased in Windows Vista it is 5000. The way out is to increase this value to, say, 10000 folders.

    You can do so as follows:

    Open regedit and navigate to the following registry key:

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

    In the right side pane, right click > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value > Name it BagMRU Size.
    Next right click BagMRU Size > Click Modify.
    Select Decimal and type 10000 (or in Hexadecimal base type 2710). Click OK."

    I did 50000 and hope wont get the issue that you got. Hope that helps.

    @author of this article

    From number 7:
    "7. Now click on this new "Shell" key and in right-side pane, create a new String value and give it name as FolderType and set its value to NotSpecified"

    so that is the key/value that is responsible for deactivating the annoying "Automatic Folder Type Discovery"? The deletion of the Bags Folder should reset all view settings and this above is deactivating it? As you wrote: "This trick will reset the view settings of all folders and then it'll completely disable the automatic folder type discovery feature, so you'll not face this problem any more and Windows will always remember your customized view type settings for all folders." Thanks in advance

  • Also i wanted a very important fact which could be very irritating for some of us.

    Let's say you have moved the windows explorer into the taskbar for faster access. So the little folder icon is next to the windows start-, task view- and cortana- (if you didnt get rid of it) buttons. When you also have pinned different folders to "quick access" (blue star) inside windows explorer (by right-clicking a folder and click "pin to quick access"), after that you also can open them through right-clicking on the windows explorer task bar icon, and then choose your pinned folder. This function is also called Jump List (many open programs that you can see in the task bar can be right-clicked and have the most recent items you can jump to , the so called Jump Lists) That's how i opened my folders many times. The problem is, when accessing the folders through that method, it seems as they have completely seperate saved view settings. As if there were two lists of folders with their own view settings, although the path of the folder is exactly the same.

    Open folder without jump list (normal method) -> view settings 1
    Open Jump List folder -> view settings list 2

    Open Jump List folder and navigate the path through the title bar -> view settings list 2
    Open Jump List folder and click again on the same folder on the left with quick access (blue star) > back to view setting list 1

    That doesnt make sense at all, but it is just like that. Theoretically you would have to change the view settings then for both methods, it is saved, but for each accessing method own view settings. Seems it is creating view setting entrys for each method, so it fills up the 5000 default entries (better change it to something much higher, read my post above how to ) twice as fast if you are someone who access them at the same degree over those methods. Hope this helps some of you.

  • Was trying this fix for my problem with that the folder view for the search window didn't save its settings. Unfortunately it didn't work :(

    I have every folder view set to general but when I use the search function (up in the top right of the explorer window) the folder view change according to the "Automatic Folder Type Discovery".

    How the F do I fix this? It wasn't a problem before so guess it's some recent update or something that screwed it up. Is there a registry hack for this also?

  • This annoying effect only occurred after one of my PCs updated to the Windows 10 Creators Update. Now fixed and greatly appreciated. Not for the first time that I have found a solution to a problem on this site. Thanks again.

  • @pson

    Read my post above yours about the view setting lists. I found when you use the windows search (up in the top right of the explorer window), it is creating its own view setting list. Very annoying indeed. View Setting List 3 so to speak. Let me explain (again read my post above yours for reference):

    There are alot of ways to enter a folder that has the same adress, but different view setting lists. When you enter windows' own music folder through your personal folder "pson" through the desktop icon for example, look what it is saying in the address/title bar of the explorer. For me it is like "Tom > Music >" (only if you didnt activate "display the full path in the title bar"). Now if you enter windows' own music folder through the navigation area under "This PC" (when you didn't deactivate it somehow), it says "This PC > Music >" in the address/title bar. When you enter the music folder all through the Local Disk (C:) -> Users -> Tom -> Music, the adress bar says "This PC > Local Disk (C:) > Users > Tom > Music >". Here a quick list for overview:

    1: "Tom > Music >"
    2: "This PC > Music >"
    3. "This PC > Local Disk (C:) > Users > Tom > Music >"

    The funny thing is though, when you click on one of the three of those in the adress/title bar, it shows you the full path and for 1. and 3. it says "C:\Users\Tom\Music" which is the same path, but somehow it is using different View Setting Lists. Number 2. says just "Music", but when you go into the folder properties of the folder, there is a tab "path" and it says the same "C:\Users\Tom\Music" as above.
    So three different ways to enter a folder with in fact the same path, but three different view settings lists.

    Now if you use the windows search function, it has it own view setting list for each folder also. But at least not an own for each way you enter a folder. For example, when you enter the music folder in one of the 3 ways above (1., 2. or 3.), they all have the same view settings when doing a search and not one view setting list for each.

    So it seem the windows search is somehow just using the real path "C:\Users\Tom\Music" to save the view settings, but when navigating to the music folder in different ways (example 1.,2.,3.), it uses the path you went to the folder and if it is a different way, it has a own View Setting List, which is completely nonsense to me and i don't know how to overcome that, but since i know that, i can live with it and always using one way to access my folder. Although when using the windows search (like you want to) i have to set the view settings a second time for each folder to match my folder access behavior. So to summarize:

    1. Use always the same way to access your folders and then set the view settings, otherwise they are not the same as the ones you have set already.
    2. If you are using the windows search function and want the same view settings as the folders, it seems you have to set them a second time.

    Make sure before you do that, that you followed the tutorial of this article here or download the linked .reg file and run it, so the "Automatic Folder Type Discovery" function is deactivated, and if you have alot of folders, follow the instructions of my very first post here, so the folders dont get reset after 5000 folder (windows standard value), and put in something more. I did 50000 and doing fine for a month now and hope for the future too.
    Also something to remember: if you do certain changes to the folder, like renaming it (only if you add characters to the folder name, not deleting) or moving it, it does in fact creating a new folder (which you dont assume, but windows file system is in fact doing it) so you have to set the view settings for this folder again (because it is a completely new one in fact).

    Hope i could help you.

  • Sadly, that didn't work for long. I'll try Tom's "...In the right side pane, right click > New > DWORD (32-bit) Value > Name it BagMRU Size.
    Next right click BagMRU Size > Click Modify......"etc.

    Failing this, then I'll just have to settle on rebuilding my profile/s. Worked on another Windows 10 64bit PC when I had resort to it, just a pain having to do it.

    Bummer, my system was ticking over pretty nice until the Creators Update. :-(

  • After several switch off & reboots (some to sort other Creators Update issues) all appears well with my folder view options. Thanks VG & Tom.

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