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 Home » Freeware Downloads » Windows Hacks » WinSetView v1.50   
File - Download WinSetView v1.50

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WinSetView v1.50

This tool provides an easy way to globally set Windows Explorer folder views. For example, if you want Details view with a particular selection of column headings enabled across all folders, then this tool will do that for you.

The tool is comprised of two files: WinSetView.hta (HTML GUI with VBScript code) and WinSetView.ps1 (Powershell command line script).

Double-click WinSetView.hta to open the GUI. When you click Submit, the hta/vbs script will pass your choices as parameters to WinSetView.ps1, which will make the changes and then restart Explorer.

Each option, and related Explorer background information, is detailed below, but if you just want to get to it, the dialog is pretty much self-explanatory. For best results, close all open applications before running this tool. Open applications can prevent open/save dialog views from being updated.

All changes made by this tool are per-user within the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive in the registry. No machine settings are touched and no elevated privileges are required. On each run, the tool makes a unique backup file of the affected registry values. A restore option is provided allowing you to rollback to any of these backups. There's also an option to completely reset all Explorer views to Windows default values.


Language Dropdown Menu

This allows you to select an interface language for WinSetView. See Language Support section below for details. This option does NOT change the Windows language.

Reset Views to Windows Defaults

This option clears the registry keys that hold Explorer views and restarts Explorer, causing all folder views to revert to Windows defaults.

View Radio Buttons:

For your global Explorer view, you can select one of: Details, List, Tiles, Content, Small Icons, Medium Icons, Large Icons

Your selection will apply to all folders except "This PC" and "Network".

No Grouping

This option turns off grouping in all folder views. This is most often desired for the Downloads folder which has grouping by date enabled by default.

Make All folders Generic

This option disables "Folder Type Discovery". That's the windows feature that automatically changes a folder's view based on its contents. If you want your folder views to change with content, don't check this item. If you want a consistent view across all folders, regardless of content, check this option. This option also makes the Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders generic. Those four folder will retain their special icons, but they will behave like a generic folder (i.e. column headings in Details view will be generic). This option has no effect on the Downloads folder.

Set Global Column Headings

Check this box if you want to control which column headings are enabled globally for Details view. Uncheck it if you want Windows default column headings. The column heading order is shown in the text box, using the heading names, as they are stored in the registry. To control the order, uncheck all column headings and then check them in the order you want them to appear left to right.

Seventeen of Explorer's column headings are provided (I can add more on request). There are many more heading choices in Explorer, but these are the ones that are most likely to be applicable globally. Some of them appear redundant, but they're all different in some way. Each heading is explained below:

Date headings:

Date Modified: The last date/time the file was updated on this file system.
Date Created: This is the date/time the file was initially written to storage.
Date accessed: Date file was last opened (rarely accurate due to deferred updates).

General purpose headings:

Size: The file size in KB
Attributes: File attributes such as Archive[A], Hidden[H], System[S], Read-only[R]
File Version: Applicable to files that have a version header, such as .exe files
Owner: File owner in computer\userid format

File type headings:

Item type: The file's type based on file extension. Example: MPEG Layer 3
Type: Usually same as File type, but may show associated app name in search results.
Perceived type: File category. Examples: Audio, Video
Kind: Similar to Perceived type. Examples: Music, Video
Content type: Essentially Perceived type + Item type. Example: audio/mpeg
File extension: Example: .mp3 (handy for sorting if you don't need a type field)

The File extension column heading is not available on Windows 7.

Path headings (useful in search results):

Folder name: The folder name only. Example: Ghibli
Folder path: Full path to the folder. Example: C:\Movies\Ghibli
Folder: Folder name followed by preceding path. Example: Ghibli (C:\Movies)
Path: Full path to the file. Example: C:\Movies\Ghibli\Ponyo.mkv

Name and Path Column Widths

The first number sets the width of the name column (first column) in Details view. The second number Sets the width of any path columns enabled in Details view.
The value is specified in ems. 1 em ≈ 1 char
Em size is relative to screen scaling. For example (at 96 dpi):
1 em at 100% = 8 pixels
1 em at 125% = 10 pixels
1 em at 150% = 12 pixels
Explorer uses ems internally for all its default column widths. This keeps the amount of text displayed in each column constant as screen scaling is changed.

Set views for "This PC" and "Network"

If this option is checked, the tool will set your chosen view settings for "This PC" and "Network". If the option is unchecked, these virtual folders will retain the Windows default of Tiles and group by category. Under this checkbox, you can select the desired view for "This PC" and "Network" and choose to disable or keep grouping.


This button executes the Powershell script which will apply the selected options to the registry and restart Explorer. How it works this magic is explained further below.

Last Run Settings

This button will be grayed out on first run. The next time you run the tool, your selected options from the previous run will load automatically. If you then make one or more changes to the selections, and want to get back to what you picked on last run, just click the Last Run Settings button.

App Defaults

Clicking this button will return the interface to the default choices baked into the code.

Restore from Backup

This button will be grayed out on first run. Each time you click Submit, the Powershell script makes a backup of the user's Explorer view registry keys to a date-time-named file. The Restore from Backup button will bring up a dialog to let you pick a backup file to restore. Since it's a standard Explorer dialog, you can use the same interface to delete any unwanted backups by selecting them and right-clicking to get a Delete option.


Folder views in Windows Explorer are both flexible and frustrating. Many users have reported their view settings getting inexplicitly reverted back to Windows defaults, especially as it concerns the Downloads folder. However, some of these frustrations may be due to a misunderstanding of how the views work.

Explorer's Many Views

The Downloads folder, for example, has at least four different views. So, if you want grouping turned off for Downloads, you have to do it at least four times. Those four views are: 1) This PC, Downloads, 2) C:\Users\Username\Downloads, 3) This PC, Downloads via an Open or Save dialog, and 4) C:\Users\Username\Downloads via an Open or Save dialog. Frequently, a user will set one of these views and then encounter one of the other views and get angry that their view settings "didn't stick".

Apply to Folders Explained

Another confusion is over the "Apply to folders" button. This can be found in View, Options, Change folder and search options, View tab. Many users interpret this button to mean "Apply to ALL folders". That's not what it means. It actually means "Apply to all folders that are the same type as the current folder". So, in the case of our Downloads example, each of those four views are different folder types, so the "Apply to folders" button will not help to set all

Downloads views the same.

Explorer provides no option to set all folders and virtual folders to one global view. You can set a generic folder, such as C:\, to your desired views and then use the "Apply to folders" button to set all other generic folders the same. But, as explained, there are plenty of folders that are not generic folders. You can make the "Apply to folders" button apply to more folders by setting a registry value that tells Explorer to treat "all folders" as "Generic". That registry value is:

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

Note: You can substitute "Generic" with "NotSpecified" and get the same result.

Note: This tool makes this registry entry for you (if desired). It is only shown here for educational purposes.

With that value set, changing the view for say, C:\, and then clicking the "Apply to folders" button will also change the view for Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos, but frustratingly, it will not change Downloads. Explorer really likes to keep the view for Downloads separate from all other folders.

Apply to Folders "Bug"

Whenever you use the "Apply to folders" button, on any generic folder, such as C:\, your views for "This PC" and "Network" will revert back to Windows defaults. If you always leave "This PC" and "Network" at their default views, this is not an issue, but if you have changed either view and want to keep it changed, this is a nuisance.

There is a sort-of-okay workaround. Any folder that is open when "Apply to folders" is used, will not have it's view changed. So, to "protect" your custom views for "This PC" and "Network", be sure to have separate windows open to each of those views when you use the "Apply to folders" button.

Automatic Folder Type Discovery

By default, Explorer has automatic folder discovery enabled. This means Explorer will automatically change the view of a folder based on its contents. People generally love or hate this feature. If you're reading this, you probably fall into the latter camp. The same "FolderType"="Generic" registry entry, described above, also disables automatic folder discovery. This option is applied by the tool when you select the Make All Folders Generic option.

For a lot of users, data specific views in Explorer are just an annoying distraction and the change of view from one folder to another is a jarring hinderance to efficient file management. For those users, a method to set consistent global Explorer views is a must. Enter this tool.

WinSetView 1.50
File and folder path type column headings are now only applied to search results. For example, if "Folder path" is checked, that column will appear in Details view for any search results, but otherwise, will not be displayed.

The arrangement of the column heading choices have been changed to put file and folder path options first, as it makes sense to have a path option as the first column (after item name) in search results. The app default settings now include "Folder Path" as a selected heading.

Other minor code clean up.

Click here to visit the author's website.
Continue below to download this file.

Downloads Views Developer Last Update Version Size Type Rank
282 571 LesFerch <img src=""border="0"> May 06, 2021 - 11:16 1.50 34.4KB ZIP 5/5, out of 3 Votes.
File Tags
WinSetView  v1.50  
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