[xplorer˛] — Folder view settings
home » blog » 23 March 2008
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One of the most annoying features in windows explorer is the way it handles folder view settings. Over the years this has ranged from turning each folder into large icon view (despite your attempts to establish detailed views), to the most recent automatic switching depending on the document types in each folder. Explorer believing it knows better, will automatically switch to thumbnail view if it detects a few picture files in a folder for example.

xplorer˛ on the other hands trusts you know what you are doing and how you want to see your files. Unlike windows explorer it will not force a useless large icon view the first time you browse a new folder. It just sticks to whatever view mode you have selected and applies it to each folder you visit. This applies to all view settings, including pane style (detailed, list, small icon, thumbnails...), columns in detailed view, sort order, grouping (View > Arrange by menu) and visual filter.

Whereas windows explorer remembers the view mode of each folder automatically, xplorer˛ only keeps track of your latest settings and applies them to all folders you visit. It's the direct opposite view point and most of the time it saves you time since most of the folders are best viewed in your default mode.

What if you want to see some folders differently? Simple, use commands from View menu to make your folder appear exactly as you would like, and then use Actions > Folder settings > Save menu command and xplorer˛ will treat this (and only this) folder differently. Behind the scenes xplorer˛ creates a hidden file called desktop.ini in folders with custom settings and keeps your favorite options there. This is a standard windows system file that windows explorer uses in some occasions too.

If you want to cancel the saved settings for a particular folder, either use Actions > Folder settings > Clear menu command or simply delete the desktop.ini file in that folder.

When you browse a folder that is under custom view settings, a status bar pane shows a little folder icon (next to the disk free space indicator), as a reminder of the special situation. status indicator

Sometimes you need to apply the same view settings to a folder and all its subfolders (e.g all your picture folders under "My Pictures"). This is easily handled in windows explorer but with a little creative thinking you can have it in xplorer˛ too. We know that xplorer˛ keeps folder settings in desktop.ini, so all we have to do is find a way to copy this file to all subfolders, using Edit > Paste special > Multi paste menu command.

Addendum: As of xplorer˛ version 2.0 it is much easier to apply folder settings to subfolders: just answer YES to the question asked by the Save command!

For step-by-step instructions see today's demo

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