■ Custom folder view settings and how to get rid of them
Windows explorer thinks it knows what's best for you and picks up each folder's view mode based on the files contained (e.g. it will switch to thumbnails when browsing a folder with pictures). Whereas that appears to make sense on the surface, it is actually a pain, especially combined with a useless default mode for unseen folders.
xplorer² on the other hands trusts the user and won't play with the folder view mode. Whatever mode you set last time (e.g. detailed view with a set of columns/attributes) is the default for any folder browsed from then on.
xplorer² understands that you want to browse most your folders in a consistent fashion, including pane style, sort order and group mode. Exceptionally it allows a few folders to be seen differently through custom folder settings. So if you want to see your pictures folder in thumbnail mode, you override the default and save a separate view mode for this folder (and perhaps for all its subfolders, if they are the same). Once you make a folder exceptional like this, any view changes while browsing in there are basically discarded; when you browse into a regular folder, xplorer² restores the default view mode, whatever that is.
Over the years supporting xplorer² I see many people stuck in a loop, trying to change the default view mode while browsing a special folder (one with saved custom settings). When they realize it doesn't work, they get frustrated and end up using Actions > Folder settings > Save menu command all over the place, which aggravates the problem.
If you cannot change xplorer² default view mode, most likely you are inside a folder with customized settings. The solution is to browse a folder like the root C:\ where you have never saved folder settings, and your view mode changes will take effect for all regular folders.
After you correct the default view mode, chances are that you are left with many folders with unwanted custom folder settings — they contain special files called DESKTOP.INI. To get rid of them, one way is to search and delete all DESKTOP.INI files created by xplorer². An easier solution is to browse the top document folder (or drive root), and use Actions > Folder settings > Clear menu command (if using the Ribbon UI, the folder settings menu is in the View tab), to get rid of all custom settings in all subfolders in one stroke. Here's a demo video:
This recommended way of clearing up custom folder settings will not destroy other system customizations like custom folder icons and localized file names.
To recap, use custom folder settings sparringly and only in those few folders where you want exceptional view, sort and grouping options to apply.