Change folder view template for all folders in Windows 10

If you use File Explorer, you may already know that it has a nice feature to remember each folder's view setting. Unfortunately, it is not explained very properly by Microsoft and some changes were made in modern Windows versions which make it even more confusing for end users. We constantly get this question asked by our readers - is there any way to make File Explorer set a desired view for all folders and then remember it in Windows 10? Let see how it can be done.

File Explorer in Windows 10 has five folder templates - General Items, Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos. When you see the Customize tab of a Library or of a folder, you will see these templates. This adds more flexibility to view your personal data.

For instance, even if you prefer, say, List view for Documents, you may want your Music Library to be shown in Details view and you would want your Pictures and Video Libraries to be in icon-based views such as Medium, Large or Extra Large icons. So for each folder templates, Explorer stores it settings individually.

Naturally, to change the view for all templates to the one you want, you need to do "Apply to Folders" 5 times, once for each template.

You need to do the following.

  1. Open these five folders in Explorer:
    C:\Users\<your username>\Documents
    C:\Users\<your username>\Music
    C:\Users\<your username>\Pictures
    C:\Users\<your username>\Videos

    Windows 10 open folders

  2. For each of these folders, set the desired view you want. Windows 10 set desired view
  3. Now you need to open Folder Options in each of these 5 Explorer windows. Click the button Folder Options on the View tab of the Ribbon. If you disabled Ribbon in Windows 10, press Alt+T on your keyboard to open the Tools menu and then open Folder Options. Windows 10 open folder options
  4. Switch to the View tab and click the button "Apply to Folders". Doing this only affects the folders of one of the five templates - that is why you need to do this 5 times, for each of the above 5 folders. Windows 10 view tab apply to folders Windows 10 view tab apply to folders confirmation
  5. Now close all opened windows in File Explorer and reopen them. You should have the desired view that you set.

Note that despite setting these views, Explorer still remembers the views of individual folders that you change later after clicking "Apply to Folders". For example, if you set Pictures folder to Extra Large Icons and then clicked "Apply to Folders" then by default, any folders containing Pictures will now have Extra Large icons view. But if you were to change one of your specific folders containing Pictures to Medium icons, Explorer will remember that view for that particular folder.

In addition, when you access any folders from their Libraries, the folders will always follow the parent library's view. So if you directly opened the My Documents folder at C:\Users\<your user name>\Documents, then it will show you the view you've set. But if you access the same folder from the Documents Library, it will show you in the view that you use for the Documents Library.

To change the Library view template, you need to do the following.

  1. Open the desired library. Windows 10 open library
  2. Click on the Library Tools Manage tab.
  3. Select the desired view template in the Optimize library for drop down list. Windows 10 change library view

Finally, special folders like Recycle Bin and This PC have their own views which Explorer remembers.

Now you know everything you need to change the folder view template for all folders in Windows 10.

4 thoughts on “Change folder view template for all folders in Windows 10

  1. Al


    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Daniel

    I just spent like 2 hours googling and looking through 20 pages trying to get EVERY FOLDER and FILE to show with the Details view. None actually did what I thought they meant.

    Yours finally did. THANKS! :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. vijer

    While it works, it is tedious. It would be nice to have a script that could do this same thing. After EVERY Windows 10 update I have to go and reset many options.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


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