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

  2. For each of these folders, set the desired view you want.
  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.
  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.
  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.

👉 Tip: You can change the number of folder views to remember in Windows 10.

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.
  2. Click on the Library Tools Manage tab.
  3. Select the desired view template in the Optimize library for drop down list.

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.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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

  1. 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! :)

  2. 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.

  3. Is it possible to have folders use the same things like: frame width and frame height and frame rate. I can’t even get the folders to stay the same when I close and open them.

  4. Everywhere people explain that we need to go to the main folders and press the “apply to folders” button. But you were the only one who explained why it wasn’t working for me: I was accessing the folder from the Libraries!
    Thank you!

  5. I have a new problem today – I cannot change folders from “General Items” to “Music” or “Documents” templates. I change to “Video” and “Photos” just fine. fyi I use a standard non-admin account. These are MY folders and I should be able to change them. Is this a WIndows 10 ‘feature’ or something I’ve messed up.

  6. I have followed the above instructions exactly at least 10 times with no positive results. It simply will not work. I do each folder as follows:
    The first three are in “Details”, but as soon as I set Pictures to “Large Icons”, the three previous folders change to that view. I am very literate in Windows … have been working with it for 25 or more years. I have also tried other methods to individually change Folder View by types but nothing seems to work. I have a Dell desktop with Windows V. 20H2. If you have any suggestions, I would certainly appreciate them.

  7. why not just find everyone who works for microsoft windows and unload a double barrel shot gun blast in their face for making something so stupid?

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