Home > Blogs > 30 Windows and Hardware Tips in 30 Days Tip 4: Customize Your Folder Views ? Part 1

30 Windows and Hardware Tips in 30 Days Tip 4: Customize Your Folder Views ? Part 1

Whether you use Windows XP, Windows Vista or a legacy Windows version, customizing your folder views helps you find the information you want with less effort and helps you can navigate through your system faster. This article discusses folder customizations in Windows XP, and a future article discusses folder customization in Windows Vista.

The Power of the Views Button

The Views button in Windows XP is the easiest way to temporarily change your folders' appearance. Use it to preview different defaults, and to show you the most important information for a particular task.

Windows XP Views for Digital Photo Fans

Windows XP Views for File Management

The Icons and List views are useful primarily for file management. If you need to drag and drop files; select files for copying, moving, or deletion; or rename a group of files, use these views. Use List to display the largest number of files and folders in a specified window.

Windows XP "Everything" View - Details

The final view, Details, displays file name, file modification data, file size and type, and can be customized to show many other nuggets of file information (very useful on a widescreen display). To customize the Details view, right-click the title row and select additional columns.

Customizing Folder Appearance in Windows XP

If you don't like the default folder view used for subfolders of My Documents, My Pictures, and others, you can change the defaults. Right-click a folder, select Properties, and click the Customize tab. Choose from these options:

  • The Pictures setting uses Thumbnail view, displays Picture Tasks and File and Folder Tasks in the left pane. Use it for folders containing many pictures.
  • The Photo Album setting uses Filmstrip view, displays Picture Tasks and File and Folder Tasks in the left pane. Use it for folders that contain fewer pictures.
  • The Documents setting uses Tiles view, displays File and Folder Tasks in the left pane. Use it for folders containing any type of files.
  • The Music setting uses Tiles view and displays Music Tasks and File and Folder Tasks in the left pane. Use it for folders containing audio files and playlists.
  • The Music Artist setting uses Thumbnails view and displays Music Tasks and File and Folder Tasks in the left pane. Use it for folders containing audio files by a single artist.
  • The Music Album setting uses Tiles view and displays Music Tasks and File and Folder Tasks in the left pane. Use it for folders containing audio files from a single album.
  • The Videos setting uses Thumbnails view and displays Video Tasks and File and Folder Tasks. Use it for folders containing video files.

Select the option to change subfolders if you want all subfolders of the current folder to use the same folder view.

  • The Thumbnail view displays a small version of any file that supports the thumbnail view, such as TIF or JPG graphics files, and some types of Microsoft Office files.  Other files display an application-specific icon.
  • The Filmstrip view is available only in My Pictures, its subfolders, or other folders you have configured to display digital photos. It displays the currently-selected photo in a large window above a single row of scrollable thumbnails. When you select a different photo, it becomes the large photo displayed in Filmstrip.
  • The Tiles view displays the dimensions of common digital photo formats like TIF and JPG as well as the image type.

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