Windows 9x - Folders: it's in the Details view

Explorer's View menu has always provided a number of ways to represent the files, folders, and drives it shows in its file pane - the window on the right. The Large Icons view is fine when you are initially getting used to Windows, but most users soon come to prefer the extra information that the Details view provides (View-Details).

Here are some tips to ensure you get the view you want when you open a folder. All of them will work if you have installed the Desktop Update portion of Internet Explorer 4 or if you're running Windows 98 or later.

GET THE COLUMNS OF YOUR CHOICE: by default, Explorer displays the Details view information in nice neat columns. If you don't need a particular detail, you can eliminate its column to save space. Position your mouse pointer over the divider to the right of the column name until the pointer turns into a double arrow; then drag left, shrinking the column until it completely disappears. If you ever want the column back, position the mouse pointer just to the right of the same divider (you'll see that this double-arrow pointer's vertical line is hollow) and drag to the right until you see the column heading again. For the Attributes column, you can use the same method; or you can choose View-Folder Options or View-Options, click the View tab, uncheck "Show file attributes in Detail View", and click OK. The Attributes column will not disappear until you change the selected folder.

GET MORE DETAILS: you can obtain even more information without using the Details view at all. In Explorer, -double-click a file, or select a file or folder and press - to see its Properties sheet. This dialogue box lists the usual data you'd find in the Details view. It also reports the amount of disk space allocated for the file or folder, identifies a path you can drag over to highlight and then copy and paste the contents into other locations, and specifies the times and dates the file was created and last accessed. (The access date is not available for folders.)SORT IT OUT: want to see your files arranged by date last modified? Or maybe the oldest ones first? Or grouped by file type? No problem. Just click the column heading to sort by that attribute. Click a second time to reverse the sort order.

ORDER COLUMNS AROUND: don't like the order of columns in the Details view? Drag and drop the column heading onto the dividing line between any two columns. When you release the mouse button, the entire column will move.

FOR YOUR SIZE ONLY: I've described how to change column width by dragging the dividing lines between column headings; you can also force an individual column to snap to the width of its widest element by double-clicking the right edge of the column heading. To resize all columns at once, each to the width of its longest element, hold down and press the plus key on the numerical keypad.

CUSTOMISE ONE, CUSTOMISE ALL: the most efficient way to get the desired look for the largest number of folders is to apply some basic attributes to all folders and customise individual folders. To do that, close all Explorer and folder windows except one. Give that one the view characteristics you want for all your folder windows. Choose View-Folder Options or View-Options. Click the View tab and examine the options listed under Advanced settings. Make sure that "Remember each folder's view settings" is checked. Check or select any other options you want to include.

When you like the way everything looks, click Apply. Then click the Like Current Folder button in this dialogue box. Click Yes to confirm your decision. This saves the customised view state for all folders, but remember that any subsequent changes you make to specific folders will be saved only with those individual folders, not globally.

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