Custom Folder Views on External Drive

By aolbites
Feb 11, 2009
  1. I've tried looking around on multiple websites and am so far unable to find anything which actually addresses this issues. I've found reference to ICO files, and default views for windows.

    But what I want to know, is via the desktop.ini or any other files, is there a way to set the default view for a folder on a flash drive?

    I've found multiple sites talking about extshellfolderviews and the like, but nothing seems to be working. Here is my current desktop.ini for the folder in question.



  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,424   +77

    Are you talking about folder views and making the choice default for all folders? That's 'apply to all folders' button on folder options in control panel. if so, I always thought the setting was universal for all drives, including flash drives. There is no setting per drive, and I often wish there was.
  3. aolbites

    aolbites TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No, I'm talking about customizing the folder view of a flash drive. I have pictures and music on the drive and I'd like the pictures to be in thumbnail view, and the music folder to have the track, artist, title, information always listed.

    And default windows folder views don't work, because those only apply to connected drives, which are always connected to THAT computer. I want to be able to take my flash drive to multiple computers and always have the certain folders show up the same way.
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    Three issues:
    1. You must configure your flash drive on each computer you connect to!
    (The custom view is defined per computer and saved in the local computer. So when you connect the flash drive to a new computer you must define the View all over again
    But when you reconnect the flash drive to a computer I think Windows still has the view you defined previosly (as Windows does retain data about previous drive connnections. This data is kept when a drive is removed. It's not deleted until the drive is uninstalled.

    2. By default, and i'll assume XP for now as you didn't indicate, provides for 400 custom folder views
    Of course, over time, it's easy to start surpassing this limit. In which case, XP starts reusing old views. You can use the TweakUI tool to modify this default value ​

    3. Make XP view your USB flash drive as a local (vs. removable) disk
    Try this
  5. aolbites

    aolbites TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So, even though I was able to use the Desktop.ini file to change the icon for the folder on the drive, this same file can't be used in any way to change how the file is viewed?
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +183

    i might not have fully understood your question... When you refer to "default folder view" the term implies a whole lot more then setting up a limited number of attributes via Desktop.ini.

    Have you resolved your question somewhere yet? if not, i can take a closer look to see if might be able to help over the next few days....
  7. aolbites

    aolbites TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No, no resolution yet. I meant the default for one single folder, so I guess "custom" would be a better word to use. The examples would be viewing a picture folder on my flash drive always in thumbnail. Or viewing a music directory with artist, title, track, etc information.

    On the pages that I found regarding the desktop.ini, it appeared that that was something it could handle, but either I didn't do all that was needed, or mistyped something.
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,424   +77

    I have never played around with desktop.ini, and would think that is equivalent to folder options default setting. As you seem to have concluded, that is not what you want, you want a particular folder appearance for a specific folder. That is a custom setting, and once made (using folder options, not desktop.ini, remains set for that folder. or should do. In fact, I know that there are only a limited number of folders that are remembered in that way, after which previous settings become forgotten. I also believe there is a way to increase the number of folders remembered.
  9. aolbites

    aolbites TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, you can set views for certain folders, I believe 400 is the default, and that can be changed via the registry. But I am talking about an external drive. One that I can move from computer to computer, and have the view of that folder remain the same, without having to set up a custom view for that folder on each computer I go to.
  10. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,424   +77

    You need to wait for Windows 77 for that....!!

    If it bugs you that much, how about an autorun.inf on your hard drive, which runs regedit, to install the necessary view settings into the registry of the poor, unsuspecting PC you plug it into.

    That sounds very much like malware activity, and indeed is how some malware spreads. Now being blocked by MS at the second attempt (if you know where to look)
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