Customize Folder Display Type in Windows XP and 7

Since Windows XP, you can change the behavior of Windows Explorer to show like files like your music folder, video folder, plain documents or even pictures.  This is a great improvement over the previous windows versions since it lets you naturally view the files meta data instantly without having to use a third party software.


Windows Explorer in Windows XP, Vista, and 7 do not automatically set the type of folder view.  Below are the steps to perform for setting this behavior.

1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to any folder with files in it. (This won’t work with drives, so make sure the folder isn’t a root folder.)

2. Right-click the folder in the tree, select Properties, and choose the Customize tab. Or right-click an empty area of the folder background and select Customize This Folder.

3. From the Optimize this folder for: or Use this folder type as a template listbox, select the first entry, General Items, and then click OK.


Choosing the other options like Documents, Pictures, Music or Videos will display the contents of the folder as such.  For example, if you choose “music” then it will display the contents of your folder with album art like in your “My Music” folder.

For videos, it will display the type of video file, the dimensions, and the duration of the video. For picture folders, you’ll get small thumbnails instead of the details view.

Ben Carigtan shows you how it’s done.

Comments [4]

  1. What if I want to change the folder type of my main D: Folder. Somewhere along the way, my Windows XP SP3 has decided that my D: directory is a music folder without it actually containing any music files.

    Needless to say, it's driving me nuts, so help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. I just bought a new HP computer and with it naturally came Windows 7. I really dislike it. Compared to Windows XP, it is complicated, opens folders one after another, in a very confusing way.

    Is there any way to make it behave more like XP?

    One major complaint is that my photos in a specified folder do not open to thumbnails so I can't see them all at once.

    Can you help me? Thanks so much.

  3. Does anyone know how to disable Windows XP from choosing its display settings based on what files it finds in folders? I find this extremely annoying and have been trying to find a solution for years. :-)

  4. Folder Template customization does not appear to work for XP

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