How to Change Default View in File Explorer Windows 11: Step-by-Step Guide

Changing Default View in File Explorer Windows 11

Changing the default view in File Explorer on Windows 11 is straightforward. You can set your preference for how files and folders are displayed, whether as icons, details, or lists. This guide walks you through each step so that every time you open File Explorer, it will automatically use your preferred view settings.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on Changing Default View in File Explorer Windows 11

In this section, we’ll go through the steps to change the default view in File Explorer. By the end, you’ll have set the default view to your liking.

Step 1: Open File Explorer

First, open File Explorer by clicking on the folder icon in the taskbar.
Once you’ve opened File Explorer, you can see all your files and folders. This is where you’ll start to make your changes.

Step 2: Go to a Folder of Your Choice

Second, navigate to any folder where you want the new view settings to be applied.
Choose a folder that represents the kind of content you usually manage, such as Documents or Pictures, as this will help you decide the best view.

Step 3: Select the View Tab

Third, click on the ‘View’ tab located at the top of the window.
This tab provides different options for how you can view your files, like "Details," "Large icons," "List," and more.

Step 4: Choose Your Preferred View

Fourth, select your preferred view from the options in the View tab.
For example, if you like seeing more details about your files, click on "Details." If you prefer larger icons, select "Large icons."

Step 5: Apply to All Folders

Fifth, click on "Options" on the far right of the View tab, then select "Change folder and search options."
A new window will pop up. Click on the "View" tab and then the "Apply to Folders" button. This will apply your current view settings to all folders of the same type.

Step 6: Confirm Your Settings

Finally, click "Yes" to confirm that you want to apply these settings to all folders.
This will ensure that every time you open a similar folder, it will use the view settings you’ve just configured.

After completing these steps, your selected view will become the default for all similar folders. Each time you open File Explorer, it will remember your preferred view settings, making your browsing experience more consistent and efficient.

Tips for Changing Default View in File Explorer Windows 11

  • Experiment with Views: Try out different view settings to see which one you like best. You might prefer Details for documents but Large Icons for pictures.
  • Use the Preview Pane: Enable the Preview Pane to get a quick glance at file contents without opening them.
  • Sort and Group: Use the "Sort by" and "Group by" options to further organize your files within the chosen view.
  • Quick Access: Add frequently used folders to Quick Access for even faster navigation.
  • Folder Templates: Some folders automatically use different templates, like Music or Pictures, so apply the default view to those specifically if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reset the default view settings in File Explorer?

You can reset to the default view settings by going to the "View" tab, choosing "Options," and clicking "Restore Defaults."

Can I set different default views for different folders?

Yes, you can set unique views for different types of folders, like Documents or Pictures, by following the same steps and applying them to each folder type.

Why doesn’t my preferred view apply to all folders?

Make sure to click "Apply to Folders" under the "View" tab in Folder Options. If it’s still not working, you may need to reset and try again.

Do these settings apply to external drives as well?

Yes, once set, these view settings will apply to folders on external drives when accessed through File Explorer.

What if File Explorer doesn’t save my settings?

Ensure you have administrative rights on the computer. If the problem persists, consider updating Windows or restarting your PC.


  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Go to a folder.
  3. Select the View tab.
  4. Choose your preferred view.
  5. Apply to all folders.
  6. Confirm settings.


Changing the default view in File Explorer on Windows 11 is a simple yet effective way to tailor your file management experience to your liking. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure a consistent and personalized view every time you navigate through your folders.

Remember, the key to a smoother workflow is having your tools set up just the way you need them. Try out different views, and don’t hesitate to tweak settings until they fit your needs perfectly.

For further reading, you might want to explore other customization options in Windows 11, such as adjusting taskbar settings or managing startup apps. Happy customizing!

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