Sunday, 30 September 2007

Vista explorer fixes

I use the explorer to browse directories a lot and in Vista which I had no choice but to get with my laptop, this is horribly broken.

There are two symptoms I see:

  • When I enter a directory it has reverted away from the Details view to whatever the icon default view is (not one I find usable).
  • When I enter a directory the files slowly appear one by one over the course of up to half a minute. While this is happening, a gray progress bar fills out in the address field at the top of the window and the disk is hammered with activity. I can abort this activity by pressing escape, but then I do not see whatever files haven't been listed yet.
I have finally found a partial solution for the former and a full solution for the latter in this forum post:
Set the list view for a folder that's using the 'All Items' template, then
use 'Apply to Folders'. Then override content-sniffing with my 'AllFolders'

Copy the text between the lines below into notepad & save as a .reg file.
Watch out for line wrap -- [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\...\Shell] is all one line,
there is a space between 'Local' and 'Settings'.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Merging the .reg file will set the 'All Items' template for any folders that
don't currently have a view saved with a different template. You can clear
all saved views by deleting the

"HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags"

key BEFORE merging the .reg file. If any folders open with a different
template after clearing the 'Bags' key & merging the .reg file, they most
likely have a template specified via their desktop.ini file.
Basically there is some mechanic which determines what kind of folder a directory is considered to be. If it is a folder for a kind of media, it will go through and read in all the files in that folder extracting information you do not know or care about so that it can be ready in the event you do. If you have the Windows Search indexing enabled, it might not do this every time explorer views the directory. But let's face it, search functionality in Windows never seemed to find what I want and in my experience with Vista it still doesn't. Enabling something which does nothing worthwhile is a choice I choose not to make.

When I select some directories I still see the wrong view, but it is much less often.

I only hope I can find fixes for all the other aspects of explorer which obstruct usability.

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