Any way to force a folder view for certain folders?

Hi all.

I know how I can force all folders to a specific view, but I wonder if there is a way to force a specific network folder to always display in a certain view for all Win users accessing the said folder?

The folder in question is on a file server, accessible via mapped drive, contains a series of links to other networked files and each link has been customized with purpose made explanatory icons depicting each file's contents. The issue is that with Windows always plastering a shortcut arrow over the icons, in the smaller views like "Details" or "List", users can't really tell what the icon is, so I'd like to force the folder view to either "Large Icons" or "Extra Large Icons".

Since users are accessing the folder from multiple computers, I'd prefer to avoid any 3rd part software if at all possible, but all suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated.


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Much like you can assign an icon to a specific folder, this is displayed locally by the machine viewing the folder. This is because aesthetic folder settings such as the way they are displayed are handled within the local machine and not on the network share/mapped drive. If you had, for instance, a group policy, which could be distributed to all of the clients accessing the network share, this would work, but would ideally require an Active Directory set up with domain controller enforcing group policy for every machine that accesses the share. The bad news is that even then, your options would be limited.

If you run gpedit.msc on any system running Windows 7 or higher, you will find that the configuration option under User Settings -> Administrative Templates -> File Explorer (or on older versions Windows Explorer) will only allow you to remove the preview pane which usually appears on the right hand side of the screen, etc. The only way to always force every single machine to have the same folder view (and this will apply to every folder), would be to change to Classic Shell. This can be forced in group policy for the local machine or user. You have some options if you are willing to configure each computer manually. This would mean going into each system, or instructing each user to go into their folder options and change it for the network share or all the folders on their system.

If you are willing and able to apply a batch file that could run through a pushed group policy through Windows Server, or alternatively, publish a read-only copy of the .bat file for your users to run off of the network share, it appears someone has created at least a few scripts at "" here:

This is one of the better asked questions on here, as it exposes a serious limit in the configuration of the folder display in File Explorer. Again, it is really not anyone's fault but the developers. There is no way to "not do this locally" in an organized or easy way. Most of the solutions I have looked at involve editing registry keys on each system, which seem to me to be a bit ridiculous. You may just want to change the folder view on each system manually:

There is no easy way to do this if you are dealing with a lot of computers and users other than to force Classic Shell. This is why it is still there in some respects.

While we are on a domain, our branch is just one of many within the group. IT won't consider making changes to policy just for us. Neither will they grant me necessary permissions to edit the registry of each machine, despite I am the local person in charge of IT. To be honest I wasn't too hopeful going in, but I had some hope that there might be a solution. Your answer instantly killed that hope, but was very helpful and detailed. I thank you for it.

I was half expecting that there might be some file similar to a "thumbs.db" or whatever that upon opening the folder would allow the Win clients to display the folder in a manner set within the file. Not being a programmer or developer, I am sure this idea is much more difficult to implement than I can imagine, but from my point of view it does seem like it would be a drop in the ocean of the complete operating system and it would address a key gripe I think many users have had with Windows over the years: the inability to truly personalize folder views according to needs.

Oh well... Thanks for the reply. I truly appreciate it.

This website is not affiliated, owned, or endorsed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program.