Maintain consistent folder views

How to do it, and why you need to.

One of the less well-documented quirks of Windows 2000 Professional (and Server) is its short memory span for the way individual folders are configured.

When a folder is set to use a specific view (with or without certain columns, or in thumbnail mode vs. simple list mode, etc.), the settings for that folder are stored in the Registry in a circular list. This means that after a certain number of folders have their settings changed, the oldest folder is dropped from the list and loses its settings. If your desktop users are dealing with a great many separate folders (including network shares, which are also tracked in this fashion), they may grow frustrated when they find that their folder settings are not persistent after a time.

(Note: Because of this, a shared folder accessed from two different machines will show up differently, since the view settings for a shared folder are stored on the client viewing the folder, not on the server hosting it.)

The size of the circular list that holds the folder settings is limited to approximately 400 folders. Fortunately this limit is not hard-coded; it can be changed with a Registry setting. On the machine(s) in question, open the Registry and look in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell. Add a new REG_DWORD value named BagMRU Size; set it to the number of folders worth of data to preserve. This value can be as high as you need, but 5,000 should be more than enough for most people. Reboot to make this change take effect.

Because this setting is a per-user setting, it should be applied to each user on each system as needed.


Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!


This was first published in September 2003

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