If you want to set folders settings permanently like ‘View’ to display ‘Details’ then you will have to expect it to apply to all folders of that type. The secret of success is to realize that it’s a two stage process.  Firstly we will select the columns that we want, such as ‘Date modified,’ secondly we will ‘Apply to Folders’.  Here are my step-by-step instructions.

  1. 1- Open Windows Vista Explorer
  2. 2- Press Alt key then menu will be display the File Edit View Tools.
  3. Tools  - Folder Options

  4. 3- Just so that you get the correct Title bar, from the Views menu, select List (or Details).
  5. 4- At this point our mission is to display the appropriate columns.  Success hinges on precisely where you right-click. 
    i) Try right-clicking just to the right of the word ‘Name’. 
        See screenshot to the right.
    ii) Click so that a tick appears next to the column you want

    Apply to  folders - Options

  6. 5- As a variation on this method, you can display an extra column, for example Authors.  To achieve this:
    i) Right-click in on the Menu bar which begins Name, Date Modified
    ii) Select More…
    iii) Add and extra column such as ‘Authors’.

    We have now achieved the first goal, to set the Explorer columns to our liking; the next goal is to make sure that this View applies to all folders of the same type.

  7. 6- From the Tools menu, click Folder Options.

    Windows Vista -  Apply to Folders

  8. 7- For once, let us be conscientious and read the menus extra carefully.  What it says is that when you click ‘Apply to Folders, it applies the view to all folders OF THIS TYPE.  Not understanding the phrase ‘of this type’ is what causes confusion.  For example, when you Apply to Folders of the Document type, then browse the Contacts folder, it is frustrating when none of your new settings are there.  The reason is because Contacts is a different TYPE of folder from Documents.  One solution is to visit each type of folder and click on Apply to Folders in each type of folder.
  9. 8- Now go to a different folder of the same type, observe the layout, do the files display in the List (or Details) format that you selected in point 4?