Customize File Explorer Search Default Columns

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  1. CraigHB's Avatar
    Posts : 74
    Windows LTSC 2019
       #1

    Customize File Explorer Search Default Columns


    Long time lurker, first post in this forum. First Let me say hello and thanks to Brink and other contributors for all the great tips and tricks, I've used a ton of them since sevenforums.com and now tenforums.com.

    Last year I moved from win7 to win 10 with a new laptop and I'm hoping I can change some behavior in File Explorer I don't like. I've done a lot of Googling and haven't found much.

    I might be one of the few who regularly use the file search function in File Explorer. It's actually pretty powerful once you get to know the syntax. With win7 once you set up a set of columns for the search returns it was persistent, would always be the same. For win10 it resets to the default view for every new folder you search which is quite annoying for me since I don't like default column set.

    Does anyone know of a way to change the Search template or some other trick so Explorer Search always comes up with my column preference? I did find a reg tweak to make Search use the details view every time which helps, but that's all I've been able to find.
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  2. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 8,742
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H1 Build 19043.1110
       #2

    Craig,

    I have not seen any solution to this annoyance. I keep my eye out for relevant threads in the hope that something is discovered but have found nothing so far.

    Changing the columns that appear in search results does not alter any Registry values and the actual repository for these settings remains unknown.

    Denis
      My Computer

  3. Edwin's Avatar
    Posts : 17,815
    Windows 10
       #3

    Try3 said:
    Craig,

    I have not seen any solution to this annoyance. I keep my eye out for relevant threads in the hope that something is discovered but have found nothing so far.

    Changing the columns that appear in search results does not alter any Registry values and the actual repository for these settings remains unknown.

    Denis
    Disabling 'Automatic Folder Type Discovery' works for me...

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags]
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell]
    "FolderType"="NotSpecified"
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  4. KeithM's Avatar
    Posts : 847
    Microsoft Windows 10 Home
       #4

    I can help you with this, Sir. Kindly read through this thread so I don't have to repeat background information:

    Replace 'Date' with 'Date Modified'

    In your case, we want to modify the 'ColumnList' Property of the 'TopView' subkeys the various 'SearchResults' FolderTypes':

    Code:
    PS C:\...\keith>$key = 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes'
    
    PS C:\...\keith>gci $key | ?{(gp $_.PSPath).CanonicalName -match 'SearchResults'} | select PSChildName, @{N='Canonical Name';E={(gp $_.PSPath).CanonicalName}}
    
    PSChildName                            Canonical Name
    -----------                            --------------
    {20338b7b-531c-4aad-8011-f5b3db2123ec} Contacts.SearchResults
    {36011842-dccc-40fe-aa3d-6177ea401788} Documents.SearchResults
    {3D1D4EA2-1D8C-418a-BFF8-F18370157B55} OtherUsers.SearchResults
    {4dcafe13-e6a7-4c28-be02-ca8c2126280d} Pictures.SearchResults
    {503a4e73-1734-441a-8eab-01b3f3861156} Communications.SearchResults
    {59BD6DD1-5CEC-4d7e-9AD2-ECC64154418D} UsersLibraries.SearchResults
    {71689ac1-cc88-45d0-8a22-2943c3e7dfb3} Music.SearchResults
    {7fde1a1e-8b31-49a5-93b8-6be14cfa4943} Generic.SearchResults
    {921C636D-9FC8-40d7-899E-0845DCD03010} PublishedItems.SearchResults
    {e053a11a-dced-4515-8c4e-d51ba917517b} UserFiles.SearchResults
    {ea25fbd7-3bf7-409e-b97f-3352240903f4} Videos.SearchResults
    Note that the above is just to give a reference to the relevant values. You should create the keys under HKCU per my referenced post.

    I have to get to bed. Hopefully, this is enough to let you know it can be done and, depending on your expertise and curiosity, something to explore. We can modify the script attached to my other post as necessary. Think about what columns you want in the varous types of Search Results and if you want to specify column widths.

    Keith
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  5. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 8,742
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H1 Build 19043.1110
       #5

    Edwin said:
    Disabling 'Automatic Folder Type Discovery' works for me...

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags]
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell]
    "FolderType"="NotSpecified"
    @Edwin,

    You are saying that that setting changes search results columns?

    Denis
      My Computer

  6. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 8,742
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H1 Build 19043.1110
       #6

    Keith,

    I hope you are right because such a solution would save a lot of time & effort.

    You should create the keys under HKCU per my referenced post
    Do you mean post #17? There is so much in that thread that I am not at all sure what you are suggesting

    we want to modify the 'ColumnList' Property of the 'TopView' subkeys {36011842-dccc-40fe-aa3d-6177ea401788} Documents.SearchResults ...
    The HKLM subkey does not change when I manually alter the search results columns for a Documents-based search. The HKCU subkey does not exist either before or after such changes.

    Notes
    1 I also checked the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes
    2 I also used NirSoft's RegFromApp to check that no Registry keys were altered when search result columns were manually altered within File explorer

    Please could you post before & after screenshots of the keys & the File explorer search results views.

    Denis
    Last edited by Try3; 29 Jan 2019 at 04:56.
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  7. Edwin's Avatar
    Posts : 17,815
    Windows 10
       #7

    Try3 said:
    @Edwin,

    You are saying that that setting changes search results columns?

    Denis
    What it does is, it prevents Windows from defaulting to Tiles view every time.

    I just happen to choose Details View and set my own column widths and it remains consistent from there on out.

    Customize File Explorer Search Default Columns-000120.png
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  8. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 8,742
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H1 Build 19043.1110
       #8

    I'm sorry but that is not the question.
    - The question is about the columns displayed in search results after using File explorer search [not searches from the Start menu, not saved searches].
    - The OP has already done the Details view tweak.
    - What the OP has asked about is a method for avoiding having to re-choose which columns to display in search results every time a different folder is the subject of a search.

    Just by way of example -
    1 Every folder within my Cooking folders is set to Documents folder type
    2 I go to D:\Documents\Cooking\HauteCuisine and search for cabbage, the search results include Path which is a poor default choice given that the folder path leading to it cannot then be sorted by. I display Folder path instead and the results are more useful for me.
    3 I return to D:\Documents\Cooking\HauteCuisine and search for swede. The results use Folder path and this is what I want.
    4 I go to D:\Documents\Cooking\HauteCuisine\BubbleNSqueak and search for cabbage but I am back to square one. The search results include Path not Folder path.
    5 No manner of saving folder view settings affects the columns displayed in search results.
    6 When the next Windows 10 version is issued, every one of these customisations is reset so I have to start again from scratch. Sometimes this happens after a Cumulative update aswell. I can set my folder type views back to what I want with a simple reg script but I have found no equivalent script for altering search results column choices.

    Monitoring the changes made in step 2 [with NirSoft's RegFromApp] reveals that no Registry changes are made when search results columns are selected for display.

    Denis
      My Computer

  9. Edwin's Avatar
    Posts : 17,815
    Windows 10
       #9

    Try3 said:
    I'm sorry but that is not the question.
    - The question is about the columns displayed in search results after using File explorer search [not searches from the Start menu, not saved searches].
    - The OP has already done the Details view tweak.
    - What the OP has asked about is a method for avoiding having to re-choose which columns to display in search results every time a different folder is the subject of a search.

    Just by way of example -
    1 Every folder within my Cooking folders is set to Documents folder type
    2 I go to D:\Documents\Cooking\HauteCuisine and search for cabbage, the search results include Path which is a poor default choice given that the folder path leading to it cannot then be sorted by. I display Folder path instead and the results are more useful for me.
    3 I return to D:\Documents\Cooking\HauteCuisine and search for swede. The results use Folder path and this is what I want.
    4 I go to D:\Documents\Cooking\HauteCuisine\BubbleNSqueak and search for cabbage but I am back to square one. The search results include Path not Folder path.
    5 No manner of saving folder view settings affects the columns displayed in search results.
    6 When the next Windows 10 version is issued, every one of these customisations is reset so I have to start again from scratch. Sometimes this happens after a Cumulative update aswell. I can set my folder type views back to what I want with a simple reg script but I have found no equivalent script for altering search results column choices.

    Monitoring the changes made in step 2 [with NirSoft's RegFromApp] reveals that no Registry changes are made when search results columns are selected for display.

    Denis
    Hmmm...,
    Okay, does this work:

    Backup and Restore Folder View Settings in Windows 10 | Tutorials

    Works here, including Search Results and new Searches from any folder that was custom set and backed up!
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  10. KeithM's Avatar
    Posts : 847
    Microsoft Windows 10 Home
       #10

    The entries under FolderTypes won't change by themselves or when views are modified by the UI. They are the default templates used when there is no saved view. When Windows saves modified views for individual folders, the relevant registry entries are under:
    Code:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags
    and for searches, Windows does save view changes here, but only one per type (Music Search Results, Documents Search Results, etc.). But there is a limit to saved views, and Windows will delete 'older' views to make room for more. This results in the frequently seen problem of "Windows remembers view settings for a while but then reverts to defaults" problem. The changes I'm proposing modify the default view settings --- the ones that are used when there is no saved view; the ones that force 'Content' view on you.

    To create HKCU\....\FolderTypes, use the PowerShell code below.

    Code:
    $source = 'HKLM:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes'
    $dest   = 'HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes'
    
    reg delete ($dest.Replace(':','')) /f
    copy-item $source "$(split-path $dest)" -Recurse
    Just copy & paste the code into a PowerShell window & press <Enter>. Don't worry if the 'reg delete' portion throws an error --- the key may or may not exist dependineg upon whether or not you use Libraries.

    Got to get ready for work! Sorry I can't post more right now.

    Keith
      My Computer


 
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