Viewing Files & Folders in Windows 7

Dear Computer Lady,

Hi! Love your site.

My questions is about Windows Explorer – Windows 7.
I use folders and subfolders to keep track of tons of documents for work. When I sort a top level folder by name, it shows me not only all the documents in the folder I’m in, but also all the documents in any subfolders.

So if I were trying to sort the 50 documents in my folder, but it had subfolders in it, I would see hundreds of documents sorted by name.

I find this extremely frustrating!!

Do you know how to change this back to the way older versions of Windows sorted by name, and only show the contents of the folder you’re in??

thank you! Diane

Dear Diane,

It took me a moment to re-create the situation you were describing, but once I figured it out, I knew what you needed.

It looks like you are not sorting the contents of your top-level folder, instead, you are using the “Arrange” menu and arranging your files by name.

Here is how to get back to your preferred method of viewing your files and folders.

Go to your top-level folder, and click on “Arrange by” in the upper-right corner of the window, then select folder in the drop down list.

Now that you are looking at the traditional folder view, go to the top of the column where it says, “Name” and click once to sort your folders by name.

Click on “Name” a second time, and it will reverse the sort order.

This should be the view that you were looking for.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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