Improve how you look at files in Windows Explorer with Grouping

The idea for this post comes from about 15 minutes I spent sitting next to a friend on his PC running Windows XP. I noticed that he, like a lot of other people I watch using Windows explorer, spends atleast a couple of seconds glancing up and down the file listing before finding the right file. After first 4-5 times, it starts to become downright frustrating. Sound familiar? Here’s how I overcame that problem a few years ago.

Here’s what a typical list of files looked in Windows Explorer for me as it probably looks for you too.
1The more files and folders I had in there, the harder it became for me to find what I was looking for. So i switched to using the “Details” view (Click: View >> Details) as shown below.
2
This made things a bit easier because I could click on the column title to sort on the filename, etc. If the file I was looking for was something I had recently downloaded or changed, I could simply add “Date Modified” and “Date Created” columns to my window,  sort of them and then to zero-in on the right file. Oh yes, if you’ve never done this before, simply right click on any column heading in the detail view and choose the fields as shown in the screenshot below.
3 The window would now look like the following screenshot
4 But the final solution came when I noticed the “Show in Groups” menu item under: View >> “Arrange Icons By”.
5Click it and viola! The “Show in Groups” option makes it visually a lot easier to view my files. Don’t you think so?
6Shown below is what my Downloads folder,  one of my most often accessed, looks like in this mode. Note how it shows groups like “Last Week”, “Two Months ago” and so on.
7With grouping turned on, try selecting another sort, say by “File Type". Here’s what the view changes into ;-) I was starting to *love* this.
8To set a particular type of view as your default for every time you open Windows File Explorer, first settle down on a sort you like (I use “Date Modified”). Make sure you have “Show in Groups” option turned on and then click through the following menu sequence:
Tools >> Folder Options >> Switch to the View Tab >> Click on the “Apply to All Folders” button >> Click the “Yes” button (shown in the screen shot below).
9That’s it! The next time you open a File Explorer window you should always have it in your favourite mode.

If you found this post useful or have a better idea, I'd like to know. Leave me a comment.