Windows 7 Explorer List View, Sorted by Type, Default Keyboard Behavior
May 17, 2013 1:41 PM   Subscribe

I usually navigate my Windows 7 Explorer windows via keyboard. I type the name of a directory, then hit enter to open it. But when the new directory comes up, typing finds the first filename alphabetically, which would be fine if I had my directories sorted by file name, but I do not - they're sorted by file type instead. Once a file is selected after typing the first letter, Windows's selection continues looking in the display order (first by type then alphabetically) but does not wrap to the beginning of the directory, so if I was trying to select a folder and ended up with a file, then I either have to click in the window or wait a few seconds and hit Home to get to the start of the window. How do I change this so it will initially give preference to file type and not just file names?

An example. Let's say I have a directory, C:\test1\ with the following in it, sorted by file type:

Garbage1 [directory]
Junk1[directory]

Thing1.exe

Jalopy1.txt
Junk2.txt
Garbage2.txt
Thing2.txt

Garbage3.zip
Jalopy2.txt
Junk3.zip

If I have a window with C:\ open, and I arrow over to test1 and hit enter, it brings up the above in that order. According to this document Windows's focus will be on Garbage1, and indeed if I press space bar, it will select the Garbage1 directory. However, if instead I type "j" Windows will select Jalopy1.txt, *not* the Junk1 directory. If I then press J again, it'll select Junk2.txt, then Jalopy2.txt, then Junk3.zip. After that it'll refuse to locate anything, and will just beep at me. If I wanted Junk1, I'm out of luck and have to either wait a few seconds for Windows to forget that I was typing anything in the first place then hit home, or I have to click elsewhere in the window to again force Windows to forget that I was typing.

This behavior is extraordinarily annoying. Does anyone have a fix, aside from hitting the space bar every time I open a new directory?
posted by Lakmir to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I just tried this on mine, and it seems to work the way you want it to. I have the explorer window open, I click the C: drive in the left, use the arrows to navigate to the directory I want. I hit enter to open the directory on the right, and then tab to move focus to that window. Then I can select whatever I want by typing a letter, and it does choose the directories first. It also recycles back to the top if I go to the bottom.

One thing that may be different is that I have the checkbox option turned on.
posted by gjc at 2:01 PM on May 17, 2013


I should probably mention that I don't have the "Navigation" pane open; I prefer just a flat view of whatever's in the directory without the extra cruft of drives, document folders, network places, etc that I barely ever use. As such I don't have to tab anywhere, and all my work gets done in the main file list. For further details, once I've opened a directory during my current session and selected a file in it, Windows remembers that I've opened that directory, remembers where the focus was, and will select the next item under the old focus when I start typing.
posted by Lakmir at 2:06 PM on May 17, 2013


I had the same results as gjc (no checkboxes here), and it worked regardless of how I sorted, grouped, or viewed.

To use your example, if I hit 'j', Junk1 is selected. I can keep hitting 'j' to keep selecting the next J item (Jalopy1.txt, Junk2.txt, etc), and after Junk3.zip, it takes me back to Junk1 at the top.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:14 PM on May 17, 2013


Also, hitting the spacebar didn't seem to change anything either way. I wouldn't normally use it, but when I did, everything still worked the same.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:17 PM on May 17, 2013


I turned off the navigation pane, and had the same results. The spacebar did nothing, but hitting return opened a folder, and typing a letter moved to the first thing, even when grouped by file type.

I think you've got an option set funny somewhere...?
posted by gjc at 6:36 PM on May 17, 2013


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