Lets Dialog
July 7, 2006 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Windows dialog box question - can I customize the way File Open, File Save, etc. dialogs are organized when they open?

In recent and current versions of Windows, the File oriented dialog boxes, File Open, File Save, File Save As, etc, are really mini-implementations of Explorer such that you can dynamically modify the mode of display (list, name, icon, etc.), the sort order, and even operate directly upon files displayed therein apart from the nominal operation in progress.

I'm wondering if its possible to persistantly customize the way these dialogs display themselves when they open initially.

For instance, one of my preferred ways of viewing this information is in detail form, sorted in reverse chronological order. Generally I need to manipulate each instance of these dialogs directly each time I perform one of these operations to get things the way I want them.

Is there some registry setting or combination of settings one can add or modify that will ensure the same preferred arrangement every time?
posted by hwestiii to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
The shareware utility Dialog Box Assistant can do this for you (if I understand what you're asking). You can evaluate it for 15 days and, after that, it's $19 to register.

I've registered my copy and I've been very pleased with it. (And, no, I have relation to the company.)
posted by Handcoding at 1:54 PM on July 7, 2006

While not related to the display style, I found the ability to customize the dialog shortcuts to be highly useful. Here's a quick guide for doing this with TweakUI.
posted by prostyle at 1:58 PM on July 7, 2006

Regarding "Dialog Box Assistant", I think this from their copy speaks to what I'm looking for:

The other important features are ability to "remember" the file dialog size and style of the file list.

More the style part than the size.

The fact that a tool like this even exists makes me think what I'm looking for may not be possible through registry tweaks alone. I'm guessing their tool hooks into a window loop somewhere looking for dialog activations and dynamically modifies the parameters used to generate them. Or something like that.
posted by hwestiii at 3:28 PM on July 7, 2006

Have you thought about something like Directory Opus? It's a bit spendy, but man is it feature packed! I've justed started my 60 day free demo and I can already tell it's a definite keeper.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 5:58 PM on July 7, 2006

There's not likely going to be much registry hacking you can do to tweak them. This is because the standard Windows dialog boxes like file-open and file-save are contained in one of the many DLL files in your Windows/system32 directory (or someone around there). Probably comdlg32.dll. So my guess is that you're looking for a program that replaces this DLL with one that permits the customization you're looking for.
posted by drmarcj at 8:01 PM on July 7, 2006

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