How To Change Views in Windows

Who Should Read This Page: Users of Windows Operating Systems

Whenever you open a system window in Microsoft Operating Systems, you will see the folders and files in a particular view.  You may want or need to change that view because one view may be easier to deal with than another.  This How To page will explain the various views and give the reasons you might prefer one view over the other.

Let's start by opening a (My) Computer window:

View Menus

Let's click on the drop-down menu first:

View Menu

You will notice that we are currently looking at medium icons and that the icons are automatically arranged.

Next, let's look at the VIEWS icon by clicking on the small arrow:

Views Icon

Notice that on the icon menu, there are far fewer items from which to choose.  Instead, just the essential views are listed instead of how to arrange the items, etc.

Please note that in Windows XP, the views listed vary in certain windows.  For instance, in My Pictures, you may see a view called Slide Show.  In Windows Vista, the slide show option is separate from the other views.

Let's take a look at how the different views affect what we see on the screen.  Here is the Extra Large Icons view of the window above:

extra large icons

On the other hand, here is the Details View:

details view

You might choose a view based on your needs at the time you open up a window.  What are some of the reasons you might want a different view?  Let's say you wanted to find a file you just saved to your computer today but you forget what you named it.  As long as you know where you saved it, you can go to that folder (let's say "Documents") and change the view to Details.  Then, you can click on the date column and put the files in date order.  Presto!  You'll be able to immediately see which file or files were added today.

Try opening a window yourself and check out the various views.  Think of a time when you might prefer one view over another.

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