Fix: How to Stop File Explorer sorting by Week and Month

The File Explorer of your system may show the sorting by week and month if the folder options (Group by or Customization option) are not configured properly. Moreover, the wrong configuration of the system’s registry may also cause the issue at hand.

The issue arises when a folder (e.g., the Downloads folder) of the user’s PC shows sorting by week and month; the issue is reported to mainly occur after a Windows update. Whenever a user changes the setting, upon relaunching the folder, the folder reverts to the older view.

File Explorer Sorting by Week and Month

Before moving on with the solutions to stop Explorer from soring, make sure to scan your system with an antimalware tool to rule out any malware infection of the system. Also, check if your system’s Windows is updated to the latest build.

Solution 1: Change the ‘Group by’ Option to None

To stop File Explorer (mainly the Downloads folder) from grouping its contents like Week and Month-wise, you may have to set the’ Group by’ option to none.

  1. Launch the File Explorer and navigate to the problematic (or one of the problematic folders) folder like Downloads.
  2. Now steer to the View tab and then click on Group by.
  3. Then, in the menu shown, select None (you can achieve the same by right-clicking in the blank area of the folder, then hoover over on the Group by and choose None) and check if the sorting issue is resolved.
    Group By to None in the View Menu of the Folder
  4. If the issue returns after a folder or system relaunch, then change the Group by to None (as discussed above) and click on Options which is present in the View menu of the folder.
  5. Now select ‘Change Folder and Search Options’ and steer to the View tab.
    Open Change Folder and Search Options in the View tab
  6. Then click on the Apply to Folders button and check if the sorting is working as per your requirement.
    Apply Your Change to All the Folders of the Same Category

If the issue occurs in a Save as dialog box (for example when saving a download in a browser) of an application, then right-click in the Save as dialog box and choose Group By>>None.

Solution 2: Change the Customize Options of the Folder

You may clear the glitch (causing the sorting issue) by changing the customize options of the problematic folder. For illustration, we will discuss the process for the Downloads folder.

  1. Launch the File Explorer and in the left pane, right-click on the Downloads folder.
    Open Properties of the Downloads Folder
  2. Now select Properties and then steer to the Customize tab.
  3. Then expand the option of ‘Optimize This Folder for’ and select another option that is already not selected (e.g., if it is already set to General Items, then set it to Pictures).
    Set the ‘Optimize This Folder for’ Option to Pictures
  4. Now click on the Apply/OK and check if the sorting is working as per your liking. If so, then change the Customization back to General Items and check if the sorting is as per your requirement.
  5. If the issue persists, make sure no folder is open on the system.
  6. Then press the Windows key and in the Windows Search, type File Explorer Options. Now select File Explorer Options.
    Open the File Explorer Options
  7. Now, click on the Clear button located in front of Clear File Explorer History (in the Privacy section) and then click on Apply/OK.
    Clear File Explorer History
  8. Then open a folder and change its View to Small Icons.
    Set View to Small Icons
  9. Now right-click in the empty area of the folder and select Sort By >> Name.
    Set Sort By to Name
  10. Then open the File Explorer Options (step 5) and steer to the View tab.
  11. Now double-click on any of the options (to tick/untick) to activate the Apply button.
  12. Then click on the Apply button and click on Apply to Folders (which should activate now).
    Apply File Explorer Options to All the Folders
  13. Now click on the OK button and reboot your PC.
  14. Upon reboot, check if the sorting is working fine.

Solution 3: Use the Registry Editor

You may fail to change the sorting (or permanently store the change) if the total saved views that your system can store is maxed out. In this case, editing the relevant registry entries may solve the problem. Before moving on, make sure to create a backup of your system’s registry.

Warning: Advance at your own risk as editing the system’s registry requires a certain level of proficiency and if not done properly, you may cause undying damage to your system/data.

Delete the Bags Key

  1. Make sure there is no folder opened on the system.
  2. Then hit the Windows key and in the search, type Regedit. Then right-click on Registry Editor and choose Run as Administrator.
    Open Registry Editor as Administrator
  3. Now navigate to the following path:
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\BagMRU
    Delete Sub-Keys of BagMRU
  4. Now, in the left pane, delete all the sub-keys of BagMRU and then navigate to the following path:
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags
    Delete the Sub-Keys of Bags
  5. Then, in the left pane, delete the sub-keys of Bags and reboot your PC.
  6. Upon reboot, check if the sorting is working fine (you may try solution 2).

Delete the Downloads Folder Keys

  1. Navigate to the following path:
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Streams
  2. Now, in the left pane, open Defaults and then, in the right pane, delete the following entry (if present):
    {885A186E-A440-4ADA-812B-DB871B942259}
    Delete the Downloads Folder Entry in the Registry Editor
  3. Now reboot your PC and upon reboot, check if the sorting is working fine.
  4. If not, then check if creating a registry file in the Notepad (having the extension of .reg) having the following contents and then double-click it to add it to the registry:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes\{885a186e-a440-4ada-812b-db871b942259}\TopViews\{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}]
    
    "ColumnList"="prop:0(34)System.ItemNameDisplay;0System.DateModified;0System.ItemTypeText;0System.Size;1System.DateCreated;1System.Author;1System.Category;1System.Keywords;1System.Title"
    
    "LogicalViewMode"=dword:00000001
    
    "Name"="NoName"
    
    "Order"=dword:00000000
    
    "SortByList"="prop:System.ItemNameDisplay"
  5. Now reboot your PC and check if the sorting problem is solved.

Delete Group View Keys

  1. Navigate to the following path:
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags
    Set GroupView Value to 0
  2. Now search (use the Edit menu and use Find to perform the search) for GroupView and set all the GroupView entries value to 0 which are already not set to 0 (a tedious task for some of the users). For example:
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\1\Shell\{885A186E-A440-4ADA-812B-DB871B942259}\GroupView=0
  3. Now reboot your PC and upon reboot, check if the system is clear of the sorting issue.

Rename SortByList Key

  1. Navigate to the following path:
    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderTypes\{885a186e-a440-4ada-812b-db871b942259}
  2. Then open TopViews and select the folder in it (named with lots of zeros).
  3. Now, in the right pane, change the SortByList to ‘prop:System.ItemNameDisplay‘ (you may have to take ownership of the key).
    Set the SortByList Value to prop:System.ItemNameDisplay

If the issue is still there, then you can try the different PowerShell commands to solve the issue at hand. Right-click on the Windows button and in the Quick Access menu, choose PowerShell (Admin).

Open Windows PowerShell Admin

Then you may try the following commands (one by one) and check if the sorting issue is resolved.

Use PowerShell to Delete the Bags and Saved Views Keys

  1. Execute the following command in the PowerShell window:
    'BagMRU', 'Bags' | %{ri "HKCU:\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\$_" }
    
    gps explorer | spps
  2. Now repeat solution 1 (but make sure to press the Apply to Folders button) and then execute the following in the PowerShell window:
    $Bags = 'HKCU:\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags'
    
    $DLID = '{885A186E-A440-4ADA-812B-DB871B942259}'
    
    gci $bags -recurse |
    
    ?{$_.GetSubkeyNames() -contains $DLID} |
    
    remove-item -Path { join-path $_.PSPath $DLID }
    
    gps explorer | spps
  3. Now reboot your PC and upon reboot, check if the sorting is working fine.
  4. If the issue is still there, then execute the following (but make sure to reboot the PC afterward):
    gci 'HKCU:\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags' -recurse |
    
    ?{$_.GetValueNames() -contains 'GroupView'} |
    
    ?{$_.GetValue('GroupView') -ne 0} | %{
    
    $splat = @{
    
    'Path' = $_.PSPath
    
    'Name'  = 'GroupView'
    
    'Value' = 0
    
    }
    
    Set-ItemProperty @splat
    
    $splat.Name  = 'GroupByKey:PID'
    
    $splat.Value = 0
    
    Set-ItemProperty @splat
    
    $splat.Name  = 'GroupByKey:FMTID'
    
    $splat.Value = '{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}'
    
    Set-ItemProperty @splat
    
    }
    
    gps explorer | spps

Use PowerShell to Delete Downloads Folder Key

If you are having the sorting issue with the Downloads folder, then you may try the following in the PowerShell (Admin) window:

$Bags = 'HKCU:\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags'

$DLID = '{885A186E-A440-4ADA-812B-DB871B942259}'

gci $bags -recurse |

   ?{$_.GetSubkeyNames() -contains $DLID} |

   remove-item -Path { join-path $_.PSPath $DLID }

Solution 4: Create a New User Profile

The File Explorer may show week and months sorting if the user profile is corrupt. In this context, creating a new user profile and using that account may let you sort the problematic folder as per your requirements.

  1. Create a new user profile on your system.
  2. Now log out of the current user account and log-in using the new account.
  3. Now launch the File Explorer and steer to the problematic folder (e.g., the Downloads folder).
  4. If the folder is using the week and month sorting, then repeat solution 2 (make sure to click on the Apply to Folders button) to remove the sorting to check if the sorting is working fine.

If the issue persists, then you may use a 3rd party utility (for example Desktop INI Fix) to manage the File Explorer sorting but make sure to create a system’s Restore Point.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: How to Stop File Explorer sorting by Week and Month

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