How To Keep Folder Show Top Always Before Files When Sort By Date In Windows 8


One of the new changes I noticed with my Windows 8.1’s Windows Explorer is that when I sort folders (directories) by modified date the files appears before the folders. This wasn’t the behavior it was back in Windows 7, the folders always appear on top of the files, at least it wasn’t what I was remembering. I poked around to see if there are new options in Windows 8.1 that might lead to this subtle change. Here is a solution I found to get around with this problem.

Use Date Instead of Date Modified Attribute For Directory Column Type


Notice when you view a directory in Windows 8.1 in a detailed view, you will get the option to sort the folder by “Date modified”. When you do use this attribute to sort the folders, all the files appear before the folders. If you’d like to keep the folders show before the files, don’t use “Date modified” attribute, but instead use “Date” attribute. Here is how.


Go to View tab > Sort by > Choose columns …


Scroll down to the list, find the “Date” type, select and click OK.


Now go to “Group by > Choose columns …”


Uncheck “Date modified”, check “Date”


Now go back to the Windows Explorer, click sort “Date” column. Notice, you now see all the folders appear before the files in a directory.

The catch is, if you do it this way as above, the change only appear to be applied to the directory you are in. There are other directories and folders out there still have the previous unchanged view properties. But hey, at least this is a workaround, let us know if you have a better way to resolve this issue.

/Update on May 31, 2017/

Thanks to the reader Shelku who shared an even better solution. You can click the Date Modified tab first then shift-click the Name tab to get the current list ordered in Date but still with the folders listed at the top.

Tips to order by date with folders at top - How To Keep Folder Show Top Always Before Files When Sort By Date In Windows 8



  1. I found this other solution:
    – Click on Date Modified (folders will be on bottom)
    – Then Shift + click on Name. It will fix the sort to put folders first

    Then you can click on the View > Options to bring up the Folder Options dialog. On the View tab, you can click ‘Apply to Folders’ to have your view apply everywhere.

  2. Another option: this problem only occured when I approach my folders via the drive (e.g., C: -> my documents). When I approach my folders via Libraries -> documents there is no problem with sorting on date and keeping folders on top.

  3. Thank you for this explanation! just going through these step allowed me to troubleshoot the problem in the “Group By” setting.

    You fixed a tremendously annoying problem.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here