Weird MS Windows behaviour

This is the latest of weird little things Windows does to mess with my head, and I just want to briefly ask about it before I forget like I usually do.

I remember a long time ago - possibly as far back as win95, but probably win98 - if I would right-click inside of folder, go to Arrange Icons by–>Modified (back then I think it said “Date”), it would put the last file I used first.

Later on, it started putting the last file that was created first.

Now I know for sure that it’s been somewhere on the order of 2+ years since I’ve seen it put the last file used first and then all of the sudden, out of nowhere, it started doing it again yesterday!

Things like this seem to happen all the time in Windows without any apparent rhyme or reason. Does anyone have similar experiences or know what causes this stuff?
*Another thing I thought of on preview is that for about 9 months if I clicked on a media file to open Windows Media Player I wouldn’t be able to make it full screen. I would have to click on the WMP icon itself and then open the file by going to File–>Open. Then one day - again following no rhyme or reason - it started working again.

FWIW I rarely get software updates or run patches, and these little quirks never coincide with the times that I do that stuff.

Yeah, you clicked on the word “Modified” click on it again to reverse the order. Dunno about the Media Player one.

Yeah, you clicked on the word “Modified” click on it again to reverse the order. Dunno about the Media Player one.

No…no, that’s not what happened at all.

Well, does clicking Modified (at the top of the screen, I mean, not on the menu) put it back to the way it was?

To expand on what dylan_73 is saying: In Windows 2000 (not sure about all other versions) the “sort by” has two different parameters: the sort field (name, modification date, etc.) and the sort direction (up or down). If you open an Explorer view of the folder and click on one of the headings (Name, Type, Modified, etc.) it will sort on this field. Click again on the same field to reverse the sort direction.

When you right-click to select the sort field, Windows changes the sort field but not the sort direction. So if you were previously sorting last-to-first by name, and then choose to sort by date, the sort order will be newest-to-oldest, but if you were previously sorting the names first-to-last, then the sort order will be oldest-to-newest.

Or Windows could just be messed up.

I’m sorry, I must have failed on every level in my OP, because you guys don’t seem to understand the behavior I’m trying to explain.

I’ll put it as simply as possible:

Previously: Arrange by—>date = Last file used

Later: Arrange by—>date = last file created

Now: Arrange by—>date = Last file used (again)

What version of Windows are you actually using? It is unclear.

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. How about this: It sounds like your Explorer view is showing the file creation date but not the modification date (and you can only sort on visible fields). Try right-clicking on the header bar; if you get a list of possible fields, make sure that “Date Modified” (or whatever it’s called in your version of Windows) is checked. Then you should be able to sort by that field.

Or I misunderstood again.


It sounds like you mean

RIGHT-CLICK -> Arrange -> by Date
(I probably wouldn’t have noticed, if XP calls it “Arrange” or “Arrange icons” like the other Windows OSs. even if I used it regularly)
You can do much the same by navigating the menu bar options in Windows Explorer.

In either case, the choice of what field to sort by can be chosen in the Settings section. There may be a more proximal (i.e. accessible directly from the Explorer window by right-click->Properties or key sequence, but I must do it without consciously thinking about it.) It may be worth your while to use this information to experiment or Google the answer, if this bothers you

Other details follow

What everyone else is saying (clarified, because it’s good stuff):

There are two separate fields that display a date and time “Last Modified” and “Created on”. Most people don’t notice the difference, and indeed, the default display may not even show “Created on”, because “Last Modified” is usually more useful for most users.

There are several ways a casual user might confuse the two fields if they aren’t paying careful attention, or aren’t aware of the distinction (both are Date fields, after all). The way you phrased your query makes me very strongly suspect you fall in this category.

It is possible to accidentally change the order of the fields on the screen, or expand the display width of a field enough to push one of these fields off the screen, leaving one one visible. This just requires a drag, and we’ve all dragged something we didn’t mean to, especially if distracted while clicking. Done intentionally, this is a very helpful feature, done by accident it can be mystifying – and it will persist through reboots until someone changes it back.

Sorry, I did misunderstand. Other than that, what KP said…