"All windows/This window only" view options settings
Since Path Finder 6.2, there is a slight change in the behaviour of view options for the icons and list view regarding All windows/This window only setting. The explanation of this behaviour is rather long, but it should be read in order to fully understand how it works and realise what was a motivation to implement it that way. It wasn't possible to fulfil all conflicting users' request and not to introduce many new option settings. Introducing many new settings would most probably confuse people even more. So, this is how it works from version 6.2. Some small modifications may happen in the future if REALLY required, but we think this pretty much covers most scenarios.
Let's first talk about View Options panel. If no view option was ever changed for a folder, the panel for it will open in All windows and view options will match those set for all folders (defaults). It any view option was ever changed for the folder, the panel will open in either All windows or This window only, depending on what was set for that folder the last time. Now, about changing view options in the View Options panel… It's pretty straightforward; if This window only is selected, all changes made in the panel will affect that folder ONLY. If All windows is selected, all changes made in the panel will affect ALL folders, but only if they are set as All windows. This worked pretty much the same before, so nothing really new.
The biggest changes affect behaviour if view options are changed from the main menu, or a the main browser window. These include:
• From the main menu: Show Invisible
Files, Show Package Contents,
Smart Sorting On, and any command from the
Sort by submenu.
• From the browser window in the icon view: icon size slider at the bottom of the window.
• From the browser window in the list view: clicking any column header to change ascending/descending sorting, sorting from the list header contextual menu, adding/removing columns from the list header contextual menu
Since those changes are performed on a particular folder (shown in the currently active browser window), we assume they should affect that folder only. So, if the folder is set as This window only, nothing really strange happens, view options for the folder are updated to reflect the changes. But, if the folder is set as All windows, it will be changed to This window only (view option panel is not required for this, but if it's open you can see this change happening), all current view options that were present in the window will be transferred to the folder specific view settings (this basically means that what was set for All windows will be copied into the This window only settings for this folder) and than updated with the latest performed change. From then on, the folder will be set as This window only, until it's explicitly changed in the view options panel.
With such behaviour we comply with the most frequent users' request: go to folder1, change something there from the window/main menu (for example, sort descended by size and show invisible files), go to folder2, change there something else (for example sort ascended by modification date), go back to folder1 and sorting by size and showing invisible files is preserved for it, go forth again to folder2 and sorting changes to modification date, etc… This is basically what we have in Finder, but we still have an additional option to set common options for all folders and set folders to use those (by explicitly going to the view options panel and choosing All windows).
There is one request that cannot be met easily without introducing more options; go to folder1 and change something in the window, e.g. sorting by size. The request is to use this sorting for ALL folders user will select during the whole session. This is just not possible, because all those folders to be selected can have completely different All windows/This window only settings. What can be done is force that particular option for every newly selected folder, but it would then change its particular setting. That contradicts with this other request I explained and described above. Of course, there could be another (third) option besides All windows/This window only, but that would just make things even more complicated and confusing.
It should be noted one more time that the implementation and behaviour you read above is a result of many discussions and considerations of different (and often conflicting) users' request. Therefore it's very unlikely to be changed, unless people point to a significant logical flaw it the logic.