I'm new to Windows 8.1 (from Win XP) and I've spent the last two weeks trawling through the forum picking up tips, so thank you to everyone for guiding me from total hysteria to (near) comfort!

I've created some folders on the desktop using right click >New>Folder and pasted a couple of program shortcuts into them. When closed each folder has a tiny footprint, but when left open the shortcuts are my “productivity powerhouse”. Three of my XP folders are for secure MSAccess databases, each folder containing tens of shortcuts with unique command switches.

In File Explorer I like the Details view and visible Navigation pane, but in the desktop folders I like icons and to hide the unnecessary Navigation pane to make best use of real estate. I can live without icons but I've learnt they stick if I right click>Properties>Customize and “Optimize this folder for: Videos”.

My problem is that I can't get the desktop folder attributes to behave independently of File Explorer. Hiding the Navigation pane in one also hides it in the others, and any manual sizing or position is inherited by the other.

Am I missing something obvious?

I've tried all sorts of approaches and my brain is so twisted I can't remember all of them, but the best solution (I've been able to find) is a taskbar toolbar. It's not what I'd call a fast and productive solution because toolbars don't stay open, but they are small and behave consistently.

Many thanks for any help.