Best answer as chosen by user Hikermann: Don't blame Microsoft ...
as it is a setting like many others that Microsoft Programmers left up to you to change for your own preferences. The defaults they went with were a result of after action reports by persons testing the XP GUI long before Windows XP went gold.
YOU need to make use of the Folder Options right there in Windows Explorer.
To make all folder views the same
1. Open a folder and select a folder view that YOU prefer (List apparently)
2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
3. On the View tab, click Apply to All Folders.
Here is a handy, dandy link to Windows XP Documentation -