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I'm sure Apple has their reasons…

I don't understand that comment at all. If you're asking why Apple didn't choose to copy the Windows File Manager when they created the Finder, then the answer would be that the Finder pre-dates the Windows File Manager.

(I, for one, always found it odd that Windows insists on listing folders first, rather than showing them in alphabetical order with the files.)

If you could explain how you benefit by having folders listed first, then perhaps we can suggest an alternative method of achieving the same benefit using the Finder.
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