Cannot select more than one file or folder in Windows

Often, while working with Windows File Explorer, you would have felt the need to select multiple files or folders at the same time. There are several ways to select multiple files or folders.

For example, you can open the folder that contains the files or folders you want to select and then select the files or folders using any one of these methods:

  1. To select a consecutive group of files or folders, click the first item, hold down the SHIFT key, and then click the last item.
  2. To select a consecutive group of files or folders without using the keyboard, drag the mouse pointer to create a selection around the outside of all the items you want to include.
  3. To select non-consecutive files or folders, hold down CTRL, and then click each item you want to select or use the check-boxes.
  4. To select all of the files or folders, on the toolbar, click Organize, and then click Select All.

Cannot select more than one file or folder

If, for some reason, in Windows File Explorer, you are unable to select multiple files or folders, either after using the Select All option from Organize Tab or Ctrl+A keyboard combo, then you may try this:

1] Open Folder Options, click on the Reset Folders button, restart your computer and see if it has helped.

Cannot select more than one file

2] If it does not help, create a system restore point first and then open Regedit. To do so, press Win+R in combination and in the ‘Run’ dialog box that appears on your computer screen, type ‘regedit’ and hit ‘OK’.

regedit

Next, navigate to the following key:

HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\

Now delete the Bags & BagMRU keys.

Regedit modify

Restart your explorer.exe or computer and see if it has helped.

3] You can also try the Windows File and Folder Troubleshooter. Apart from fixing other explorer problems, it fixes the following too:

You cannot use keyboard shortcuts to select more than one item in Windows Explorer, or you cannot select multiple items in a Windows Explorer window by holding the SHIFT key or the CTRL key while you click the items.

Should work on Windows 10/8/7/Vista.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

8 Comments

  1. Mido Siriano

    THANK U

  2. vasudevG

    Another way to Select consecutive or non-consecutive filers in Explorer : Open Windows Explorer >Click on ‘View’ tab > Check ‘Item Check boxes’ , this will show Check boxes against files to make the selection easier w/o using keyboard, just use mouse to select consecutive or non-consecutive check boxes.

  3. Mentioned in Point – 3 above. 😉

  4. vasudevG

    OhK…missed that link

  5. Bryan

    Another site that also described how to delete the BagMRU and Bags registry keys to restore multiselect happened to mention that the multiselect feature is disabled after you organize files in a custom order. So I tried using the built-in column sorting feature, to clear any custom sorting I might have done. In Explorer, using Details View, I clicked the Filename header to sort the files by file names. That fixed it! I was able to multiselect. No registry editing was needed.

  6. Jay

    Anytime I click on just one item, all other files open. How can I disable

  7. John Mullins

    thank you sir! this worked for me

  8. Anthony Thompson

    When I use my Shift key and arrows to highlight contiguous photos, it will only highlight one at a time. This has never happened to me before. It’s a new Windows 10 PC, but I’ve used the typical method successfully on this computer until now.

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