How to enable or disable Drag and Drop in Windows 10

Many people ask. How do I disable drag and drop? The reason they want to disable drag and drop in Windows 10/8/7 is that either they or somebody else, inadvertently dragged and dropped the files from one folder to another. If you realize or know that this has happened, you may be able to reverse it. But it may happen that you or someone else may do it accidentally, without being even aware of it. In such a case, you might end up spending time searching, where the files may have ‘disappeared’!

Enable or disable Drag & Drop in Windows 10

Sometimes a drag-and-drop operation may result in a Copy and sometimes a Move, but that’s a different story, and you can read more here about Drag and Drop in Windows.

If it is the accidental drag-and-drops that you want to avoid, then you will have to change the drag sensitivity or threshold. This means that you will have to move the file or folder, to a longer distance, to execute this operation.

In Windows 10/8, by default, if you move an item by 4 pixels, and leave it, it will result in a drag and drop operation. So what you need to do is increase this distance to say 50 or 100 pixels, so that your operating system interprets it as a drag operation, only if it is moved by say, 50 or 100 pixels.

Change Drag and Drop sensitivity using Registry

To adjust the drag sensitivity or threshold, you will have to modify the Registry. To do so, first, create a system restore point or back up the registry. Then open the Registry Editor.

Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Now, in the right pane, double-click on DragWidth and change its value from 4 to, say, 50. You can decide this value depending on your requirements and experience. Do the same for DragHeight. If you change it to 100, you will have to drag the items over a still long distance.

Enable, Disable drag and drop in Windows

Exit Windows Registry and restart the computer to see the results.

Now for Windows to recognize that a drag and drop action has been initiated, the mouse will have to move the items by a significantly longer distance. You will thus have disabled accidental drag and drop in Windows.

If you do not want to disable drag and drop, then you can also add a confirmation box or change Drag and Drop sensitivity using freeware.

If you find that your drag-and-drop function is not working in Windows 10/8/7, this post of ours titled Drag and Drop not working in Windows may help you.

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.

11 Comments

  1. lucato

    Hi Anand, any idea if it is possible to change that to get to D&D you need double click and hold instead of just one click and hold? A lot of times by using my tablet on W764b I move/D&D folders by mistake and I´d like to set that I must double click and hold to get to drag&drop.
    Thanks in advance and have a nice day.

  2. Hi, I don’t think that would be possible.

  3. Lucato

    Thanks for your attention.
    Have a great day.

  4. Paul Parks

    Hi, Anand, I wrote a couple of utilities to adjust these settings using the appropriate Windows APIs, so that it’s not necessary to hack around in the registry.

    There is a command-line version:
    http://www.parkscomputing.com/2014/03/dragsens-version-1-4/

    and also a graphical UI version:
    http://www.parkscomputing.com/2013/12/windows-version-of-dragsens/

    Either one will let you adjust the number of pixels that something must be moved with the mouse before Windows begins a drag operation.

  5. juno

    Hi Annand, do you know if it’s possible to enable a confirmation prompt when user drag & drop a file or folder, just like when a delete operation is executed? If not, is there a trigger that I can watch out for when a file or folder is moved? I’m thinking of writing a simple script to intercept the operation when it triggers but I do not know where to look for the trigger.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  6. I created an open source drag and drop confirmation dialog when moving would be the default, however I have only tested it in Windows 7. If anyone would like to test it in other Windows versions, please provide feedback for me. http://broken-e.com/dragdropinterceptor/

  7. jeff4justice

    I am having trouble with files not moving when I drag and drop them into a location from the desktop to a folder elsewhere. Any idea how to problem solve this?

  8. Justin Hay

    Whao! Guys .. jumping straight into the Reg here with a clear PICNIC issue – steady on now chaps! 🙂 In all seriousness there do seem to be a lot of people having DnD “issues” and so maybe its time you MS guys and dolls had a GUI for this (?) as an Accessibility feature with a little “Test” area so that the User can tailor it t their own needs.

  9. Barclay Berger

    I did this then users were complaining they couldn’t move windows between monitors and couldn’t select text in documents.

  10. Javier Martinez

    A couple of questions:- Is the XY distance computed on click-release or as the max value between click and release? If it’s the former then increasing the value would limit the ability to move to an adjacent folder; if it’s the latter then one could wiggle the mouse around before releasing.

    – Does this setting affect shift + drag to move? I much prefer to disable drag & drop and use the explicit [shift|ctrl] + click-drag-release for moving|copying.

  11. Javier Martinez

    After trying this for a few weeks I had to revert back. To answer my own question the XY distance is the max between click down and up so it’s possible to drag-drop to adjacent folders by making a loop of at least the minimum required size.

    In practice the setting was too annoying for me. The behavior wasn’t limited to Windows Explorer, it affects other programs as well but it’s inconsistent. For example, Windows Explorer and Visual Studio are affected but Firefox and the command console (cmd) are not. It’s infuriating when trying to select a short text to have to drag the mouse extend at least a minimum amount for the selection to engage. I’m still looking for a solution to disable drag & drop and just that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


4 + 3 =