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How to Disable Auto-Refresh (or Auto Arrange) in Windows Explorer

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Written by Vivek Tiwari

Most software companies update their software regularly. This is done in order to keep it secure and add new features that they think the users will love. But there are times when the new “features” actually end up annoying people to the core. Sometimes companies take notice and do something about it, sometimes they just don’t. Something similar happened with a feature in Windows Explorer called auto-arrange or auto-refresh. Until Windows XP, it wasn’t there but it was introduced in Windows Vista which isn’t surprising. Windows Vista annoyed a lot of people and it paid the price. Unfortunately, the auto-arrange feature stayed along when Windows 7 came along, and it still is present in Windows 10. Many users have been looking all over for a way to disable auto-refresh in Windows Explorer.

What it essentially does is it re-arranges the files and folders in the Explorer windows as soon as a change is made. Say, the sort method is set to sort by name and you rename a file xyz.txt to abc.html. Windows Explorer automatically moves the file from the bottom to the top. This is a nice feature actually but the way it’s implemented, it happens as soon as you hit Enter which is kind of a jarring experience. It’d have been better if the re-arranging happened if the user manually refreshes the Window. And it seems after all these years Microsoft is yet to notice this problem let alone address it. Which is why there isn’t a way to turn off auto-arrange in Windows Explorer, at least officially.

Change the sort method

There are certain workarounds though. If you are fine switching the default sorting method to sort by date then you have an easy workaround. Right-click on an empty space in the Explorer window and select Sort by > date. When files are sorted by date, any changes you make stick to the bottom, usually. This may still not work sometimes but it does most of the time.

How To Disable Auto-Refresh (or Auto Arrange) In Windows Explorer

Registry edit

  1. Open Registry Editor. On Windows 10, you can simply hit the Windows key, type regedit and hit Enter. On previous Windows version, you may have to open the Run dialog first. You can do this by pressing Windows + R on the keyboard. Type regedit and hit Enter. Navigate to the following registry key using the side navigation menu or simply copy and paste it in the address bar at the top.
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell How To Disable Auto-Refresh (or Auto Arrange) In Windows Explorer
  2. Right-click on the Shell key and select New > Key and name it {5C4F28B5-F869-4E84-8E60-F11DB97C5CC7}.
  3. On the right side, right-click the empty space and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it FFLAGSHow To Disable Auto-Refresh (or Auto Arrange) In Windows Explorer
  4. Right-click on the newly created FFLAGS Value and select Modify…
  5. The default value is 0, change it to 43000001 with a Hexadecimal base and click OK.
  6. Similarly, create another Value named Mode with a value of 00000004 and a Hexadecimal base.
  7. This creates a template for folders of type General items. If you remember there are four other folder types. DocumentsMusicPictures, and VideosHow To Disable Auto-Refresh (or Auto Arrange) In Windows Explorer
  8. You’ll  have to create a template for each of these folder types just as before, with the same two values FFLAGS and Mode. The key values for each of them are given below.
    • Documents: {7D49D726-3C21-4F05-99AA-FDC2C9474656}
    • Music: {94D6DDCC-4A68-4175-A374-BD584A510B78}
    • Pictures: {B3690E58-E961-423B-B687-386EBFD83239}
    • Videos: {5FA96407-7E77-483C-AC93-691D05850DE8}

Delete AllFolders

  1. Once you’re done with that, navigate to the following registry branch.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\
  2. Scroll down the side view all the way through the numbered entries until you find AllFolders. Right-click on it and select Export. Give it a name and hit Enter to Save the registry into a file you can later restore from.How To Disable Auto-Refresh (or Auto Arrange) In Windows Explorer
  3. Now right-click on AllFolders and Delete it. Double-click on the .reg file you exported AllFolders to earlier. This will restore the menu branch AllFolders.

Your work is mostly done. It’s a lot to do but currently, this is the only way to stop Windows Explorer from automatically re-arranging items. Note that this registry hack only works for View > Tiles, Details, Small Icons, Medium Icons, Large Icons and Extra Large Icons – not in the view Content and List.

You can find more details about the hack from the source link below.

Source: unawave