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How can I disable copying files via drag-and-drop in Windows Explorer in Windows 7?

Note that I don't want to disable drag-and-drop completely nor in the start menu, just disable copying (duplicating) files when users drag-and-drop.

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In a GUI OS, drag-and-drop is at the heart of the process. If you wish to move the files rather than copy, that is another matter but you cannot simply tell the system to not copy files unless you prevent doing so with file permissions. If it is an accessibility issue there are tools. What are you trying to accomplish in preventing files from being copied? – edwardbackstrom Jun 3 '13 at 3:25
About half my PC clients have 'copy of ...' files and I've seen as much as a full GB of duplicate files. – John Jun 3 '13 at 3:55
Just search for and delete "Copy of..." files. Script it out and run it regularly. ;) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 3 '13 at 4:00
That's funny, I thought the real problem was MOVE drag and drop, you know moving network folders accidentally and getting complaints about "disappeared folders". COPY happens when moving things from a drive to another, otherwise the default is MOVE. So why would your users drag things between drives? It doesn't sound like accidental misclicks. If users are trying to move things between various network shares, why not consider combining them into one large (virtual) drive? Etc. Perhaps there's some root cause factor here. – mtone Jun 3 '13 at 5:58
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows doesn't provide a built-in way to change the default action of drag and drop, but I found a tool called Drag'n'Drop Editor which will let you change the default action to "move".

This doesn't disable copying (you can still hold Ctrl to make a copy), but it should help prevent accidental copies.

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I work in a large company and we had the problem of accidental dragging of folders in a shared drive. Since there is no built-in functionality in windows to prevent it and I cannot use freeware or third party things, I created a script which runs in an administrative computer with access to the shared folder in question. The script opens an invisible MS Word session and creates a file in the shared folder with a name that places it at the very top if you list the files by name in Explorer. The script finishes but leaves the Word document open in that admin computer. If someone tries to drag the folder, they get an immediate error message telling them they cannot move it because that word document is open. They also cannot delete it. Windows moves the contents of a folder in alphabetical order, that's the importance of that word document having a name that places it at the top

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VERY clever of you! – RockPaperLizard May 15 '15 at 2:25
For reference, can you post the script? It would be very useful to the community to have it here. – bwDraco May 15 '15 at 18:52

What: Prevent accidental drag-drop when you are trying to open a folder with a double click.

Why: You double-click to open a folder, but Mouse moves between the two clicks, Explorer assumes you are dragging a folder.

Solution: Save next 6 lines in a file named: prevent-accidental-drag-drop-in-explorer.reg, click on it to install it; restart windows; and now you will need to drag mouse a lot more to initiate drag/drop.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
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Perform the following steps :

  1. RIGHT click on start button
  2. select Properties
  3. in "Taskbar and start menu properies" select the "Start Menu" Tab
  4. Select "Customize" (doesnt matter if you are using the classic or general style)
  5. Click on advance and scroll to search "Enable Drag and drop"
  6. Uncheck it
  7. Click Apply.

This should do the trick.

share|improve this answer
although this does prevent files from being "copied" to the start menu, it does not answer the OP's apparent question of preventing files being copied via Explorer. – edwardbackstrom Jun 3 '13 at 3:48

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protected by Community Dec 7 '15 at 7:26

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