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In the Windows 10 File Explorer, the hyphen (and apostrophe?) characters are ignored for the purposes of sorting file or directory/folder names. For example:

enter image description here

Does anybody know how to disable this behavior?

It is affected by neither the registry setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\​CurrentVersion\​Policies\​Explorer\​NoStrCmpLogical nor the equivalent Group Policy setting "Turn off numerical sorting in Windows Explorer".

  • How do you want it to sort (using your example) if the hyphen is not ignored? – DavidPostill Aug 20 '17 at 11:15
  • @DavidPostill Simply like any other character, by its numerical value, which is 45 / 0x2D / \u002D etc. I can't fathom what's so hard about providing an option for the simplest possible case-insensitive ordinal sort, which is just by UTF-16 character value: For the example, this means: -, -A, A. As one would expect from any sort (and unlike the image above) all "first" characters are grouped together. – Glenn Slayden Aug 20 '17 at 18:53
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    As far as I know it's not possible. – DavidPostill Aug 20 '17 at 19:35
  • A correction, my previous comment should read "...simplest possible case-sensitive ordinal sort..." That is, where 'A' and 'a' are considered distinct. – Glenn Slayden Dec 1 '17 at 1:54
  • For what it's worth, note that you also have HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Currentversion\Policies\Explorer\NoStrCmpLogical. – harrymc Feb 27 '19 at 6:29
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+50

Ignoring the hyphen/dash is a "feature" that was added to Windows Explorer at the same time as numerical sorting. However, unlike numerical sorting, this is not controlled by any registry entry, but is rather hard-coded into Explorer.

This cannot even be corrected by an extension, since Microsoft has sharply curtailed their use in Explorer since after Windows XP. Not even new Column Handlers are allowed. Only adding a custom property tab by using an extension is still supported.

The only solution is to use an alternative third-party product. The behavior of Windows Explorer itself cannot be modified.

See the article Best Free File Manager for a list and reviews of such products, ranked by usability features, and also Altap Salamander Freeware.

| improve this answer | |
  • How appalling. Can you please mention how you know this information to be true? – Glenn Slayden Mar 4 '19 at 21:15
  • See in the above article of "Creating Column Handlers" link : "This feature is supported only under Windows XP or earlier". – harrymc Mar 4 '19 at 21:32

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