I'd like to disable drag-and-drop in Windows Explorer but only on when the source is the left column (directory tree), however.

Better still, I'd like to enable drag-&-drop ONLY when I'm dragging from left-to-right (never left-to-left, right-to-right, or right-to-left, except across multiple instances of Windows Explorer).

OS: Windows 7


Although the answer is you can't... I'm guessing you want this as it is easy to accidentally dump the contents of one directory into another and completely mess up Windows... or whatever you were working on.

If this was entirely accidental (e.g. laptop touchpad is highly sensitive sometimes and a "scroll" becomes a click drag and drop...) there's not much you can do.

However if this was the result of an intentional drag... and it got dropped by accident... I'd like to make a suggestion as to a habit to start using.

If you right click to drag and drop... you are presented with a list when you drop for what you want to do... copy? move? create a shortcut?... or cancel! (clicking elsewhere or Esc also halts the action)

If you do this out of habit, you'll stop most accidents.

Finally, if you did accidentally move a pile of files somewhere you didn't plan to... you can use Edit > Undo... or click CTRL + Z

The only trick is you need to catch that you did it right away... ;-) thus right-clicking to drag is much safer

  • Thanks. I use the right button for these intentional moves. My accidents are generally left-click issues. Good answer, though. Feb 3 '12 at 20:29
  • 2
    Undo will even tell you what is going to be undone. If you have Explorer configured to show the status bar, hovering the mouse over the Edit > Undo menu item will show exactly what will be undone in the status bar.
    – boot13
    Feb 3 '12 at 22:03

Unfortunately, drag & drop behavior is not customize-able.


A good solution is to increase the drag threshold, to a size that ensures you meant to drag/drop and it wasn't accidental.

You can edit DragWidth and DragHeight in the registry here:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

The default is 4 pixes, setting a value such as 20 pixels should be sufficient prevent accidental drag/drop in most cases.

See here

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