In windows explorer, as soon as you rename a file, the list reorders and your focus stays on the file you edited, which is now in a new place in the list.

file1.jpg   -->editing to z.jpg...

jumps to

z.jpg ---> selected here, which is useless.

If you rename file1 to z.jpg, the list will automatically resort and you'll be at the bottom, and have to navigate back up to the ones which don't have a name. With many files, this is extremely annoying.

Is there a way to get windows to stop instantly sorting?


Are you pressing enter ↵ to finish a rename? I know if you just hit tab, it will go to the next file on the list while the renamed file moves. Maybe you have something set, so I apologize if this doesn't work for you.

  • 8
    I never knew about this. Very useful! – Dennis Jul 9 '12 at 16:33

As stated in Biggest Explorer annoyance: Automatic sorting (Windows 7, Server 2008/R2 and Vista), this is not entirely possible.

I know the following workarounds:

  • Disable Auto Arrange

    With Auto Arrange disabled, you can organize your icons freely. After renaming all you have to rename, you can re-enable it. You can download batch files for dis- an enabling Auto Arrange from Windows 7 Forums.

    Note that this won't work in the Details view and it requires restarting the Windows Explorer every time you switch it on or off. Also, be aware that you might lose some folder settings in the process.

  • Share your folders

    When accessing shared folders (since it's usually done over a network), auto-refreshing is disabled. You can share all drives with yourself and access them over the network.

    Using the following method, you can do so with one single click.

    1. Temporarily save this code as norefresh.reg and merge it with the registry:

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
      @="Explore without auto-refresh"
    2. Save the following code as C:\norefresh.bat:

      @echo off
      net share drive%cd:~0,1%=%cd:~0,3% /grant:%username%,full 2>nul
      explorer \\%userdomain%\drive%cd:~0,1%\%cd:~3%
      for /d %%d in (A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z) do (
          net share drive%%d=%%d:\ /grant:%username%,full 2>nul)
    3. In any folder, you can now perform a right-click and choose Explore w/o auto-refresh.

    This solution is hacky (at best), but my personal favorite.

  • Use an Explorer replacement

    File managers like Xplorer2 let you choose whether you want the auto-fresh functionality or not.

    In Xplorer2, you can choose in

    Tools -> Options -> Window -> Automatically re-sort contents after moving/copying etc.

    Be aware that you can use Xplorer2 only for 21 days without purchasing a license.

  • 1
    Great answer, but using "tab" is just so good & simple, I had to choose it. Thanks! – fastmultiplication Jul 10 '12 at 8:08

A low-tech solution is to go into Details view and sort by something other than Name.


If you use one of the many registry hacks available on the internet to disable auto arranging (or make it selectable), when you are in detailed view, click and drag one file to a different position (arbitrary, just any file)

It will uncheck all of the "sort by options", the sort buttons at the top of Explorer pane grey out and the same functions in the right-mouse shell become unchecked.

Now when you rename a file, it doesn't resort or jump up, it stays where it is. Even if you press F5 or refresh, it won't reorder the folder view. When you are done just click the "name" or "date modified" button, whichever you want to sort it on.

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