When the cursor is in windows explorer (the file manager, not the browser), pressing a number of keys selects the filename starting with these characters. This is set by "folder options->view->when typing into list view.."

However, there seems to be an internal timer linked with the typed characters. If you don't press any key for about 1 sec, the typed string is ignored and typing new characters starts a new search (much like an invisible version of firefox's search box)

Is there a registry key that can modify the duration of this timer ??


From Default List-View Message Processing in the Windows SDK.

Message Processing

The following table describes the window message processing performed by a list-view control.

Message Processing performed

WM_CHAR Searches for a list-view item that begins with the specified character and, if the item is found, selects and sets the focus to the item.

Multiple characters received within a time-out interval, currently fixed at one second, are concatenated, and the list-view control searches for an item that begins with the resulting string.


I'm not aware of any registry mods for this, but Listary effectively eliminates Explorer's type-to-find timeout, while greatly extending its functionality.

  • 2
    Thank you for your answer. However, listary performs search, instead of selection, which is already possible by a setting in "folder options" (although the search listary performs is indeed faster). However, most of the time, when you are in a folder, you need to select a file that is already visible. Typing into a list view is not a search method, but a faster alternative to using the mouse, or pressing the arrow keys multiple times.
    – blue_note
    Jan 15 '14 at 12:00

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