Why does Windows Explorer highlight the second but never the first entry if I use the keyboard for navigation?

Example: let's look at a folder that contains the following entries

  • a1
  • a2
  • a3
  • b1
  • b2

If I hit a on the keyboard, the explorer highlights entry 'a2' instead of 'a1'. It works fine for b with 'b1' (because it's not the first entry).

Similarly, if I open a folder and use the down-arrow key to navigate then the first entry is skipped again. Why?!

It's probable that I'm too stupid for this but this "feature" really annoys me!


When you enter a folder the first time, the focus is "hidden" at the first item without actually selecting it (actually I don't know the real thing happens under the hood, but that's the idea), so when pressing Down or Right button, it will select the next entry.

If you need to select the first one, press Space. To deselect at any places, press Ctrl+space

  • That is the correct answer (I've also checked the same results). As to why Microsoft designed it as that... – Doktoro Reichard Jun 13 '14 at 14:17
  • Yay! Space is the solution to my problem. Thanks a lot :) – normanius Jun 13 '14 at 14:18
  • (I would up-vote the answer if I had the enough reputation.) – normanius Jun 13 '14 at 14:21
  • @normanius To highlight the first or the last item regardless of the current selection you can use the Home or End key, respectively. – and31415 Jun 13 '14 at 14:33
  • @and31415 Home does not really work to highlight the first entry (at least on Win7). The first entry (as Lưu Vĩnh Phúc pointed out) is selected, but not highlighted. I have to hit space to also highlight it. But thanks anyways. – normanius Jun 13 '14 at 14:51

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