Windows Explorer Auto Arrange - Disable in Windows 8

Search_Explorer.png
How to Disable Auto Arrange in File Explorer to have Free Sorting in Windows 8 and 8.1

information   Information
In Windows 8, auto arrange is enabled by default so that all file and folder names in File Explorer are sorted alphabetically no matter what folder view you used.

This is basically like having how you can arrange icons how you like on your desktop in every folder in Files Explorer now.

This will show you how to disable Auto Arrange to be able to sort your files and folders in any random order you like in File Explorer without it having to be sorted alphabetically by name in Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, and Windows RT 8.1. Windows 8 will also remember these random folder sortings, and open as how they were when the window was last closed.

Note   Note


  • When auto arrange is disabled, you can arrange items in any order and position using Extra Large Icons, Large Icons, Medium Icons, Small Icons, and Extended Tiles folder views.

  • When auto arrange is disabled, and you are using Details folder view, you can only arrange items in any order and not in any position.

  • When auto arrange is disabled and you switch from a Extra Large Icons, Large Icons, Medium Icons, Small Icons, and Tiles folder view to Details folder view, it will reset auto arrange to list all items in the folder in the order that you had them arranged in instead of any position. You will have to rearrange the positions how you like again afterwards.

  • When you disable auto arrange, and either unzip a file in a folder, move a folder, or rename a folder, it will refresh and auto arrange the files in that specific folder only after each time you do this. Auto arrange is still disabled for that folder, but you will need to arrange the files back to whatever non-auto arranged order you like again after unzipping a file in a folder, move a folder, or rename a folder.

  • The Auto arrange and Align to grid options, when you right click or press and hold on an empty area in the folder and click on View, are only available (not grayed out) while using the Extra Large Icons, Large Icons, Medium Icons, Small Icons, and Tiles folder view.

  • To enable or disable auto arrange for a specific folder, you can right click or press and hold on an empty area in the folder, click/tap on View, then click/tap on Auto arrange to uncheck (disable) or check (enable) it for that specific folder.

  • If you use Apply to Folders, it will reset auto arrange to list all items in the folders in the order that you had them arranged in instead of any position. Using Apply to Folders will also have View -> Auto arrange checked (enabled) afterwards for all these folders. You will need to uncheck Auto Arrange in each folder affected by "Apply to Folders" to be able to arrange in any position in these folders again.

warning   Warning
DO NOT USE this tutorial in any other OS than Windows 8.

  • While this tutorial will allow you to disable auto arrange in the Libraries folder itself, it will not disable auto arrange inside any of the other library folders (ex: Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos).
  • Free sorting is not available if you use "Group by" views instead of only "Sort by" views.
  • Free sorting is not available in the List and Content folder views.


EXAMPLE: Auto Arrange Enabled and Disabled
NOTE:
Notice in the screenshot with Auto Arrange disabled, the files can be dragged around the File Explorer window to sort how you like without having to be in alphabetical order.
Enabled.jpg
Disabled-1.jpg
Disabled-2.jpg







OPTION ONE
To Disable Auto Arrange in Windows 8 File Explorer

warning   Warning
It is also recommended to create a restore point before doing this option in case you would like to undo any unwanted unknown side affects that OPTION TWO may not undo. This way, you could also do a system restore with this restore point to undo this option completely.
warning   Warning


1. Click/tap on the Download button below to download the BAT file below.​
Disable_Windows_8_Explorer_Auto_Arrange.bat
download


2. Save the .bat file to your desktop.​
3. Close everything that you have running first, then run the downloaded .bat file.​
4. If prompted, click/tap on Run.
NOTE: If you like, you can stop getting the Run prompt by unblocking the downloaded .bat file.
5. You will now notice your screen flicker and a command prompt open as explorer is restarted to apply the registry changes.​
6. Let the command prompt count down to finish on it's own without pressing a key.​
7. When it's finished, you will see the This PC window open.​
8. Auto arrange in File Explorer is now disabled.​






OPTION TWO
To Enable Auto Arrange in Windows 8 File Explorer

NOTE: This is the default setting. This option will also reset all folder views back to default.
1. Click/tap on the Download button below to download the BAT file below.​
Enable_Windows_8_Explorer_Auto_Arrange.bat
download


2. Save the .bat file to your desktop.​
3. Close everything that you have running first, then run the downloaded .bat file.​
4. If prompted, click/tap on Run.
NOTE: If you like, you can stop getting the Run prompt by unblocking the downloaded .bat file.
5. You will now notice your screen flicker as explorer is restarted to apply the registry changes.​
6. Auto arrange in File Explorer is now enabled again.​
7. You can delete the downloaded .bat file if you like.​
That's it,
Shawn



Related Tutorials


 

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Brink

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Correct. It's a workaround to enable auto arrange for that folder, and still leave it disabled by default for other folders.
 

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Copperplate

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Thank you so much, Shawn, for this amazing gift! I've wanted to do this for so long. I create CG renderings, and I'm frequently switching between test renders to compare. It was so annoying to be stuck with an alphanumeric grouping rather than being able to randomly select and compare. Now, no more troubles! :D I've noticed, though, at least in Windows 8.1, that you should have "Auto Arrange" enabled in the View menu (when right-clicking). Otherwise, cycling through pictures in Windows photo gallery appears to be random, regardless of what order you put the pictures in. But with "Auto Arrange" enabled, you can still regroup photos any way you like, and Windows photo gallery will also respect your order.

Thanks again!!
~Adam
 

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Brink

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You're most welcome Adam, and welcome to Eight Forums. :)
 

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As9999

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I am using this as it's crucial. But it's something of advantages and disadvantages.

When files are saved they loose the place I had given them and are placed instead as the second item in the folder. For example, which is what I always do, give a custom order/place to a Word file among other files. Edit the Word file and save the changes. Close Word. Often the file is moved to second spot instead of a custom one. It makes this useless and becomes similar to as if I didn't have this.

Another problem is, when using the keyboard, and that is, always, this brings back the horrid looking dotted border that's probably a fossilized graphical element from Windows 98 or something like that. It's painful to look at.

So I'm still dissatisfied.
 

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GheekyGurl

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Hi Brink. I'm new to the forum and I know this is an old thread, but as they say, better late than never, right? If you're still monitoring it, maybe you can help me with a bizarre auto-arrange issue. I have a zillion external hard drives and several internal drives. Some of them are on a LAN so I can access my files from any of my computers. Here is my problem: Auto Arrange is definitely disabled and renaming files and creating folders works just like on XP ONLY when I access the drive, be it internal or external, via the LAN shortcut. Meaning, accessing files via a "\\LAN COMPUTER NAME\D-Drive\Folder" address lets me rename my files and create folders just like on XP. But auto arrange is definitely NOT working when I access my files directly via "D:\Folder". So, the big question is, do you have any idea what could be causing this? Also, I installed your patch, but the Auto Arrange option is grayed out in the menu. Any thoughts on this would be super appreciated. Thanks.:)
AutoArrange problem.jpg
 

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Brink

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GheekyGurl

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Hi Brink! Thanks for the speedy reply! :DSorry if I misunderstood the purpose of your patch. What I need is a way to be able to get back the XP behavior so that freshly copy/pasted files or newly created folders appear at the bottom of the list and stay there until I decide to refresh the list, and so that when I rename a file, it just sits there with its new name and doesn't jump out of view to its proper alphabetical spot which is exasperating. But like I said, for some strange reason, accessing my files via my LAN lets me do this. Well, I do appreciate the reply and I'll check out the links. Thanks again.
 

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Brink

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Hi Brink! Thanks for the speedy reply! :DSorry if I misunderstood the purpose of your patch. What I need is a way to be able to get back the XP behavior so that freshly copy/pasted files or newly created folders appear at the bottom of the list and stay there until I decide to refresh the list, and so that when I rename a file, it just sits there with its new name and doesn't jump out of view to its proper alphabetical spot which is exasperating. But like I said, for some strange reason, accessing my files via my LAN lets me do this. Well, I do appreciate the reply and I'll check out the links. Thanks again.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Name
    Shawn Brink
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
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    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
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    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
    State/Region Flag
    us oklahoma

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