File Explorer is the default file management app which is bundled with Windows starting with Windows 95. Besides file management operations, Explorer.exe also implements the shell - the Desktop, taskbar, desktop icons and also the Start menu are parts of the Explorer app.
It is worth mentioning that in Windows 10, the Start menu is a special UWP app, which is integrated into the shell. Starting with Windows 8, File Explorer got the Ribbon user interface and the quick access toolbar.
In File Explorer, numerical sorting is enabled by default. This means that the file manager will sort files by increasing number value (for example, 3 < 222 < 1111). When this feature is disabled, File Explorer will sort file names by each digit in a file name, so the order will be as follows: 1111 < 222 < 3. Let's see how to change the sorting method in File Explorer in Windows 10. See the following screenshots:
Numerical sorting is enabled
Numerical sorting is disabled
You need to sign in as Administrator before proceeding. The change will be applied to all user accounts.
To disable Numerical Sorting in File Explorer in Windows 10, do the following.
- Open the Registry Editor app.
- Go to the following Registry key.
See how to go to a Registry key with one click.
- On the right, create a new 32-Bit DWORD value NoStrCmpLogical.
Note: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows you must still create a 32-bit DWORD value.
Set its value to 1 in decimal to disable Numerical sorting.
- Restart Windows 10.
To re-enable the feature, delete the NoStrCmpLogical you have created or delete it.
To save your time, you can download the following ready-to-use Registry files
The undo tweak is included.
If your Windows 10 edition includes the Local Group Policy Editor app, you can use it instead of the Registry tweak.
Disable Numerical Sorting with Local Group Policy Editor
If you are running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor app to configure the options mentioned above with a GUI.
- Press Win + R keys together on your keyboard and type:
- Group Policy Editor will open. Go to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\File Explorer. Enable the policy option Turn off numerical sorting in File Explorer as shown below.
- Restart Windows 10.