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How to Change Default Drag and Drop Action in Windows 11

Here's how to change the default drag and drop action in Windows 11. We will also review how to change drag and drop sensitivity, and how to completely disable drag and drop in File Explorer.

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The action occurs when you drag a file or folder in File Explorer from one folder to another or to the desktop. The default drag action differs depending on whether the target folder is on the same drive or on a different drive.

For example, when you drag and drop a file from one folder to another which are located on different drives, File Explorer will copy the file to the drop location. The copy action will be used as well if the destination folder is a network location.

However, if you drag and drop a file between folders located on the same drive, the default action is move. Finally, File Explorer performs the move action for all files you drag and drop onto the Recycle Bin.

Windows 11 Default Drag And Drop Action Sample

You can temporarily change the default drag action using special modifier keys. Press and hold the following keys to change what File Explorer does.

  • Hold the Ctrl key while you are dragging a file or a folder to copy it.
  • Hold the Shift key while you are dragging a file or a folder to move it.
  • Hold the Alt key or the Ctrl + Shift keys together while you are dragging a file or a folder to create a shortcut.

You can change the default action, so File Explorer will always use without you having to hold a modifier key. All you need to do is to apply a Registry tweak. Do the following.

Change default drag and drop action in Windows 11

  1. Press Win + R and type regedit to open the Registry Editor.
  2. In the left pane, navigate to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*.
  3. On the right, right-click the empty space and create a new 32-bit DWORD value here named DefaultDropEffect.Windows 11 Create New Value DefaultDropEffect
  4. Set its value data to one of the following values to change the default drag and drop action in Windows 11.
    • 0 - no action will be performed,
    • 1 - copy the dragged file or folder,
    • 2 - move the dragged file or folder,
    • 4 - create a shortcut.Change Default Drag And Drop Action In Windows 11
  5. Now, browse the Registry to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects, and create here the similar DefaultDropEffect value of the same value data.Windows 11 Change Default Drag And Drop For All Filesystem Objects

You are done! Now you can try to drag a file from one folder to another. It will use the action you have set in the Registry. For example, if you set DefaultDropEffect to 1, File Explorer will copy the file.

To undo the change later, delete the DefaultDropEffect value from both keys.

Note that you can always modify the drag and drop action using the modifier keys. They will continue working even if you applied the Registry tweak.

You can also use Winaero Tweaker app to customize the drag and drop action in an easy way.

Customize the drag and drop action with Winaero Tweaker

Нou can use Winaero Tweaker to save your time and avoid manual Registry editing. The app allows changing the default drag and drop action with  a couple of clicks.

Download and install the app and browse the left pane to the File Explorer\Default Drag-n-Drop action option. There, you can instantly set the desired default action.Winaero Tweaker Change Action

You can also make Explorer allow you to select which action to do with the dragged file or folder.

Show the drag and drop action menu

As we learned, the drag-n-drop behavior isn't consistent in Windows 11. However, one of the File Explorer's features can make it more transparent and useful.

To show the drag and drop action menu, click and hold the right mouse button instead of the left one. This will make it show a menu with actions. From that menu you can quickly select the copy, move, or create shortcut command.

Show The Drag And Drop Action Menu

Many users finds this very useful. No modified keys or Registry tweaks required. Just start dragging your files with the right click.

In addition to the default drag event, you can change drag and drop sensitivity. Here's for what you may want to adjust it.

Change drag and drop sensitivity in Windows 11

By default, you need to move the selected file or folder by a few pixels to trigger the drag and drop event. Due to this very small distance, it is very easy to inadvertently copy or move your important data to a random folder. This issue is specially annoying when you are using a laptop touchpad. Setting the drag distance to a higher value will save you from accidentally copying or moving a file.

To change drag and drop sensitivity in Windows 11, do the following.

  1. Right-click the Start button, select Run, and type regedit in the text box to open the Registry editor.
  2. Go to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.
  3. On the right, modify two values, DragHeight and DragWidth. Change them from 4 to 40, which means a number of pixels for which to drag files before you can drop them. Change Drag And Drop Sensitivity In Windows 11
  4. Finally, restart the Explorer or sign out and sign in to Windows 11.

You are done. Instead of 40 pixels, you can set the values to any other number that works best for you.

Again, you can save your time with Winaero Tweaker. The app also includes the option to change drag and drop sensitivity in the GUI.

Modify drag and drop sensitivity with Winaero Tweaker

Download and install Winaero Tweaker, then open app to File Explorer\Drag-n-Drop sensitivity. Adjust the text box to the value you find comfortable and you are good to go.Winaero Tweaker Drag Drop Sensitivity

You can also use the above mentioned registry tweak to completely disable drag and drop in Windows 11 File Explorer.

Disable drag and drop in Windows 11 File Explorer

To disable drag and drop in Windows 11 File Explorer, do the following.

  1. Open the Registry editor app (Win + R > regedit > Enter), and head to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.
  2. In the right pane, double click the DragHeight string value.
  3. Set it to some bigger number, e.g. to 200.Disable Drag And Drop In Windows 11 File Explorer
  4. Now, modify the DragWidth value and set it to the same number.
  5. Restart the Explorer shell.

You are done. Setting the values to 200 means you set the minimum drag interval to 200px, which is a long distance. So the drag and drop will stop working for regular file move operations, which are usually as small as a few pixels.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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