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Disabling Drag-And-Drop For Fun & Profit

Windows allows files and folders to be dragged from one location and dropped into a new location by a mouse action. The drag-and-drop mechanism is triggered when the user both (a) clicks and holds the left mouse button and (b) moves the mouse pointer by more than 4 pixels. The operation finishes when when the mouse button is released. However, the 4-pixel movement can be too sensitive for some users, and it is easy to accidentally move a file or folder by clicking the mouse button and nudging the mouse or clicking the button unintentionally while moving the mouse cursor.

One solution is to decrease the sensitivity of this action by increasing the number of pixels the mouse cursor needs to move before Windows will assume a drag-and-drop operation is taking place. To do this, open a command prompt and type:

    reg add "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop" /v DragHeight /d 100 /f

    reg add "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop" /v DragWidth /d 100 /f

This sets the sensitivity to 100 pixels of movement. (Adjust as required.)

Log out and log back in for the changes to take effect.

Another method for preventing drag-and-drop is to change the behaviour of the operation. By default, a drag and drop will “move” files/folders within the same volume or “copy” to another volume. There is no setting to disable the operation completely but the default action can be changed to “create a shortcut”:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt;

  2. Enter:

    reg add HKCR\AllFilesystemObjects /v DefaultDropEffect /d 4 /t REG_DWORD /f

    reg add HKCR\* /v DefaultDropEffect /d 4 /t REG_DWORD /f

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