Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Drag and drop may stop working on Windows 11 due to corrupt or outdated mouse drivers, incorrect drag and drop sensitivity settings, or interference from third-party applications.
  • To fix the drag and drop functionality, start by restarting File Explorer.
  • If restarting File Explorer doesn’t work, you can try other troubleshooting steps, such as resetting the explorer.exe process, changing the drag and drop sensitivity, updating Windows, or performing a clean boot.

There are many ways to move a file on Windows, but one of the most common is by dragging and dropping it. However, a temporary glitch or corrupt mouse driver can sometimes prevent the drag and drop feature from working properly. There are a few quick fixes that you can try to troubleshoot this issue.

Why Is Drag and Drop Not Working on Your Windows PC?

Drag and drop is a useful feature that lets you quickly move files and folders around your computer. However, it can sometimes stop working, which can be a major inconvenience.

There are various reasons why drag and drop might not be working, but some of the most common ones are listed below.

  • A corrupt or outdated mouse driver is often the main reason for the issue.
  • Drag and drop functionality will not work if Windows is still in the middle of your last drag and drop action.
  • Third-party applications can sometimes interfere with basic Windows functionality, such as drag and drop, and prevent it from working properly.

Now that you know all the major culprits causing the issue, let’s check out the solution to help you troubleshoot the problem.

1. Restart Windows Explorer

A temporary glitch or bug can sometimes prevent your computer from working properly. This can cause problems with opening files, renaming folders, or even using basic Windows features like drag and drop.

The best way to fix this is to restart File Explorer. To do this, press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc key together to open “Task Manager”, right-click the “Windows Explorer” and choose “End task.”

End Task option in the Task Manager

Test the drag and drop feature again. If it’s still not working, try the next solution.

2. Reset the explorer.exe Process

If restarting Windows Explorer didn’t work, try resetting the explorer.exe process. To do this, open “Settings” by pressing Windows+i hotkey and navigate to System > About > Advanced system settings.

Advanced system settings option in the Windows Settings app

In the System Properties window, click “Settings” under the “Performance” section.

Settings option in the System Properties window

Switch to the “Advanced” tab and select “Programs” for the “Adjust for best performance of” option. Then, click “Change” under the “Virtual memory” section.

Programs option in the Performance window

Make sure the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drivers” option is checked. Then, click OK > Apply > OK.

Automatically manage paging file size for all drivers option in the Virtual Memory window

Now, press Alt+F4 key together to open the “Shut Down Windows” prompt, select “Restart” from the drop-down menu, and click OK. Windows will reset the explorer.exe process upon restart, which should resolve the issue.

3. Use the Left Click and Escape Key Hack

If Windows fails to release the data from the last drag and drop operation, the drag and drop feature might stop working. To fix this, open “File Explorer” by pressing Windows+E key together. Then, left-click on a file or folder and press the “Escape” key on your keyboard.

Next, restart your computer and check if the problem is resolved.

4. Change Drag and Drop Sensitivity

On Windows, the drag and drop sensitivity is set to 4 by default. This means that if you move a file or folder by 4 pixels and release it, it will be dragged and dropped.

However, if a third-party application has increased the sensitivity to a higher value, you may have difficulty using the drag and drop feature. To resolve this issue, you must reset the drag and drop sensitivity.

To reset the drag and drop sensitivity, press the Windows key to open the “Start” menu, type “Registry Editor” in the search bar, and press Enter.

Typing Registry Editor in the Start Menu

In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following location:

 HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop 
Desktop key in the Registry Editor

Double-click the “DragHeight” string value in the right pane, type “4” in the “Value data” field, and click OK. Then, double-click the “DragWidth” string value, type “4” in the “Value data” field, and click OK.

Value data field in the Registry Editor

Close the Registry Editor and check if you can drag and drop files or folders.

5. Run SFC and DISM Scans

It’s very common for Windows files to become corrupt. This can cause various problems, including the one you’re experiencing. Fortunately, you can quickly detect and eliminate all the corrupt files using your PC’s built-in System File Checker (SFC) tool.

This tool runs on its own, which means it automatically detects corrupt files on your computer and replaces them with their working counterparts. You can use this tool from a Command Prompt window, as follows.

Open the “Start” menu, type “Command Prompt” in the search bar and choose “Run as administrator”. If UAC crops up, click “Yes”.

Typing Command Prompt in the Registry Editor

In the elevated Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter.

 sfc /scannow 
Sfc scan command in the Registry Editor

The scan might take a while to complete if it detects any issue in your system. However, if the SFC scan does not find any corrupt files or fails to repair them, you can try running a DISM scan.

To run a DISM scan, open Command Prompt window as administrator and type the following commands, one at a time, pressing Enter after each command:

 DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth 
 DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth 
 DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth 
DISM Scan command in the Command Prompt window

Once the DISM scan is complete, restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved. If the issue persists, there may be a bug in the version of Windows you are using.

6. Update Window 11

If your Windows version is outdated, you may experience problems with different apps and even basic functionalities like drag and drop. In this case, updating your Windows version is likely to resolve the issue.

To update Windows 11, go to Settings > Windows Update. On the right pane, click “Check for updates.”

Check for updates option in Windows Settings

Windows will now search Microsoft’s servers for any available updates. If it finds any, it will automatically install them without much user input. This method will also look for any available driver updates for installed hardware, including your mouse. So, if the problem is caused by an outdated mouse driver, it is likely to be fixed after updating it.

7. Perform a Clean Boot

Is drag and drop still not working on your Windows PC? If so, a third-party application is likely causing the problem. In this case, you’ll need to perform a clean boot.

To do that, open the “Start” menu, type “System Configuration” in the search bar, and press Enter.

Typing System Configuration in the Start menu search bar

In the System Configuration window, click the “Services” tab and check the “Hide all Microsoft services” box. Then, click “Disable all.”

Services tab in the System configuration window

Switch to the “Startup” tab, and click “Open Task Manager.” In the Task Manager window, right-click each startup app and select “Disable.” Then, restart your computer.

Disable option in the Task Manager

After your computer restarts, check to see if drag and drop is working. If it is, then one of the services or startup apps that you disabled was causing the problem.

To identify the culprit, start enabling each service or app one at a time until the issue reappears. Once you find the service or app causing the problem, you can uninstall it or update its driver.

That’s how you fix the drag and drop feature when it’s not working. Now, you can move files and folders around your computer without any issue.

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By John P.

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