Much to many users' annoyance, Microsoft omitted the Auto Arrange feature in Windows 7, but someone devised a solution by 'hacking' the Windows Registry
Q In moving to Windows 7 from Windows XP I seem to have lost the ability to sort photos into a different order in a folder. Previously in XP I could drag and drop thumbnail images into a different order and then renumber the set.
Windows 7 will not allow me to do this, even in ‘Large icons’ view (which seems to be the equivalent of XP’s Thumbnails view). I found this facility useful when combining two sets of photos.
However, in Windows 7 I now find the myself numbering each large icon individually so I could view in the order I want. Can you please help me to solve this problem?
A This behaviour is caused by a feature called Auto Arrange, which organises files according to one or more criteria, such as name, file size, creation data and so on. In Windows XP it was possible to enable or disable Auto Arrange on a folder-by-folder basis but for unfathomable reasons, Microsoft removed this flexibility from Windows 7.
Even more perplexing (and the cause of confusion for plenty of people), is the fact that the Auto Arrange switch remains on Windows Desktop (right-click, point to View and click to remove the tick from ‘Auto arrange icons’), so it is possible at least to rearrange icons manually there – but you won’t find the option within any folder.
We know from our mailbag that many people would like to have this folder-level Auto Arrange switch but Microsoft doesn’t appear to be listening – we have been receiving complaints along these lines for a couple of years.
Fortunately, one clever chap has created his own solution. It involves ‘hacking’ the Windows Registry, and you will find the creator’s own detailed guide here. We would advise backing up your PC and proceeding with care but, if you are keen to disable Auto Arrange within folders, we know this trick works – we’ve done it ourselves.
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