locked
Explorer needs to stop automatic sorting RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Windows forces automatic refresh and sorting of files and folders on every user in List view, Details View and Content View making any batch file operation difficult to track or observe in a folder

    Occurs in: Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista

    Scenario: Imagine if I have many files in a folder in List view or Details view or Content view. I want to rename some of the files. I want to add some new files to the folder but keep track of them so I can undo that in case I need to. I also want to delete some files. With Windows 7, sorting is treated like an ALWAYS ON state. It should be treated optionally like a verb which sorts the items just once and then stops. Sorting in a folder just cannot be stopped/turned off in Windows 7.

    When I rename a file, it jumps from the view to obey the sort order. The user has to track the file with his eyes to see where it is jumping as it auto-sorts itself to the sort order (usually the default sort order is by name in all folders). Also, I have to locate the second file I was going to rename again because my attention was shifted to the one which auto-sorted itself. As soon as I finish renaming the 2nd file, it also auto sorts itself. This slows down my workflow tremendously.

    Now consider a scenario, where I add new files to the folder. As soon as I paste them into this folder, they get sorted by name and thus, scattered to obey the sort order. Instead if they appeared at the very end, I would not have required to track with my eyes where each file went and would be able to select them all again and perform some other file operation on them.

    Now consider, the scenario where I am extracting files into the same folder using an archiving software with more powerful features than the Windows compressed folders feature. When I extract files, the newly extracted files are not selected/highlighted and because they do not appear in the open folder at the very end but get scattered, it becomes very difficult to track these and determine which files I just extracted. I have to extract them to a subfolder, and then move them carefully to the parent folder.

    Same issue when downloading anything. When I download something new to folder X, I cannot track the file easily because it does not appear at the end in the Downloads folder even if the folder was already open. It gets sorted and I have to sort by date modified or date created to locate the file, then sort again by name to have the order I want.

    If the contents of any open folder are constantly changing, it is impossible to track changes in that folder because the files are continually getting auto-sorted. If a folder is open, new items should not be inserted in their already sorted position. They should get sorted only when the user presses Refresh. Of course, not all users would find this desirable. Some users would prefer to have their files sorted right away. So, why can't be have an option on whether or not to do automatic sorting? Especially, because it is so difficult for some users with auto sorting on? It is impossible to work with files when they're jumping all over the place. It's not about adapting to the change at all or "XP is perfect" problem. It's about making users' lives easier with file management. If they are telling Microsoft that renaming, copy-pasting or watching files in a folder where the order is changing frequently is causing massive issues as they have to track those files carefully, Microsoft should provide a checkbox option.

    Take the case of more such file operations such as new archive creation, mass photo resizing, mass volume normalization for music files that place modified files in the same folder as the source. Because they are all sorted, they get mixed up. If they hadn't been sorted, they wouldn't have got mixed up. Also to be noted here is all file managers on the market today offer this as a configurable option.

    Some examples of clear feedback about number of people asking about this feature in the forums:

    1. Possible to turn off auto refresh in Windows Explorer?
    2. Windows Explorer - possible to new files at bottom of list?
    3. Disabling automatic folder refresh (and sorting)?
    4. How to disable Windows 7 explorer auto refresh?
    5. How do i stop auto sort / refresh in windows folders?
    6. Windows Explorer for Windows 7 -- How to stop automatically sorting my files
    7. How to disable auto sort in windows 7- cut and paste issue
    8. How can I disable the automatic sort of newly created files and folders in Vista explorer?
    9. Vista disable folder automatic sorting
    10. Can I stop WIndows 7 from automatically resorting files while I am renaming them?
    11. Drag & drop problemes: how to turn off auto-sort?
    12. In Windows 7, renaming files in a folder, how do I turn off alphabetical organizing of the renamed files?
    13. Windows Explorer Automatic Refresh / Can I Turn Function Off?
    14. How to stop a folder from applying a sort order on files

    Solution: Allow automatic sorting/refresh in Explorer list, details and content views to be turned off. Windows Developer Preview does not currently address this problem. The design does not have to be one way or the other. There can be an option in this case. There was an option previously. Explorer does not currently perform the auto sorting on network shares, on removable drives and in the root of drives such as C:\, D:\. Please allow turning off automatic sorting in local folders via a hotfix. "This behavior is by design" is not an acceptable solution as files getting continuously sorted becomes a nightmare for file management.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012 11:45 AM