When people ask to disable drag and drop, they often are trying to disable accidental drag and drop

Raymond Chen

We occasionally get customers who ask, “How do I disable drag and drop?” This is an odd request, so we ask the frequent follow-up question, “What are you really trying to do?” For many of these customers, the answer goes something like this:

We’ve found that our employees often accidentally move or copy items around on the desktop and in Explorer windows because the act of pressing the mouse button causes the mouse itself to slide slightly across the table, resulting in a drag operation instead of a single click. We then have to spend a good amount of time searching for where those files ended up and trying to get their system back to its original state. We’d therefore like to disable drag and drop to avoid this problem.

They aren’t really trying to disable drag and drop. They are merely trying to disable accidental drag and drop.

To avoid accidental drag and drop, adjust the drag sensitivity so that it takes a greater effort to trigger a drag and drop operation. By default, the mouse needs to travel four pixels with the button held down for a drag operation to be initiated. To make it harder to initiate an accidental drag operation, just crank this number higher.

This particular customer might decide to crank the drag threshold to 50 or 100 pixels, so that the mouse has to move quite a significant distance before it is interpreted as a drag operation.

By the way, the function for changing the drag threshold is SystemParametersInfo; check out the SPI_SETDRAGHEIGHT and SPI_SETDRAGWIDTH parameters.

Pre-emptive correction: Do not modify the registry directly. Use the API. That’s why it’s there.


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