How to Disable Full Row Select in Explorer in Windows Vista?

If the folder view is set to Details in Windows Vista, when an item is selected, the item and all its sub-items (columns) are highlighted. Some users may find the “full-row-select” feature annoying. Why?

In pre-Vista Operating Systems, to deselect all files in a folder, you could simply click on a blank area on the folder. With full row selection enabled by default in Windows Vista, deselecting all files and folders in a folder becomes difficult, as you need to scroll down the list and click an empty area in the folder.

There are two methods discussed on how to disable full row select feature in Windows Vista. Method 1 clears all the saved folder views and customizations and disables the full row select feature. Method 2 discusses a VBScript which disables the full row select feature while preserving the existing folder views and customizations.


Download and save to Desktop. Unzip the file and extract the contents to a folder. Double-click disablefullrowselect.reg to merge the contents with the registry. You need to restart explorer.exe, or logoff and login back for the change to take effect.

Now the full row select feature will be disabled for all folders. If you wish to revert back to the old setting, apply the enablefullrowselect.reg file that’s enclosed in the Zip file.

Technical Details

This REG file disables the full row select feature in Windows Explorer by creating a DWORD (32-bit) value named FullRowSelect, and setting its Value data to 0. The value is created in the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced

Existing folders that have their saved views stored in the registry, ignore the FullRowSelect value. Instead, they use the setting from their respective Bags registry key (FFlags value under the “Bags” registry branch). The FFlags value stores the “full row select” setting and other settings in a DWORD value. (REF FOLDERFLAGS Enumerated Type)

Therefore, the REG file clears out saved folder views and customizations, which is stored under the following branch:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Classes \ Local Settings \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Shell \ Bags

(Related article: Fixing Folder Type problems in Windows Vista)


Microsoft MVP Keith Miller has a VBScript that can disable the full row select feature for all folders without resetting the saved views. Visit Keith’s Windows Stuff page, download and unzip, and run the enclosed VBScript file. There is also an Undo script in that page.


(Fig 1) Full row select (enabled by default)

(Fig 2) Full row select disabled, as in pre-Vista systems.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

1 thought on “How to Disable Full Row Select in Explorer in Windows Vista?

  1. I went to this key/branch and saw FullRowSelect exists with value 0. Then I found my backup reg from Jan 2011 (It is now mid March). This much later i’ve created new folders, and presumably Bags might have dumped older settings. So I don’t think Bags is the trouble.
    The FullRowSelect bug remains, implying that the regedit fix has no obvious effect on my vista32 pc.
    But thanks for posting something :-/

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