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  • Problem with Columns Shifting in Open Dialog Boxes

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Problem with Columns Shifting in Open Dialog Boxes

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      • #920659
        AskWoody Plus

        I suspect that there’s no solution to this one, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, so…

        Microsoft introduced (another) petty annoyance in Windows 7 which has persisted into Windows 10.

        Whenever I try to open a file in any program, and there are multiple columns of folders and/or files in the open dialog box, when I try to select or open a folder or file that is located in a column any where to the right of the left-most one, instead of the folder/file’s being selected or opened, the entire group of columns shifts to the left, requiring me to move the cursor again, over to the new location, to try again.

        I find this feature unhelpful. Is there any way to disable it? I don’t mind going into the registry.


      • #921080

        Please tell us which version of Win10 you are using, and which programs you are talking about. A screenshot would help to understand the problem better.

        • #928209
          AskWoody Plus

          I have Windows 10 Version 1803 Build 17134.590. It’s the version that came with my new computer.

          The problem occurs with each and every program that I have, when the folder in which I’m trying to select or open something contains enough subfolders and/or files that they’re listed in multiple columns that fill the portion of the box that I’m viewing.

          The two attachments illustrate this. Number 1 shows the open dialog box for WordPerfect immediately after I’ve opened it and navigated to the folder that contains what I’m interested in. I have not selected, but am about to double click on the subfolder named “2013-12-18”. Number 2 shows the box immediately after I tried to double click on that subfolder. Instead of having been opened, the subfolder is now merely highlighted/selected, and the entire contents of the open dialog box have shifted one column to the left. I can now double click on the subfolder a second time, and it will open for me without further ado. But I’ll have needlessly had to double click twice to get it open.

          I have a seven year old desktop that has had Windows 7 from the inception. It has always  exhibited this kind of behavior. So has every other Windows 7 computer that I’ve ever worked on. I’ve never used Windows 10 before.

          The same thing never happened on any earlier computer & operating system that I ever owned or worked on, going back (if I can remember the reverse order) from XP, to 2000, to 98, to 95. So I’m pretty sure that this is something that was introduced with Windows 7, though for what purpose I can’t imagine.

          If there’s a way to stop it, I’d really appreciate learning how to do it. As I said in my first post, it’s only a petty annoyance, but it’s an annoyance nevertheless.




      • #932973
        AskWoody Lounger

        Windows 7 here.
        1) This seems to occur when the item selected is in the right-most column.
        Do a scroll-right before clicking.

        2) Change the View>List to something else. This can be done either from View on the Menu Bar, or (in Win 7) near the right end of the header bar just above the list of folders.
        On your pictures of Win 10, the icon beneath the right-end of the word ‘Favorites’ looks like a place to experiment. Click on the small down-arrow.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #936401
          AskWoody Plus

          It’s true that it seems to happen only when the folder I want is at the right side, but it does happen often enough for me to ask (after seven years of living with Win 7!) why it must be and to wonder whether there’s a way to fix it.

          I do sometimes scroll right, but in either case — scrolling or clicking and then clicking again — it’s an extra step for which there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason, given the fact that Win XP and earlier didn’t behave this way. Also, changing the view isn’t a solution that I care for, since that too is an extra step, as well as a complete change from the way I like to navigate to folders and files.

          So what I’m looking for is something like a registry setting, where I can fix things once and for all, so I don’t have to change the view I prefer or have to periodically go through what should be a needless extra step simply to open a file. If such a solution doesn’t exist, then so be it. I’ll just live with it for lack of a preferable alternative.

          But thanks for the suggestions.

      • #942736
        AskWoody Lounger

        If you look at the folder above the one named “2013-12-18”, you’ll notice the folder named “2013-12-14 MTC”.

        Notice this other folders name is partially hidden.


        When you click it, it moves to the left to fully show the file name.
        Try shortening the file name as an experiment, then re-click it for a comparison.


        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #947050
          AskWoody Lounger

          If you look at the folder above the one named “2013-12-18”, you’ll notice the folder named “2013-12-14 MTC”.

          Notice this other folders name is partially hidden.

          I just tested this on Windows 10 1809.

          It does also happen even when all visible fields from the list entry are indeed visible but the next column isn’t. Doesn’t happen if there’s one pixel of the next column to the right visible.

          Now this *might* be because there are invisible fields in the list view… like (status, )type and size. You can sort the list by size without it telling you the sizes… so the view might move to accommodate these invisible fields?

          And field selection for the list view is really non-obivous and might just not work even so.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #1010260
            AskWoody Plus

            I’m don’t think I understand how the concept of fields arises in this context. (When it comes to computers, my competence is pretty much limited to getting directions and then boldly trying to follow them.) Barring unusual circumstances, I always keep my folder view set to list view. I didn’t think that that view would present any fields that weren’t visible. Am I misunderstanding this?

            Also, the phenomenon I’ve described always happened in Windows 7, and it now always happens in Windows 10, but it never happened in Windows XP or earlier. At least not in my experience. So Microsoft definitely changed something that’s relevant to this in Windows 7.

            • #1087598
              AskWoody Lounger

              Well yeah, there’s a few things you wouldn’t expect if you don’t know about them, with the list view.

              One is that there’s the “status” field in addition to the file name. This is where you get a sync/share marker or several, if you have those features active for those files/folders… you know, synced with server or cloud… or in case of Windows 10, files that would be here but haven’t been downloaded yet.

              The space for this seems to exist even if you don’t have an application/feature installed that enables the functionality.

              This space is after the file names, vertically aligned – so after the longest file name in the column… so naturally once you select a file with a potentially hidden status field, the thing shifts so that the status is entirely visible too.

              Now you can theoretically change the settings for displayed fields for list view, but for some reason, at least on W10 1809, this just doesn’t change what’s actually shown on screen.

              Yes, this should be new since Windows XP, as I understand it’s related to the changes in offline files / slow sync functionality after XP. Would be interesting to check what happens on Vista…

              1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1009968
          AskWoody Plus

          Changing the file name for that particular file doesn’t make a difference. As long as there are any columns off-screen to the right, clicking (or double clicking) on a folder or file in the last column that is visible on the right makes everything shift to the left. If I then click (or double click) on different subfolder or file that appears in the new column that’s visible on the far right, as long as there are still more subfolders/files off-screen to its right, everything again shifts one column to the left.

          It really boils down to this. Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft decided that it would be a good idea, when you open a dialog box and see the folder or file you want in the right hand column, that you have to (double) click on it twice: once to make everything shift to the left, then again to open it. Earlier versions of Windows didn’t work this way, and it would be  nice if it were possible to go back to the old way.

      • #1010213

        I see a similar issue in File Explorer [renamed from Windows Explorer in earlier versions] with long file names not being fully shown, especially in the List view.  It usually helps to go to Details view where the width of the columns can be adjusted, quite similar to adjusting columns in a spreadsheet program.

        Before you wonder "Am I doing things right," ask "Am I doing the right things?"
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1010517
          AskWoody Plus

          The issue doesn’t really arise at all (for me) in details view, because everything is simply listed in one long column. Once I see a folder or file that I’m looking for, clicking on it doesn’t make anything shift.

          But I like list view much better, because for me it’s the fastest way to look for folders/files by name. If the only choice is between going to details view, or sticking with list view and occasionally having to put up with the petty annoyance I’ve described, I’ll stick with the latter.

          But thanks for the suggestion.

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