How to Disable Numerical File Name Sorting and Enable Classic Literal Sorting in Windows XP, Vista and 7 Explorer?

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If you are a Windows XP, Vista or 7 user, you might have noticed that Windows Explorer uses a different kind of sorting mechanism for file names containing numbers compared to Windows 2000 and earlier versions.

For example, if you have a folder containing files having names as 1, 246, 3, 111, 22, 33 and 2, Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 will sort them as following:

1
2
3
22
33
111
246

On the other hand, Windows 2000 and earlier versions will sort them as following:

1
111
2
22
246
3
33

Noticed the difference? Windows XP, Vista and 7 use an intelligent mechanism for file names sorting and show the file names having numbers in increasing number values. On the other hand, Windows 2000 and earlier versions sort file names by each number in file names.

Although Windows XP, Vista and 7 sorting mechanism looks better than the previous sorting mechanism but sometimes it becomes a little bit annoying when you don't want Windows to sort file names by number values, you just want Windows to sort file names by numbers so that you can get file names starting with same digit in a single place rather than showing in different places.

Actually the new Windows XP, Vista and 7 file name sorting mechanism is known as "Intuitive or Numerical" where file names are sorted by increasing number values. On the other hand Windows 2000 and earlier versions file name sorting is called "Literal" where file names are sorted by each digit in file name.

In this tutorial, we'll tell you a way to disable new intuitive file name sorting and enable classic literal file name sorting in Windows XP, Vista and 7.

Windows_Filename_Sorting_Order_Comparison.png

So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial. We'll tell you 2 methods to do this task:

  • METHOD 1: Using Group Policy Editor
  • METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor

METHOD 1: Using Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc)

1. Type gpedit.msc in Start Menu search box or RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Group Policy Editor.

2. Now go to:

Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Explorer

3. In right-side pane, double-click on "Turn off numerical sorting in Windows Explorer" and set its value to Enabled.

Disable_New_Intuitive_Filename_Sorting_in_Windows_Using_GPEdit.png

4. That's it. It'll immediately disable new intuitive file name sorting and bring back classic literal file name sorting in your Windows.

PS: If you want to restore default file name sorting, simply set value of "Turn off numerical sorting in Windows Explorer" to either Not Configured or Disabled.

METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor (regedit)

Some Windows editions such as Home Basic, Home Premium and Starter don't come with Group Policy Editor. Although its possible to install Group Policy Editor in these unsupported Windows editions using this article, but if you don't want to install it or can't use Group Policy Editor, here is a Registry method given to do the same thing:

1. Type regedit in Start Menu search box or RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

If you don't see "Explorer" key under Policies key, create it manually.

3. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD NoStrCmpLogical and set its value to 1

Disable_New_Intuitive_Filename_Sorting_in_Windows_Using_Regedit.png

4. That's it. Restart or log off and you'll get Windows 2000 style classic literal file name sorting back in Windows XP, Vista and 7.

PS: If you want to restore default file name sorting, simply set value of "NoStrCmpLogical" to 0 or delete the DWORD.

NOTE: If you don't want to modify Registry manually and want a ready-made Registry script to do the task automatically, download following ZIP file, extract it and run the extracted REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it:

Download Registry Script

The ZIP file also contains another registry script to restore default sorting mechanism.

Feel free to share your feedback about this trick in your comment. Did you know it before?





Posted by: | Categories: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP


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