Windows 10 Drag and Drop not Working

Are you one of the many users experiencing a Windows 10 drag and drop not working problem? Recently, many Windows 10 users have started reporting problems with dragging and dropping files, be it from some folder to the desktop, to a program window or some page on the Internet. Among the many complaints there have been instances of files just disappearing, while the user has attempted to drag them from one location to the next. As a result it may have ended up being unintentionally ‘dropped’ on one of the folders it had been dragged across from point A to point B, which in turn could only be determined after the file in question had been searched for. This bug can manifest in other ways too.

The exact cause of this issue is hard to pin know, but generally it is believed to be rooted in a corrupt Windows Explorer. This might be especially true if you’ve noticed many failed updates and your computer has forced you to reboot it on multiple occasions. Apparently such a string of errors can occur if you have issues with your internet connection or if there is something wrong with the update servers. Another possible reason may be a loss of power while your computer was performing the update in the background. There are safeguards in place to prevent issues like this, but as mos other things these don’t always work out as expected.

The obvious solution to the problem would be to replace/reboot Windows Explorer and this guide is precisely about that. Read on and we’ll walk you through the whole process with our step-by-step instructions to help you solve this ‘drag and drop’ problem. Please note that when you terminate the explorer process you may temporarily experience issues while alt-tabbing and opening other folders. Don’t worry – that’s perfectly normal behavior and even if you don’t manage to finish the guide a simple PC reboot will set things back the way they were.

Windows 10 Drag and Drop not Working Fix

  1. Press the key combination of CTRL + ALT + Delete on your keyboard and choose Task Manager from the list.
  2. Select the Details tab and look for explorer.exe. Now, from here on you will no longer be able to see these instructions, so we suggest you copy them down in order to continue with the procedure.
    Windows 10 Drag and Drop not Working
  3. Once you’ve copied these instructions somewhere, where you’ll be able to see them, and once you have located explorer.exe, right click on it and choose ‘End process tree’, as shown below:
    Windows 10 Drag and Drop not Working
  4. The desktop will have disappeared by now – no reason to panic, this is why you copied the instructions. Click on File at the top left of the Task Manager and choose Run new task.Windows 10 Drag and Drop not Working
  5. In the box that appears, enter explorer and click OK.

Windows 10 Drag and Drop not Working

You should be able to see your desktop now and will be able to drag and drop your files as you please, without experiencing any more problems.

Let us know if this helped!

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About the author

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Violet George

Violet is an active writer with a passion for all things cyber security. She enjoys helping victims of computer virus infections remove them and successfully deal with the aftermath of the attacks. But most importantly, Violet makes it her priority to spend time educating people on privacy issues and maintaining the safety of their computers. It is her firm belief that by spreading this information, she can empower web users to effectively protect their personal data and their devices from hackers and cybercriminals.

165 Comments

      • Same here, tried it, same problem – drag and drop fails during drag, or (in Libre Office Word or Draw) resize handles are changing to rotate handles instead of moving or resizing object on page.

        Kinda irritating, when teaching a computer class about how to use the mouse in Windows 10, LOL!

        • In regard to failed updates, the machine we have, running win 10 with repeating failed updating-and-restarting-and-updating-and-failing-etc of “KB4532695”, does not have the drag and drop problem, LOL! But the one with win 10 pro and no updating problem, that’s the one not being able to drag and drop.

    • Your comment on restarting explorer gave me the idea of restarting all of Windows. Most of my work is in Chrome which relaunches everything when I restart. A Windows restart fixed this.

    • Another website suggested a registry change. I tried to follow their advice and found the entire Policies key in my registry was missing. I copied it from another machine I have and imported to my broken machine; rebooted and all was well.

      Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies

    • We are happy to have helped you. Be sure to contact us in case you run into any other similar type of issue!

  • We are happy that our guide has helped you deal with the unpleasant issue! If you ever happen to come across another similar problem, do not hesitate to contact us again.

  • Missing a step:
    After killing the explorer process, EVERYTHING goes away – including the task manager! (So you can’t click on “File->Run new task”)
    You have to ALT-CTRL-DEL and then click “task manager” – then you can click on “File->Run new task” to start a new instance of explorer.

    • everything APPEARS to go away, just hit ctrl-alt-delete and choose task manager again.
      This works for me, but it’s just temporary. Anyone know what the permanent fix might be?

  • I think that I understand what this problem is. To best illustrate the problem that I am experiencing in Windows 10 open up Microsoft Paint, click on the pencil icon then move the mouse cursor to anywhere on the blank page and left-click-and-hold your mouse to start drawing on the page. If you keep the left mouse button pressed and move the mouse around you find that you end up drawing a series of broken lines – for some reason Windows is breaking the continuous left button press into a random series of press-release-press-release etc. This problem seems to come and go with Windows 10. When the problem is not there the Paint test allows you to draw a long continuous line, however when the problem manifests then the Paint test results in a series of randomly broken up lines.

  • Worked for me, as for the ones who have it to where it doesn’t work for them, I hope you find your answer soon! (Maybe try restarting your computer?)

  • So it’s worth mentioning that you can’t just copy the instructions to a text file or something. You’re best just continueing to read them from a phone or another computer while you finish up.

    • …Or from your browser OTHER than Explorer. Killing explorer.exe may screw your taskbar and desktop, but it won’t touch on your other running programs.

  • Thanks. I had 5 instances of Microsoft Edge running, as well as a number of default Microsoft programs. I ended the processes with each item that had a green leaf, and without restarting, I can now click and drag. thanks so much!

  • Your drag & drop fix worked for me! Yea! It was very frustrating not being able to use it for anything.
    Thank you!!

  • Thanks, sorted the ‘no drag n drop’ I’ve had for a few months – no idea where it came from – some say it’s through auto Windows upgrades, but how do you know and it’s only after the fact you can complain. What’s the point. I’m a Win 10 user. Dave Shave

      • Worked for me, too. I found no less than 12 Explorer.exe processes running and, on deleting them all and running Explorer again, the drag and drop returned – just in time to bring my blood pressure down from dangerous levels.
        Many, many, thanks.
        Malcolm

  • It could be way easier.
    Just go into the Taskmanager and rightclick windows-explorer within the procceses-tab. Then hit restart.

  • Unfortunately it did not work for me.
    I thought this was a very new bug. But from what I can see here it has been around for around 2 years now (?).
    In addition to the instructions, I also rebooted before I created the new task (I have a restoration back up). When W10 loaded again, it had recreated Explorer on its own. But most importantly, the problem was still there 🙁
    I guess is time to install Linux Mint again (I cannot do without this very basic feature).

  • I have two problems simultaneously with Windows 10: all of a sudden, neither drag and drop nor right click are working. This means nothing happens if I right-click on Explorer.exe so I cannot get to Endprocesstree. I have tried to fix the right click problem, but nothing has worked so far. Any suggestions?

  • Is there any other way to correct this problem. I tried the esc key ploy but that did not work either. Those are the only two ways I have tried. I also did a Win 10 redo where I lost all my programs but all my files were saved. That did nothing either. HELP!

  • When I end the process tree, my screen goes black and I don’t see anything to, not possible to click on File. Is that normal?

    • Do this: Ctrl+Alt+Del at once

      Note: the instruction did not work for me. I repeated many times, but the result remain the same: did not work

  • Well I still cant move multiple photos from one folder to another but I can do them one at a time which is a bonus so I’m happy with result. No more folders being put inside other folders, was about to buy a new mouse as I thought it was either me or the mouse. Just got to stop the message Low Disk Space for Local Disk E which keeps coming up since the updates despite there being nothing in E and I’ll be happy.
    Thank you

  • Hi There, Sorry to advise but this didn’t work for me. It came up with Microsoft could find explorer after completing last step. Still unable to drag open files from laptop screen 1 to 2 monitor. .Second monitor shows desk top screen different to laptop.

  • This did not work for me. In step 5, explorer was already typed in the box. I tried deleting it and re-entering it, unsuccessfully. I tried it with the checkbox checked and unchecked, unsuccessfully.

    I have also been having difficulty using MS Word. Highlighting text for purposes of cut-and-paste was not working, “Saving” documents was problematic.

  • If this is like the issue I just experienced, there may be a simpler solution:

    Instead of killing and restarting explorer.exe, try typing Win+L to lock your desktop, then log back in to unlock it. Worked for me in a flash, but YMMV.

    P.S.: If your Windows shortcut key isn’t working, you can also type Ctrl+Alt+Del and choose Lock, then log back in as above.

    • This worked for me for about 30 seconds then the problem returned. Still it is a nice quick action so possible to do frequently.

  • Didn’t work. This is a killer problem in any application that needs the press and move action: explorer, paint, drag and drop in webmail, mark text in word, etc etc and to say that shutting down and restarting explorer is a solution is frankly ridiculous.

    Solutions like this appear to work for some people because the problem often clears temporarily when you don’t use the touchpad for a while.

    I have found that to putting the computer to sleep and waking it up is the best way to a problem-free period of use.

  • Yesssss, it worked, thank goodness!! Thank you! Although very important, I would let people know to shut down any programs they have running, I had no clue to do that 1st. Ooops!

  • My problem is with outlook, when transferring mail from inbox to folders the mail gets dropped and disappears. When I stop explorer the problem goes away, when I re- start explorer again the problem comes back

  • Hi, my problem is similar to this when I copy a folder no problem, but when I move a folder it creates the output folder in the new location but does nothing else. sometimes the files also disappear, tried your method to no avail. I had had this problem for a long while but it went away after a windows update & now after another update the problem has come back.

    • They will probably patch it out soon – if it isn’t bothering you too much, it may be better to simply way for a new update.

  • This seems to work temporarily for folders on the same machine. I have several shortcuts to my server folders on my desktop. I cannot drop any files onto these shortcuts anymore. They all worked just fine prior to 1903 update. I also have pinned network folders to the quick access in explorer and they also no longer work.

    • Did you ever find a solution? Same problem, after important system updates regarding 1903, my network folder no longer allow me to drag, and drop into the folder icons. I have to manually open the folder then drag, and drop. I noticed this issues after enabling, and disabling the folder option regarding folder extensions related to convert an excel file into a CSV file.

  • Worked for me.
    I was having problems reordering files within lists in programs like Mendeley and Arcmap and also moving icons around in my start menu.

  • Folks running 1903 on Win 10 Pro will not see fix using these steps. It is some kind of network folder permission bug. Should of been caught during beta on Pro, but it did not. Hopefully a fix come soon via update. Bit of a pain when you have a lot of folder shortcuts.

  • Didn’t work for me.
    I just had Win update last night and I am assuming that is what caused it. Might be some new idiot idea from Microsoft.

  • Printed instructions, ran the routine several times. Does not make a difference.
    What I’m experiencing is sometimes-yes, sometimes-no function. When I leave to computer running for an hour or so, come back, drag-drop works. When using it continuously drag-drop function will eventually go away. Like a memory use issue.

  • Thanks, this helped! Two days ago my PC suddenly became so slow that I decided to reboot. After rebooting the drag/drop function didn’t work anymore. I also noticed that there was a windows update installed as my gfx drivers were set to factory and my vpn didn’t start up.

  • Simpler solution
    Open windows explorer and left mouse click on any file you have the rights to open. Keep the left mouse button down and press ESC button on keyboard. Drag and drop will now be re-enabled.

  • Hi,

    I tried so many options, including this guide. I tried this one 7 times, but it seems did not work.
    THE PROBLEM is with my mouse. I installed a new mouse, and EVERY THING IS WORKING GOOD.

    Make sure, your mouse is working good as well.

  • I tried this like 4x and it doesn’t work. I tried left-click + esc and that didn’t work either. Neither did restarting chrome or my computer. I also went in and disabled touch drag and drop. Still not working.

  • Didn’t work. Also killed all my programs. No they weren’t “hiding” they were shut down. Had to restart them all. Glad I saved all the Photoshop files I was working on before trying this “fix”. :-/

  • This worked great… However, after ending the explorer process tree, I did not lose any of my desktop, and could continue to read your web page as normal. Thanks for the tip, however. I am hoping it “sticks”.

  • I have been having this problem and every time I restart the computer it works for a short time then it stops suddenly the longer its been on I have tried everything that i have seen recommended. I even ran virus checks on malware and using anti virus and nothing comes up. I have updated apps I use normally and still nothing.

  • This solution did not work for me. Today is December 30, 2019 and this has been a problem for me for roughly 3 weeks.

    My machine is restarted every day so I suspected that it would not work.

    I have two monitors on my laptop, a 2560×1440 on the laptop and a 4k. I cannot reliably drag a window on either of the screens or from the laptop screen to the large screen or 4k to the laptop.

    Attempts to click on the window bar and drag are successful about 30% of the time. The cursor is in the correct place but when I drag, the cursor moves but the windows doesn’t and then I see a selection box on the desktop. The mouse cursor seems to think that I released the button and then depressed it again about 50 milliseconds later.

    I can click on the window header then wiggle the mouse, if the window moves then I can start to drag. If I go slowly, the window will drag about 25 or 30% of the time. The rest of the time, the window stops moving and the mouse cursor keeps going.

  • did not work. followed instructions. these are jpegs that are from my sd card, to desktop, then unable to move to pix folder.

  • Worked for me! So glad someone posted something I hadn’t actually tried before.. Also I couldnt click anything when I ended the process and task manager was gone, maybe include a section where you show people how to get task manager back again? Thanks!

  • Thank you so much man, you’re a life savor.. i wasted one whole hour trying to drag audio file into FL studio.. such a waste of time. thanks a lot.

  • Could not drop and drag url to desktop. the right click then choose end process tree, then click on file @ top left of task manager and choose run new task, and then type explorer and then click ok didn’t work. Not I cannot not find it put it back like it was.

  • I had 2 instances of the destination folder open. When I closed one of them, I was able to move files to the remaining open folder. So I did not try your solution, though it looked well written. I appreciate it.

  • Unfortunately I went through all of the steps through task master and whilst it looked like working, the drag & drop still didn’t work after desk top reappeared.

  • Did not work plus you didn’t state that Desktop would disappear so saved instructions were not visable – luck I had another laptop to solve finding Desktop again

  • Nope, “no change, no change”!
    I can see by the above dates and comments that this is an ongoing problem for
    several years. Have you no alternative suggestions after all this time?
    Please offer other suggestions.

  • Worked for me, I was also told a full computer restart would’ve done the same thing. Thank you for the information

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