IT.TheLibrarie.Com Ramblings Of An IT Person

June 15, 2010

Drag and Drop Stops Working

Filed under: Microsoft,Troubleshooting — bsdman @ 1:36 pm

I used to have this issue on my Vista 64-bit system: I’d go to drag a file from the desktop to another location either on the desktop or in a nested folder on the computer. In any case, I could not drag the icons. It seemed as though as soon as I’d try to drag it the selection would disappear.
A simple reboot would fix that right up.
I’m not a big fan of rebooting my systems – I try to leave them up and running as long as possible without being a security risk (so roughly a month at a time – although my test slackware server would stay up for a year at a time). I also hate it when software installs and then says “reboot to finish”. I almost always ignore the requests.

So rebooting a system whenever I can no longer drag and drop items on my system is a definite no-no. Anyway, I never really looked further into it as I went back to using XP after trying vista out for a while. I chalked it up to a “vista issue”. Don’t we all?

Fast forward to last week: A coworker of mine complained that he could no longer drag and drop on his Windows 7 x64 system. I told him that he should reboot and it’ll work after that. He rebooted. It worked.

But then today it happened to me. Argh. I closed out of all my terminal sessions to see if that would fix it. Nope. I closed out of all my java-based applets/applications. Nope. I closed all my command windows and MMC windows. Nope. I closed all of my chatting programs (MSN/Pidgin/Skype) and all my remote help programs (gotomeeting/tightvnc/glance/logmein). Nope. I closed all my Microsoft programs (Outlook, Internet Explorer, Excel, Word) and my Mozilla programs (firefox, thunderbird). Nope. Argh, wtf? I even closed my putty sessions and my foobar2000 music player. Notta.

Then I looked in the services.msc and started randomly restarting all available services. Nothing. This was starting to take more time than actually rebooting the machine after installing windows updates.

After a bit of searching, I find a “fix” for XP machines:
regsvr32 ole32.dll
regsvr32 /i shell32.dll

As this is a Windows 7 64bit machine, I have my doubts. But I try them anyway. Nothing.

Then I find this site ( which tells me to press and release (hit) the escape key. Damn, all that wasted time.

SO, if you want to know how to fix it:
Press ESC

That is all.

I also had some other issues that were not solved by the ESC solution above. After pressing both CTRL buttons several times, both Windows Key buttons several times, and both ALT keys several times the problem went away again. Stuck keyboards FTW!


  1. Was very hopeful BUT it is NOT working for me, hitting ESC key. 64bit Windows7, have unchecked the Ease of Access mouse edge box also. The touchpad drag and drop works but not my trackball. Any suggestions?

    Comment by lalewis — July 25, 2013 @ 7:01 am

  2. I didn’t believe it… but ESC fixed it! Incredible! you saved the day!

    Comment by jce — August 22, 2013 @ 8:05 am

  3. Thanks… I used to restart my machine. but Esc key is working….

    Comment by vamshi — September 2, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

  4. That was great, I did outlook.exe /cleanfreebusy and still same issue, but ESC working, thanks

    Comment by Keivan — September 25, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

  5. wow, after searching for 35 minutes ESC worked. u rock!!!!!

    Comment by kurt — October 22, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

  6. I repair computers and didn’t know this. Good job and thanks.

    Comment by Attic — October 25, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

  7. Haha. This thread is amazing! More than three years after publication and the gift keeps on giving. It feels almost stupid to hit esc after searching everywhere for an answer. Almost doesnt want it to work… but I can only add my thanks to the commentaries before me. It worked for me as well!

    Comment by Evan — October 31, 2013 @ 3:37 am

  8. Hi, thanks for the solution. I’ve found that presing “SHIFT+ESC” will disable the drag and drop functionality on my Windos 7. I found that cause every time I run Task Manager with “CTLR+SHIFT+ESC” I lost drag and drop.

    Comment by liam — November 7, 2013 @ 8:17 am

  9. You are my hero, thanks a lot, man! Why does this fucking bull happen randomly anyway?

    Comment by Evulant — November 10, 2013 @ 7:37 am

  10. Recently,probably after an update (post feb,2013) I experienced the drag-drop nuisance item where you have to make several attempts to drag a window across 2 screens. I’ve searched many sites and came up with a common solution being the ‘escape’ key so I tried it. Now when I click on a window I toggle from full scale to window and can’t move it at all. Very frustrating. Win7,sp1,64 bit,logitech wireless mouse new setpoint software

    Comment by Steve — November 12, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

  11. OMG – Thanks so much this was frustrating the crap out of me. Thank you thank you!

    Comment by Luv2DragStuff — November 25, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

  12. Unbelievable – worked for me as well. Thank you!

    Comment by intruderV — November 26, 2013 @ 6:26 am

  13. I dont know what’s the logic behind it, but it worked for me ..Thnx ..

    Comment by Ramesh Palaniappan — December 2, 2013 @ 12:39 am

  14. Its one of these moments!!

    If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

    Thanks for the fix!

    Comment by Phillip Betts — December 4, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

  15. Wow, this has bugged me from time to time on an old 2003 VM I use. Pressing ESC solves the problem, thanks!!

    Comment by Andy — February 26, 2014 @ 9:05 am

  16. Just fixed this for one of my users. Glad I came across this page. Thanks for the fix mate!! I will forever press the “ESC” key for all other issues first. 🙂

    Comment by Anthony — March 11, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

  17. Thank You very much.
    It works 🙂

    Comment by tom — March 12, 2014 @ 4:08 am

  18. Wow, what a crazy solution, still it works Thanks!

    Comment by FlappyChicken — April 15, 2014 @ 12:03 am

  19. It works…………. Thank you so much… 🙂

    Comment by DEBIKA — April 22, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  20. Yep, still works!! Little crazy but it was the fix. User reported not being able to drag and drop emails. Later determined that it was drag in drop in general. And hitting the esc key did the trick.

    Thanks so much!

    Comment by timbows — April 24, 2014 @ 1:59 pm

  21. this is gold. I could not drag in outlook, desktop, anywhere. Hit ESC and bingo. thanks.

    Comment by dhill — May 20, 2014 @ 6:47 am

  22. Wow I’ve been using Windows forever and never experienced this until today. I think Jason (above) got it right. In my case I was not using VMs but instead VNC–working on a PC from a remote PC–and had a problem and afterwards BOTH PCs exhibited this weird “can’t even move a file much less copy-drag it”. I right-click-hold-mouse-hit-ESC and it worked for both machines, the 2nd machine this even worked over the network i.e. I was using VNC Viewer at the time (actually TightVNC).

    Good stuff OP!

    Comment by twofish — August 10, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

  23. Legend. Nailed it in one.

    Comment by JimmyD — September 25, 2014 @ 1:26 am

  24. This Windows 7 issue that cannot drag & drop are there since 2011 and never had a fix even today !!!
    Had Try ESC… Never Work !!!

    Comment by Andy Ngan — October 2, 2014 @ 10:05 pm

  25. Click ESC ? DON’T WORK !!!!

    Comment by Andy Ngan — October 2, 2014 @ 10:13 pm

  26. Wow. I am running Windows 8.1, and as I frequently make use of firefox tab dragging for rearranging and creating new windows and bookmarks, I was really confused when it stopped working. I googled the “firefox” drag and drop issue, and every applicable post is more than 2 years old. This always happens to me, and it is always frustrating. Then one person linked here, and holy crap, reading your intro made me dread having to get in the registry or services or install some 3rd party tool for a defunct OS, when bam, “ESC”. Yeah, it worked perfectly. So relieved, so glad this is still on the internet from June of 2010 (nearly 4 and a half YEARS ago!)

    Comment by Paul — October 23, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

  27. 대박

    Comment by Dooseok — December 3, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

  28. Windows 8.1 (fully patched)
    Outlook pro-plus 2010 (fully patched)

    Escape key works fine!

    Comment by Andrew — December 12, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  29. Holy shyte on a shingle! I’ve just spent an hour googling this with no luck, but this works.

    WTF and unbelievable.

    Comment by mario — January 15, 2015 @ 5:08 am

  30. THANKS!

    Comment by Johan — March 2, 2015 @ 6:26 am

  31. Thank you!! It’s working in Windows 10 Technical Preview (yes, this problem will survive in new Windows). Thanks so much.

    Comment by Travis — March 26, 2015 @ 5:46 pm

  32. Ok. But WHY does this keep happening. I mean it is every time I try to use my computer. I never had this problem before. It really makes me angry.

    Comment by Theresa — August 26, 2015 @ 6:54 pm

  33. NOTHING works for me. I’ve rebooted, unplugged and replugged the mouse, changed to a new mouse, pressed CTRL and ESC individually and together, held the right mouse button and pressed ESC, held the left button and pressed ESC, pressed CTRL+ALT+DEL and then ESC, run regedit and confirmed that the 1802 value is 0, and still I can’t drag and drop. Any other suggestions? And yes, like Theresa, I am beyond angry at this point.

    Comment by Chamberlain — September 26, 2015 @ 7:52 am

  34. The solution for re-enabling drag and drop in Firefox was quite simple: Ensure the “Run this program as an Administrator” check-box is unticked in the windows Firefox shortcut compatibility settings.

    If you were like me, you may have enabled that compatibility setting to resolve issues with other Firefox addons. With recent addon updates, I found that running in administrator mode was no longer needed.

    Hope this helps a few of you with this frustrating problem.

    Comment by WCL — November 14, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

  35. Thanks!
    I had forgotten how to resolve this, but got hit again today, and find again this post.

    So, trouble still occurring for me too, but very infrequently. And esc works great. As others suspect, looks for my case bound to some rdp session switching (rdp to a vm host on which I’ve launch a vm view, to complicate things further).

    (As wcl said, there is some others cases for drag’n drop functionality to be disabled, esc will not solve all cases. The “program running as admin” case, causing the program to ignore any attempt to drag’n drop something to them, is not even really a bug but some kind of security functionality. It disables things like ‘reacting to drag’n drop from other apps’ in order to prevent a “non admin running” program from interacting with an “admin running” program.)

    Comment by Frédéric — December 3, 2015 @ 3:58 am

  36. Drag and drop not working.
    The fixes mentioned above don’t work for me!

    Comment by Reg — January 31, 2016 @ 5:38 pm

  37. Thank you for publishing this!!! You really help me out!

    Comment by Alex — March 16, 2016 @ 2:06 pm

  38. Thanks for this help!! 🙂

    Comment by Nemkumar — March 22, 2016 @ 3:13 am

  39. Thank you from here, too! Esc solved it. (Win 7 64bit)

    Comment by Larry — May 9, 2016 @ 12:49 pm

  40. Hi, sorry this doesn’t work for me. I press esc and it just beeps at me. Never had prob before. Then last Thursday I tried to c and d 2 movies from downloads to my usb and it just says ‘windows explorer has stopped working’ followed by ‘windows explorer is restarting’ and just goes back to the desktop.

    Comment by tom — June 22, 2016 @ 6:50 pm

  41. works for me! thanks!

    Comment by Deborah — October 4, 2016 @ 9:38 am

  42. It’s 2017 and this is still an issue (and ESC still works for me) on Windows 10.

    Comment by Felix — January 11, 2017 @ 10:16 am

  43. Awesome worked for me ! thank you

    Comment by arjun — March 27, 2017 @ 10:52 am

  44. WOW! One of the few computer things that still helps after 8 years! Thanks so much!

    Comment by Lucas — February 17, 2018 @ 11:36 am

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