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** FIX ** the "broken" sort order in Windows

What were they thinking?

(filename: hh6sort-order.htm)

Reactionary? Moi?

Maybe you like the way Windows has been sorting things for some time at October 21?

Me? No. I do not like it.

This is all about what Windows calls "Numerical Sorting". Bah. It was fine, for many years. Then "they" "fixed" it... not.

(I'll calm down in a moment.)

So what are the alternatives?

 == Old sort order   == New, "improved" sort order ==
       01.txt                   01.txt
       02.txt                    1.txt
        1.txt                   02.txt
       11.txt                    2.txt
      111.txt                   2a.txt
        2.txt                   11.txt
    21135.txt                21a35.txt
    21735.txt                   22.txt
    21a35.txt                  111.txt
       22.txt                21135.txt
       2a.txt                21735.txt
      aaa.txt                  aaa.txt

In the old days, qToBeWritten--- what old days were, and why BETTER.

Do we want "Numerical Sorting?"

Microsoft has dubbed the new way "numerical sorting".

It is the default state, in Windows at 10/21. It had been the default state for some time then.

If you, like me, don't like the new sorting rules, then you will want to disable "numerical" sorting.

Fear not. If you subsequently change your mind, decide you want numerical sorting, you can enable it again, by something very like what you did to disable it.

How to change from or to numberical sorting

"All" you need to do is to tweak the registry.

Registry tweaks can go disasterously wrong. If you aren't confident about doing a registry tweak, read up about it.

Be very careful that the script you submit is a GOOD script, with no typos.

I learned almost everything you see here from the following excellent source...

www.tenforums.com/tutorials/91417-enable-disable-numerical-sorting-file-explorer-windows-10-a.html

I disabled the numerical sorting, by the instructions in the above, on one of my machines a long time ago. Since then, I've done the same thing to several other machines. I haven't done it to a Windows 11 machine, I don't think I've ever needed to do it to a pre-Windows 10 machine. I have never regreted doing it.

The webpage cited gives you several options. I'm going to present one here that should work on a wide range of Windows 10 machines... and also Windows 11, I suspect.

You should very seriously consider backing up your Windows registry before starting... in case you make mistakes.

This would also be a good time to "tidy" your system... don't have more things open just now than you need to have open. Save any work you've been doing.

Once you're ready, you need a little text file. You can download what you need from the TenForums page. It will have a ".reg" extension. But don't let that scare you... you can open it with any text editor, and see what's inside.

You can call the file anything you like, as long as it is given a ".reg" extension. The name used by TenForums for what you need to DIS-able numerical sorting, to go back to the old sorting rules is...

Disable_numerical_sorting_in_File_Explorer.reg

This is what is in that...

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; Created by: Shawn Brink
; Created on: August 14th 2017
; Tutorial: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/91417-enable-disable-numerical-sorting-file-explorer-windows-10-a.html


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
"NoStrCmpLogical"=dword:00000001

HTML can make it hard to see where lines end. The file needs to start each line as follows...

Windows Reg...

; Created by...
; Created on...
; Tutorial: https://www...


[HKEY_LOCAL...
"NoStrCmpLogical"=dword...

Note in particular that NoStrCmp... and [HKEY... are on separate lines.

Save that on the computer you want to affect, with .reg as the extension.

(I'm sure you can leave some of those lines, and/or the blank lines out... but I'm not COMPLETELY sure, so I've presented the .reg file exactly as it was presented at TenForums. (Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and did some experimenting. As I suspected, the blank lines and the lines starting with semi-colons can be omitted... but don't fail to start the file with a line saying "Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00".)

Good. Having caught our rabbit, how do we make the stew?

All we need to do, after crossing fingers, is to double-click on the .reg file!

You'll probably have to say "Yes, I want to do this" to the Windows UAC system. Anything could be in that .reg file... and bad things would be catastrophic.

You may well get some dire warnings, with "Are you sure?..." at the end of them.

Say "Yes"

Hopefully, the next thing you will see is a message saying "The keys and values [you submitted] have been added to the Registry successfully."

But don't rejoice yet!

All is probably okay... but the changes you've made to the registry won't take effect immediately.

Probably the simplest thing would be to simply restart the computer. After you've done the restart, you the wretched "numerical sorting" should be GONE.

If you'd rather not do a reset for some reason, the TenForums page explains an alternative. Apparently, "restarting the explorer.exe process" will what we need.

There's a link from the TenForums page to one about restarting the explorer.exe process. That page says you have four options,,,

Me? I like to Keep Things Simple. I like to stick to a small number of things I need to do, things I've learned HOW to do, and leave "messing around" with unfamiliar things to people who want an "exciting" life.

I restart my computer quite often. It is an unexeptional event. It is not a great hassle.

So that's the approach I'll use to put the registry tweak into action. But as TenForums was so helpful to me, I thought it only fair to mention the alternatives they put forward.

One reason I am shying away from being clever about how I "restart the explorer.exe" is that when I have to go to the Task Manager, sometimes I have both a "Windows Explorer" process, and a "Explorer" process running. Using Task Manager to turn processes on and off is not something I do unless I am forced to. (And even then, I do it unhappily!)

(You can delete the .reg file after you've done the above.)

To complete the picture...

If you want to go back to the "normal" (at 10/21) sorting rules, here is the script for that...

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; Created by: Shawn Brink
; Created on: August 14th 2017
; Tutorial: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/91417-enable-disable-numerical-sorting-file-explorer-windows-10-a.html


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
"NoStrCmpLogical"=-

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
"NoStrCmpLogical"=-

HTML can make it hard to see where lines end. The file needs to start each line as follows...

Windows Reg...

; Created by...
; Created on...
; Tutorial: https://www...


[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\...
"NoStrCmpLogical"=-

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\...
"NoStrCmpLogical"=-

Remember: the one just given ENABLES Numerical Sorting... the "new" rules that I don't like.

You need to DISABLE Numerical Sorting to get the "old" sorting rules.

A few words from the sponsors...

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