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Change Sort Order in Windows Explorer (All Windows)

Windows XP introduced a different ordering method when sorting numeric file listings in Windows Explorer. Instead of sorting character-by-character in the file name, any numeric string is now handled as a number.

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If you have folders whose name contains digits, the sort order is different in Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP. In Windows 2000, the following file and folder names are sorted as shown:

Ie4_01
Ie4_128
Ie401sp2
Ie5
Ie501sp2
Ie6


In Windows XP, the same files and folders are sorted as:

Ie4_01
Ie4_128
Ie5
Ie6
Ie401sp2
Ie501sp2


To change this behaviour open your registry and find the key below.

Create a new DWORD value named "NoStrCmpLogical" and set it to "1" to use the Windows 2000 sorting method.

Restart Explorer for the changes to take effect.

Note: This tweak is available only with Windows XP Service Pack 1 or greater installed on the system.

Registry Editor Example
|NameTypeData|
|(Default)REG_SZ(value not set)|
|NoStrCmpLogicalREG_DWORD0x00000001 (1)|
-
|HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\...|
-
Registry Settings
User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
Explorer]
System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
Explorer]
Value Name: NoStrCmpLogical
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: (1 = Windows 2000 method)

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Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. We cannot guarantee that problems resulting from modifications to the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

Last modified: June 26, 2003