I first became aware of the problem when Dotan posted about it in the Ghacks forum. He mentioned that he could not "figure out how to get the File Browser to stop trying to rename files" when clicking on them. There are two situations where Windows interprets a left-click on a file or folder as a request to rename the file.
It happens if the file is already highlighted in Windows Explorer and if it is left-clicked again, or if the user double-clicks on the file and the double-clicks are interpreted as two single clicks.
First the bad news: There is no option to disable the left-click renaming feature in Windows. There are however settings and options that may help prevent the situation in first place.
The easiest option is to left-click on the icon and not on the name if the file or folder is already highlighted in Windows Explorer. This will never trigger the rename and is usually the safest option. I'm not sure why someone would like to left-click on an already highlighted file again but there are users apparently who do that. Highlighted files and folders can also be opened with the enter key.
The majority of problems seems to stem from double-clicks on files and folders that are interpreted as single clicks by Windows. This could indicate that the double-click speed of the mouse is not configured properly. A click on the Start button, then Control Panel and there Mouse opens the mouse properties where the double-click speed can be configured.
Note: On newer versions of Windows, use Windows-Pause to open the Control Panel, click on "Control Panel Home" when the window opens, and select Mouse from there.
The slider needs to be moved closer to Slow in the configuration window to increase the click time between left-mouse clicks that are interpreted by Windows as a double-click.
Another option available is to switch from a double-click to open items to a single click. This can be changed in the folder options. A click on Tools > Folder Options in Windows Explorer opens the menu where the setting can be changed. Items are from that moment on opened with a single mouse click which prevents the renaming to trigger.
Note: On newer versions of Windows, select File > Change Folder and Search options instead.
This is probably not the best option though as you need to get accustomed to the new way of opening files. In addition, it changes how you select files as well as you cannot single-click on individual files anymore for that as it would open those.
Those are the options available to prevent that a left-click on an item renames it in Windows Explorer. Have you found another solution? Let us know in the comments.
Tip: you may also want to check the F2-key on your keyboard as it is the shortcut key to rename files and folders in Windows Explorer. Make sure the key is not stuck as it may cause the issue as well.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.