The location of the setting where you enable the single-click of icons to open them always escapes me. I can never find it when I want to change it on my Mom’s computer. Single-click irritates me, but here’s how to enable or disable it in Microsoft Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
Double-clicking the left mouse button is the conventional way to open apps and windows on Windows 11 PCs. However, today’s computers are becoming more mobile devices friendly and smaller in size. For example, Microsoft Surface and other Windows laptops are compact and come with a touchpad instead of a mouse, Double-clicking on touchpads isn’t comfortable as compared to a mouse. Moreover, you might not want to click or tap twice when one click is enough to access whatever you want. Keep reading to learn various ways to enable or disable the single-clicking feature in Windows 11 and earlier Windows operating systems.
Also read: How to Fix Two-Finger Scroll Not Working
Reasons to Enable Single-Click to Open
Here are the popular reasons why you may want to use a single click to open content on Windows 11 rather than a double click:
- You’re using a touchpad on a laptop or tablet PC
- Saves time
- Increase the life of a mouse by reducing clicks
- The double-click feature of your mouse isn’t working properly
- It’s easier to access apps and files for those users who are unable to perform double-click efficiently
How to Enable or Disable Single Click to Access Items on Windows 11
There are many ways to activate the single click to open files, folders, and apps instead of a double click on Windows 11. Find the commonly used methods here:
1. Use the Folder Options Setting to Open Items With a Single Click
- Open This PC on your Windows 11 PC.
- On the top menu or toolbar, click the See more icon or the ellipses icon.
- This should open a context menu with options like Select all, Select none, including Options. Click Options.
- This opens the Folder Options dialog box.
- You should be in the General tab.
- Under the Click items as follows option, select the Single-click to open an item (point to select) radio button.
- Here, you can also choose any of the following items highlighting options:
- Underline icon titles consistent with my browser: all icons and items will look like a hyperlink on the web browser
- Underline icon titles only when I point at them: pointing an item or icon will show up a hyperlink that you can click to visit the app, folder, or file
- Don’t forget to click the Apply and OK buttons to save and enforce the changes.
- When you want to get back the double-click functionality to open files, folders, and apps, simply go to the Folder Options > General and hit the Restore Defaults button.
Also read: How to Configure File Explorer to Launch to “This PC”
2. Use the File Explorer Options Dialog Box
Similar to the Folder Options, mentioned earlier, there’s a File Explorer Options menu that also lets you activate or deactivate the single click to open items on Windows 11 feature. Here’s how it’s done:
- Hit the Windows + S keys together to bring up the Start menu.
- Start typing File Explorer and the File Explorer Options hyperlink will show up the under the Best match section of the search results.
- Click on File Explorer Options.
- The File Explorer Options dialog box is nothing different than the Folder Options.
- Hence, choose the Single-click to open… option just as you did in the above method to activate the single-clicking functionality to open items on Windows 11.
- When needed, go to the dialog box again and hit the Restore Defaults button to go back to the conventional process of opening files and apps.
- Whenever you make changes in this dialog box, remember to hit the Apply button to enforce the changes made.
3. Enable Single Click to Open Items Using the Registry Editor
When you’re unable to activate the single click to open apps and files on Windows using any of the above two methods, modify the Windows Registry keys by following the following steps. Don’t forget to back up the Registry entries by referring to the linked article before performing this method.
- Open the Run command box by hitting Windows + R keys.
- Then, type regedit in the Run box and hit Enter.
- The Registry Editor shall open.
- Go to the Explorer key from HKEY_CURRENT_USER by expanding these Registry entries:
When inside the Explorer key, follow these steps:
- Double-click the IconUnderline and changed the value to 2. (Default value is 3)
- Double-click the ShellState Registry entry and make the necessary changes as shown in the above image. The default values of the ShellState entry are as shown below:
- Once done making the above changes, restart your Windows 11 PC.
- Now, you should see the same single-click functionality to open files and elements as you saw in the previous methods.
4. Use the Command Prompt to Activate Single-Click to Open Items
If you find the above-mentioned Registry Editor tweak complicated, follow these steps to activate sing-click using a terminal app:
- Open the Command Prompt with administrator rights.
- To do this, search Command Prompt on the Start menu and click the Run as administrator hyperlink.
- Now, copy-paste the following code and hit Enter:
REG ADD "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" /V IconUnderline /T REG_DWORD /D 3 /F
- Again, copy and paste this command and hit Enter:
REG ADD "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer" /V ShellState /T REG_BINARY /D 240000001ea8000000000000000000000000000001000000130000000000000062000000 /F
- Restart the Windows 11 PC.
That’s it! You’ve successfully activated the single-click function to open elements on your Windows 11 PC.
Enable or Disable Single Click on Earlier Windows PCs
Didn’t upgrade to Windows 11 yet? Not a problem since the single-click feature is also available on the following editions of Microsoft Windows operating systems:
- Right-click the Start button and select the File Explorer option.
- Select and navigate to the following options: View > Options > Change folder and search options.
- In the Click items as follows section, choose between the options Single click to open an item or Double-click to open an item.
- Single click to open an item: Pointing an icon or folder selects it and clicking opens it
- Double-click to open an item: Single-click to select an item and double-click to open it
- After selecting any of the above options, hit the Apply button and then click OK to close the dialog box.
Windows 8, 7, & Vista
- Right-click the Start button and select Control Panel.
- Select the Appearance and Personalization option on the left-side navigation pane.
- Click the Specify single- or double-click to open link under the Folder Options setting.
- Doing this will open the Folder Options dialog box.
- In the Click items as follows section, choose Single click to open an item to activate single click to open apps or content.
- Alternatively, click the Double-click to open an item radio button to disable the single-click to open files feature on Windows.
- Click Start and then go to the Control Panel by clicking its icon.
- Open the Folders option.
- Check the option for Single click to open an item to enable single-click to open items.
- To disable the single click, check Double-click to open item.
Single Clicking Feature in Windows: FAQs
What is the function of single clicking?
A single click of the left mouse button enables you to select elements on a Windows PC. However, for hyperlinks on Windows user interfaces (UI), web browsers, and documents, a single click lets you visit the linked window, dialog boxes, or website landing pages.
What is double-click vs single click in Windows 10?
Normally, you use a single click to select an app, folder, document, or file on Windows 10. Contrarily, you use a double click to execute commands like open apps, files, documents, user interface links, etc.
What are the two types of single click?
The single click on a Windows PC or other popular computing devices can be of two types and these are as outlined below:
- A single click of the left mouse button to select content or app icons.
- A single click of the right mouse button to open the Properties of a file, folder, UI element, or app icon.
What is the shortcut key for single click?
When using the Mouse Keys feature on Windows 11 or 10 devices, you can use the numeric 5 key on the Num Pad or number pad section as the left click or right click, similar to a physical mouse.
First, hit the division (/) key on the Num Pad and then press 5 to perform a left click. When you need a right click, just press the minus (-) key on the Num Pad and then press the 5 key to perform a right click.
Now you know how to enable the single-click feature on Windows 11 and the earlier versions as well. Try out the method that suits your needs and device and comment below about your experience of using this exceptional feature of Windows PCs. If you know another effortless way to activate single clicking feature on Windows, comment below.
Next up, learn the best fixes for the left mouse click not working in Windows 11.
Dylan Astrophysicist Walker says
Christine Cowart says
My emails would pop open on the first click and I couldn’t select text, Tried removing checks in Reading pane, double checked that double-click was checked in File Explorer options, it was a might mare. I finally bought a new mouse! For the love of all that is good, that solved all the weirdness and I am thankful, lol
Still didn’t help. singleclick still opens and closes everything. It’s REALLY IRRITATING
Thank it work
Arslan Awan says
Hy, My laptop keep deleting things by his own when i just point a cursor on it. Please can you help me?
☼ I need to highlight more than one file still, to copy or upload multiple files. But now, w/single click, it only opens. What is the fix/shortcut to this?
I want single click, but there must be other people who also want to click & highlight multiple files as well?
john ruben says
Your site and information was the only one that WORKED. Thank you.
William Triplett says
I set it up like this. It stayed that way for one day. Today I get up and the option is greyed out and indicates the setting I wanted but now my mouse functions as a single click open and hover to select. I can not use the method presented here as the option is greyed out.
It worked! thanks!
anupam rai says
YES IT HELP LOT THANKS FOR YOUR INFORMATION GUYS
Eric T Schiro says
This helped a great deal. Thanks a bunch for your knowledge
angry bunny says
Hi THANKS! it has been driving me crazy that single clinking.for the last few years. I am glad it was this easy to fix. Thanks again.