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How to Fix Double Click Always Opens Search in Windows Explorer

If you mess around in the registry, or install some different software packages that add things to the right-click menu, you can end up with a problem where the default action on a folder is always “Search…”, even though you set it to something else.

There’s a quick and easy fix for this problem. Open up regedit.exe by using Start\Run and then browse down to this registry key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell

Double-click on the default value and set it to “none” without the quotes, as seen here:

 

This will restore the normal behavior.

Update

If you are also experiencing this problem when you try to click on a drive, you can run this command from the run box or command prompt:

regsvr32 /i shell32.dll

This should restore the normal behavior.

If you are getting a message that says “Windows cannot find ‘PET32.exe'”, then at some point you had a virus, or still have a virus. First, make sure that you run a virus scanner to get rid of the virus. Then run the regsvr32 command above, which should fix the problem.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/25/06

Comments (107)

  1. Gregory Polcsik

    Hello,
    Thank you for a fix on my double click problem!
    Also moved the setting on my mouse down from the fastest
    speed.
    Thanks again for your great help!

  2. Jeff

    Ditto for me, thanks for the info that fixed my nagging double-click “search” problem.

  3. sriraj

    thanks a lot i tried and tried finally got an answer from u r website,

    thankz a lot mate

    Regardz

  4. alan

    You gave me the confidence to edit the registry!

    Your fix worked perfectly. I’ll now leave ‘file folder’ options well alone!!

    Thanks again

    Kind Regards

  5. The Geek

    I’m glad to hear it helped all of you!

    I had broken my own system while testing, and it look a long time for me to figure out the problem… seemed like a great article topic.

  6. Kurt Olsen

    Thanks, I needed this fix! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Shenwei Liu

    Thanks, Geek! It resolved my problem quickly. The topic is also very easy to search from the Google.

  8. Joshua Jonah

    Also, if it is happening with the HD icons (c:,d:,etc…) just do the same thing at “HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell”
    ;)

  9. June

    Tanks you soooooo much. I was getting infuriated by this. Solved my problem!!!! You’re a superstar!

  10. CourtneyJade

    ohhhhhhh man, this helped me so much! i was about to lose my mind trying to make it stop searching like that. thank you soooooo much!!!!!!!

  11. Jeff Herron

    Just what I needed to get our web server file navigation behaving again. Thanks for sharing!

  12. snikle

    Thanks! Man, I so hated that! Thank you for posting this.

  13. Ashutosh Jha

    I am having a strange problem. As I double click my external USB drive my system tries to run it as the drive were an executable file. The drive only opens by right click and open or explore option. The search option is above open or explore in the right click. Please suggest

  14. The Geek

    Ashutosh,

    Is the drive attempting to autoplay? If so, you might want to check this out:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows/disable-autoplay-of-audio-cds-and-usb-drives/

  15. Frank W. Moore

    Bless you, oh Mighty Geek. That change doth driveth me bonkers. I did add the Print Directory option for Windows Explorre recommended by the Evil Wizards of Microsoft, which, as always, was their gift and their curse.

  16. BrankoH

    Thanks. You are a man.

  17. The Geek

    BrankoH,

    I was aware that I am a man, but thanks for the note anyway =)

  18. ska_kostas

    Thankssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  19. tregorran

    Onya mate! Simon Australia

  20. Shahzad Khan

    thanks alot mate, that helped me, and I was thinking of a damn reset !
    anyways thanks alot, and the drive thing helped too, as some one mentioned !

    peace
    -mE

  21. Mutasem

    Hi All

    I have the same problem except that when i double click …nothing happens… and when I right click the drive icon, the first choice is Auto play…not search ……

    I went to the registry, it`s already made the way u said it…
    any help please?

  22. Kristian

    Thank God!!!
    I thought I’d have to get used to right-click opening
    Thank you soo much.

  23. waheed

    Hi.
    i have a problem can any body help me solve this problem my problem is that when i double click the drives(D,E,G,H) ,The drive is not open by double click and a window appear ‘open with’ and AUTO is in the top position when i right click any drive (D,E,G,H). I have to open the drive by clicking the right click and choose ‘open’.and its a real bad problem.surprisingly drive C is not suffering from this problem.I’ll appritiate the comments

  24. Nick

    Finally!! Thanks dude – this gave me a great start, though my problem was solved by also clearing the default value for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell

  25. meetesh

    Hi all ,
    I am unable to solve this yet:( any other solutions?
    Thanks

  26. CongPC

    I have the problem with Auto in right-click menu too, I found out that this caused by a Trojan Virus named W32.Fujacks. I could disinfact the virus however can not fix the double-click issued. :(

  27. CongPC

    oh god, I resolved the problem with right-click menu :-D

    Go to the the registry editor:
    under the key
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2

    delete all sub keys which have similar structure like:
    Shell\Auto
    Shell\Auto\command with value = C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\RunDLL32.EXE Shell32.DLL,ShellExec_RunDLL infrom.exe
    Shell\AutoRun
    Shel\AutoPlay

    the value from Shell\Auto\command could be whatever execution file

    Hope this help you. If you have further question, you can email me at congpc@gmail.com

  28. VINOD KUMAR

    Hi my drive problem is still not solved. could someone please suggest me how to open my drive when i double click.

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell is not working.

    Please email me the solution at vinod@shalimar.com.cn

  29. Pratik

    thank you very much.. you helped me solve this huge headache….

  30. Pete

    Nothing to say except you deliver the goods every single time! Kudos!

  31. Guru

    thanks a lot i tried and tried finally got an solution through regsvr32 /i shell32.dll, thankx a lot

    Regardz

  32. kreikins

    i followed the instructions exactly but it stated that it was already set to none. what am i gonna do next? sorry for the bad english though.

  33. ddmy

    Thanks!! This really helped me when I could not get answers anywhere else.

  34. Dale

    Googled “open folder always search”, yours was the 2nd listed–fix was quick and clean: thanks a lot!!

  35. Bashar

    hello

    Really Thanx thats problem make me mad

  36. David

    Thanks for your solution to opening my drive objects: Something that I installed changed the default to “search”. Your solution restored the automatic opening of the object. Thanks again.

  37. Jamie

    The second fix using the cmd interface worked great for me. I am at work and unable to make registry edits due to restrictions placed on my computer by IT. This fixed my problem with the double click opening the search dialog. Thanks!!!

  38. Damion

    I have been trying to sort this double click thing out for ages ….

    Thank god i found you , and thanks for the advise..

    Legends

    :-)

    Damion

  39. vee. South Africa

    i didn’t believe any1 else experienced this problem as have tried searching so many times. This issue was on my work PC and I’ve had to right click open for over 1year…

    i can not thank u enough for putting and end to this frustration… Microsoft suggested i reinstall windows! its they fix for everything!

    big ups man

  40. top

    I had the problem same as Ashutosh Jha, there was unable for me to double click to open the external USB harddisk drive. It’s only can be opens by right click and then select “explore” option.
    Anyone there can help me to solve this problem? Please advice, thank you so much.

  41. Din

    I recently attacked by a virus, I Successfully delete it. But then, I have problem when I double-click my hard drive, it won’t open. Instead, a message box appear (message related to that virus script). Please help he to repair this. Thanx in advanced.

  42. TOP

    I posted my problem on May 18, 2005 as below:
    “I had the problem same as Ashutosh Jha, there was unable for me to double click to open the external USB harddisk drive. It’s only can be opens by right click and then select “explore” option.
    Anyone there can help me to solve this problem? Please advice, thank you so much. ”

    But, what i get from all the feedbacks and steps is working on INTERNAL (IDE) hard disk, and totally not working for the EXTERNAL USB Hard disk.

    Anyone there can help me to solve it?

  43. David

    regsvr32 /i shell32.dll worked for for my C partition, thanks, but my D partition comes up with cannot find PET32.EXE

  44. Karan

    Thanks a lot for the help boss! I was struggling for days to get this fixed. Much appreciated!

  45. top

    My problem still cannot be solved. Anyone there knows how to solve it ON EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE? Pls help, thanks.

  46. Brian Turner

    Great thank u. Was driving me very, very, very mad!

  47. me

    Thhhhhhaaaaaannnk you!!!!!!!!!

  48. atul

    sir/madam

    please send me a alternate method as soon as possible because above mention method doesn’t help me out from this problem

    thanx

  49. sm

    thanks a lot because it was driving me crazy :D

  50. Eddie

    Thanks a lot… it has been driving me crazy…

  51. memo

    hi all i solved it go to computer manegment ,disk manegment then change your drive letter ,then change it again as it was >>>>> it fix all partition but system partitin can be changed

  52. atul

    sir/madam,
    I am really glad to see your immediate reply regarding my double click problem but it is solve when we right the mouse and search option is the first choice but in the other computer in which auto play comes first after right click it didn’t work please help me out from this problem. first we tried (hkey_classes_root/drive/shell).tell me other solutions

    thanxxxxx

  53. Morris

    I had a similar prob but wasnt helpfull the regedit things and i found solution and posted here i hope it helps

    http://www.devhardware.com/forums/storage-devices-80/problem-with-partition-and-external-devices-139874.html#post682641

  54. kyon

    thanks…
    I solve the problem double click ‘search’ but now the problem is my brother change the command…
    My Computer/Tools/Folder Options/File Types
    select Drive then click Advanced…
    then click New…
    Action is Open
    Application action is openfiles.dll
    After that i can’t remove it….
    How i need to do now?

  55. Rolls Babe

    Wow !! I was bugged by right click,, now double click is perfect!!
    Thanks

  56. Merv

    Hi All

    I have the same problem except that when i double click …nothing happens… and when I right click the drive icon, the first choice is Auto play…not search ……

    I went to the registry, it`s already made the way u said it…
    any help please?
    Mutasem Identicon Icon Mutasem on March 22, 2007 7:48 am

    hiii i have this same problem as well….. anyway i could solve it? edited the registry, but its still the same….

  57. Ali

    Thanks for help…but after restarting system it happens again….?

  58. Kumara

    Thanx Dude

  59. atul kaniyal

    sir/madam

    when i ldoub click on any drive(c:,d: or e:) on my computer its show’s message access denied.but it open from right click . kindly me out.

  60. lokesh

    Hi,

    Thanks friend. I fixed my problem after many days.

    Lokesh

  61. atul

    sir/madam

    when i double click (c:, d: e:), on my computer it didn’t work, after right click it shows auto play.
    help me as soon as possible.

  62. zahari

    Hi.
    i have a problem can any body help me solve this problem

    In my taskbar, suddenly there is another taskbar and when i click on it, the default page of the IE is (chinese website). when i deleted the IE in the taskbar, and then go to my local drive c: or d: the darn thing came back again.

    and…in my local drive c: when i go in, there are pagefile.exe and autorun.inf.

    i already tried to delete the two files but when i deleted it, i cannot double click and go in my local drive c: using double click. there will be a small window saying “open with”

    what should i do?

    i already tried many anti-virus and spyware program but this still happen,….

  63. atul

    hi
    my problem is solve with this command([HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2

    delete all sub keys which have similar structure like:
    Shell\Auto
    Shell\Auto\command with value = C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\RunDLL32.EXE Shell32.DLL,ShellExec_RunDLL infrom.exe
    Shell\AutoRun
    Shel\AutoPlay

    but when we restart my pc it will remain same.
    please help me out from this trouble.

  64. atul

    sir
    my problem (Acess deied after clicking on drive) is solve by this command

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MountPoints2

    delete all sub keys which have similar structure like:
    Shell\Auto
    Shell\Auto\command with value = C:\\WINDOWS\\system32\\RunDLL32.EXE Shell32.DLL,ShellExec_RunDLL infrom.exe
    Shell\AutoRun
    Shel\AutoPlay

    but when we restart our pc it will remain same.
    please help me out.
    thanxx

  65. krishna

    sir
    iam facing with a problem in my desktop pc.iam using windows xp proffessional sp2 and Norton antivirus.problem is i canot open my C or D or E drive by double click.when i double
    click on these drives ,its not open,its showing ”openwith”.pls provide me a better solution for this.i format and re installed this,but its till persisting..
    thanking you

    krish

  66. Omer Hanif

    Super help, very nice and many thanks. God bless you

    Regards

    Omer

  67. kunal

    Hi.
    i have a problem can any body help me solve this problem my problem is that when i double click the drives(D,E,G,H) ,The drive is not open by double click and a window appear ‘open with’ and AUTO is in the top position when i right click any drive (D,E,G,H). I have to open the drive by clicking the right click and choose ‘open’.and its a real bad problem.surprisingly drive C is not suffering from this problem.I’ll appritiate the comments

  68. shaun

    Hi all

    can anyone help with the problem Im having, I have my mouse set to double click but when I click on a folder or desktop icon it takes only one click to open and even then I sometimes get 2 or 3 windows open as a result the problem is worse with web browsing if I click on a weblink I will get anything upto 5 web pages open, to be honest this is driving me nuts, Ive tried starting in safe mode and logging on as administrator and changing folder options to double click and even default setting but nothing seems to work.

    Regard
    Shaun

    ps even when I try and check the Notify me of followup comments via e-mail box below it takes about 6 clicks b4 the box will stay checked.

  69. Hanson

    I’m having a problem, whenever I double click on a drive or folder, The search box pops up in a new window.

    I’ve tried using the above methods, but they all don’t work!

    Can some one please help me to solve this problem.

    Hanson

  70. Halo-D

    *O* ! finally!!
    thank you so much!
    i been looking for this solution for ages!
    its been so annoying thing i had no open option in my context menu,and it was like working with dos over address bar in explorer window all the time..
    and to many windows were filling up my screen,it was terrible.. -.-‘
    but thanks to you my windows again is fully easy double click-able once again! :D
    thank you for making this awesome post!

  71. kimwele peter muuwo

    Wonderful site.

  72. Azmat

    Hi i m getting the similar kind of proble.First i tell u some background of the problem.My system was infected with w32.Nomvar .I used the the latest symantic and get rid of that virus.But when i restrded my machine and double clicked on the Dirve a search box with message Ravmon.exe not found opened.
    When i right clicked the drive then there is now 1st option of autoplay and instead of Open and Explore option there is some symbolic language aur chinese language type words.I tried the above method and it worked but whenever i restart my machine the same problem occures.I have also tried with deleting the whole MountePoints2 key but the problem is still there when i reset my machine

  73. David

    When I double click to open a drive i get the error message “cannot find pet32.exe”

    I have to open the drive with right click>>explore

  74. Harold

    God Bless you!
    I’m not sure how I got into the mess. But to get out I must have tried Windows shortcuts and almost messed up index.dat and some temp space files which had to be corrected by scan disk. Then I tried an internet search and found you. As soon as I made the change the result was immediate. Thanks again.

  75. Twins

    Great!
    Thanks alot, it worked perfectly, except for the control panel which is still having the same problem
    But still thanks alot

    Jeddah
    Saudi Arabia

  76. nilesh

    hey nice dude .this very nice trick . i am just add this value regsvr32 /i shell32.dll in cmd &
    my prb is solve.thanks man.keep it up.

  77. nitin

    hello friend

    my problem is little unique whenever i click on my computer icon it opens but no drive is shown on the screen only battry searching for a folder is shown and it remains for long time and after 15 to 20 min all drives appears. To stop this what is the solution?

  78. Azmat

    Hi i m getting the similar kind of problem.First i tell u some background of the problem.My system was infected with w32.Nomvar .I used the the latest symantic and get rid of that virus.But when i restrded my machine and double clicked on the Dirve a search box with message Ravmon.exe not found opened.
    When i right clicked the drive then there is now 1st option of autoplay and instead of Open and Explore option there is some symbolic language aur chinese language type words.
    I tried the above method and it worked but whenever i restart my machine the same problem occures.I have also tried with deleting the whole MountePoints2 key but the problem is still there when i restart my machine

  79. Azmat

    can any1 solve my problem …..
    i m tired of deleting MountPoints2 keys …and i have to do everytime i retsart my macinhe :(

  80. chris

    thanks for that prob solver ,clicking on drive icon and i got search , well you sorted it for me thank you very much , but what can cause this ? pls

  81. Amin

    Hey man, you’re incredible. This was the only place over the giant internet that I could find the solution.
    Thenks so much

  82. laal

    the problem is when i right-click on c,d,e,f (these all hard drive partitions) some sambols apaer when i et in the registry and do the same which u have said its solve the problem but a littel is there that on the right click explorer windows is still there can send me the step by step solution thanx

  83. laal

    sorry, but the problem remains the same when i restart my computer what should i do remove this problem for ever thanx

  84. rainbow

    Hii the problem is sloved but returns when we restart.. i guess its becoz something is altering the registry again when we restart..any help??

  85. The Geek

    If this problem returns every time you restart your computer, then you have a virus and should scan the computer using any antivirus package.

  86. sukhpal35

    well ! you solve my problem which made me crazy

  87. Splendid Daniel

    Hi. I’ve solved for the Auto added in right click menu which infected by Trojan even it had cleanup by virus scanner.

    1. Right click on those “infected” local drives

    2. Choose Open

    3. If can’t see any hidden/blur filename, click Tools–>Folder Option–>View–>untick the “Hide extension for known file types”, then click OK.

    4. back to the local drive which has opened

    5. find and delete a hidden/blur file called “autorun.inf”

  88. Joe

    thanks soo much for this..it fixed the problem..it was realy annoying me..thanks to you its fixed

  89. kumar

    Thank you …………….

  90. vijay

    thank you but this is not worked

  91. Chaish

    Thanks for the help! My head ache now beginning to subside.

  92. Nishkarsh

    thanks man, i was suffering from this problem and with the help of u i resolved it.

  93. Ravenwolfvoyager

    The regedit instructions didn’t work even after changing it to none for some reason? But the command line did the trick! Thanks a million times!

  94. Lay

    hi. i have this problem.
    WIndows title: PET32.exe
    Message : Wndows cannot find ‘PET32.exe’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click Start button, and then click Search.

    Help pls.

    Regards.

  95. rizwan

    Hi,

    would you please tell me how to solve the problem of opning the windows disk drivers with right click.
    am having a problem with my pc ..when i try to open the Disk Drives with right click it shows some different symbols and text except the open option.

    please anyone will help me to fix this problem.

    thanks………………………

    riz

  96. rizwan

    Hi

    would you please tell me how to fix the problem of unplugging the USB.
    am having a problem ..when i try to disconnect the USB with this option.
    sistem tray—–>right click to unplug the USB———->STOP— USB multi flash deivece.. Here it will not sefely remove its giving some message…..i have already close the all application related to the USB ..but still not unplugged..some times i was directly remove the USB from port …

    please anyone will help me to fix this problem.

    thank you

    rizwan

  97. kwsngtan

    Hi! Thanks for ur information that help me to fix the problem. My computer work well now!
    Thank you so much!
    Thank for sharing!

  98. channa de alwis

    Hi,

    I am having a problem with Cricketworldcup.dll.vbs script, it is in my drive C,D,E and it will not allow me
    to double click & open the drive and also internet explorer got effected & showing some bad words in the
    window title bar, please help me to recover the problem

    thank you

    channa

  99. Rosanna

    Hello! I have tried many of the things suggested but I still keep getting a problem.
    When I double click my drives it won’t allow me to access them and I need to right click and select ‘openwith’ to open it properly (I added this by editing the file types but now can’t delete it)
    Also, whenever I try to open excel or word it instantly tries to open it in cmd prompt and won’t allow me into the file.
    I’d be very grateful if anyone could help me!
    Thanks xx

  100. M.Balraj

    I’m having a problem, whenever I double click on a drive or folder, The search box pops up in a new window.

    I’ve tried using the above methods, but they all don’t work!

    now its clear ……………………. Your fix worked perfectly. I’ll now leave a search poppage open error

    thanks thaks s lot

    bye………..

  101. Brunda

    Hi !

    I am facing a problem with my PC, i cannot open the C : drive. when i rigt click the C drive, the ‘open’ and ‘explore’ options is displayed as some symbols .please help me in this regard.

    Thanks,
    venkybrunda

  102. sirish

    Hi,
    I tried ” HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell

    Double-click on the default value and set it to “none” without the quotes, as seen here:” and

    “regsvr32 /i shell32.dll” however my issue is not resolved.

    when ever I try to open a drive(no matter what driver I open) an error message appears saying that .dll file is missing. I’m sure of the exact error message however I will let you now. I hope you guys know how to fix it.
    Please help me in this regard.
    Thanks in advance.
    Regards,
    Sirish.

  103. Brunda

    Hi !

    I am facing a problem with my PC, i cannot open the C : drive. when i rigt click the C drive, the ‘open’ and ‘explore’ options is displayed as some symbols .Please help me in this regard. pls it is urgent help required from any one of you.

    Thanks,
    venkybrunda

  104. Sam Shapsogh

    hi there ,,,
    thought this will fix my issue as it’s kind of similar , but seems it did not ,,
    well ,, when i double click any drive in my PC , it opens the “open with” window ,, ..
    when i try to be a smart arse and right click the drive to choose “open” instead of “open with” i end up having a rubbish characters in the right click menu !!
    any ideas ?
    cheers mate!
    thanks in advance

  105. Deepak Kumar Vishwakarma

    Got loads of information about reparing registry. Thanks guys, I guess now I’d be able to restore default action of duble click to just opening the drive…

    Cheers!
    Deepak

  106. Praveen

    my C drive is going well with this solution ….but others drives are still facing same same problem. on right clik thy are showing 1st option as AUTO in bold than search and than open. please help me out

  107. The Geek

    ———————-NOTE————————–

    I am closing the comments on this article because of the large amount of support questions.

    You are welcome to leave any computer help questions on the Forum.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/forum/

    ———————-NOTE————————–

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