How to fix double-click not opening files & folders in Windows

The issue of double-clicking not opening files and folders is very common among Windows users. Even though incorrect mouse settings are the main cause, there are other factors that could prevent files and folders from opening, such as enabled controlled folder access and problems with Windows updates.It is always advisable to restart your computer before starting troubleshooting. Restarting the computer often fixes the issues that could be caused by bugs and glitches. Therefore, it is recommended to restart your computer.

1. Slow down the double-click speed

The first step in troubleshooting is to slow down the double-click speed. This is because, if the double-click speed is too fast, you might not be able to access the folder due to the rapid double clicking. In this scenario, you can try to decrease the double-click speed, which would enable you to open the folder or file by double clicking at a lesser pace. To achieve this, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start Menu and type Mouse Settings.
  2. Hit Enter to navigate into Mouse Settings.
  3. Click Additional Mouse Settings under Related Settings.
  4. Here slow down the double-click speed and click Apply and click OK.
  5. Once done, check if you can use the double-click to open the folders and files.

2. Turn off Controlled folder access

Controlled folder access is a feature of Windows Security that is used to protect files, folders, and memory areas from unauthorized changes by third-party or unfriendly applications.

The default protected folders are documents, music, videos, and pictures. So if you have enabled this feature, either make sure the folder you are trying to access is not included in the protected folders or disable the controlled folder access feature by using the following steps:

To disable the controlled folder access, follow the steps:

    1. Press the Win + I keys simultaneously to open the Windows Settings.
    2. Go to Privacy and Security from the left, then click Windows Security.
    3. Then click Open Windows Security.
  1. Select Virus and threat protection settings, and scroll down to the bottom.
  2. Click Manage ransomware protection.
  3. Here turn off the Controlled folder access feature and see if you can open the folder or file using the double-click.

3. Configure the File Explorer options to open files with a double-click

If you have configured the file explorer options to open the item with a single click, then it is obvious double-click won’t work. In this case, you can configure the file explorer options correctly by following the steps.

  1. To do so, click the Start Menu from the bottom left.
  2. Here search for File Explorer Options.
  3. Hit Enter to open the file explorer options.
  4. Under Click items as follows, make sure to select the Double-click to open an item (single-click to select).
  5. Once done, click Apply and click OK.
  6. Now see if are able to open the items with the double-click.

5. Uninstall Windows Update

If your Windows has updated recently, there is a high chance that the installed Windows update has a problem, preventing you from opening the files and folders. If that’s the case, you can uninstall the Windows update with the help of the following steps:

  1. Make right-click on the Start Menu icon and select Settings.
  2. Once the settings is opened, go to Windows Update.
  3. From here, navigate to the Update History, then scroll down to the bottom and navigate to the Uninstall Updates.
  4. Here you will see all the installed updates. Simply uninstall the update that you think may be causing the issue.
  5. Once the update has been uninstalled, restart your computer and check if the problem is resolved or not.

6. Configure the Registry Entries

There are two entries in the registry editor named MouseHoverWidth and MouseHoverHeight. These entries are used to adjust the width and height when the mouse hovers over an object. It’s possible that these registry entries have been altered by a third-party application. Therefore, you should try to configure these two entries correctly by following these steps:

Before following the steps, make sure to create a backup with the help of the steps listed in the article.

  1. Click the Start Menu button, type Regedit, and hit Enter to open the registry editor.
  2. Paste the following path in the address bar and hit Enter to navigate.
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse
  3. In the right pane, double-click the MouseHoverWidth, change its value data to 4, and click OK.
  4. Then, double-click the MouseHoverHeight to change its value data to 4.
  5. Once done, close the registry editor, and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

8.  Use a System Restore utility

If you are still facing this issue, you can try restoring Windows to a previous state using the system restore utility. Since we know this problem can be caused by incorrect mouse settings, using a system restore utility should work.

A system restore saves the current state into a restore point that can be used later in the future to restore Windows. However, you should have a restore point created when you were not encountering any issues. To use a restore point, follow the steps:

  1. Open the Start Menu and type rstrui in the search box.
  2. Hit Enter to run the system restore utility.
  3. Click Next to proceed.
  4. Select a restore point and click Next.
  5. Click Finish to start restoring the Windows.
  6. Once done, check if double-click is opening the files and folders.

Since we know having a fast double-click speed is the root cause of this problem, make sure to prevent this issue by slowing down the double-click speed when you encounter this problem.

Double-click won't open files and folders- FAQs

Why don’t my files open when I double-click?

If you are not able to open the files when you double-click, that means you have incorrect mouse settings, preventing you from opening the items using double-click.

How do I fix the double-click not working?

To fix this issue, slow down the double-click speed. This will let you use double-click slowly to open the items. If the issue persists, try configuring the file explorer options to use a double-click instead of a single click.


Hamza Mohammad Anwar

Hamza Mohammad Anwar is an intermediate JavaScript web developer with a focus on developing high-performance applications using MERN technologies. His skill set includes expertise in ReactJS, MongoDB, Express NodeJS, and other related technologies. Hamza is also a Google IT Certified professional, which highlights his competence in IT support. As an avid problem-solver, he recreates errors on his computer to troubleshoot and find solutions to various technical issues.