Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Windows Explorer Fails to Retain Multiple File Selection

I was installing Windows XP SP3.  I had just installed some basic utilities, mostly related to the user interface.  After doing so, I noticed that Windows Explorer would allow me to highlight files and folders, but when I right-clicked and hit Cut (or when I used Ctrl-X), the folder icons would fade for a second, as they would typically do when files were being cut and pasted; but then the fading effect would end.  And if I went to another folder and tried to paste, there was no right-click (context menu) paste option.  I could move them only by dragging them to that other folder.  The choice of view (e.g., Detail view, Icon view) did not seem to make a difference.  The problem occurred in a variety of folders.

I went back to a previous backup of this Windows installation and started over, installing those same programs again.  This time, the fading effect ended as before, but now cutting and pasting did work properly.

I did a search, initially, on the problem of being unable to select multiple files.  That led to a post discussing some solutions.  It looked like Vista users were having this problem too.  But when the problem recurred in the different form just described, I opted to try a different search.  There were no obvious solutions on the first several pages of that.  So I decided to work back through the programs I had recently installed, to see if one of them was responsible.

What I found was that the effect of the offending program was not immediate.  The problem didn't appear until after I had rebooted.  This was why I did not notice it right away, and just kept on installing other stuff.  So I installed them one at a time, rebooting and testing after each one.  This procedure established that the problem was due to the M8 Free Clipboard program.  I proceeded with installing my other programs.  The problem did not recur.