Vista Registry – ‘Select All’ Problem

Vista Registry – ‘Select All’ Problem

Here is a registry tweak to cure a specific bug, which occurs when you try to select multiple files with Windows Explorer.  Whereas others of my registry pages are for fun, or for learning, this page tackles a particular problem with the ‘Bags’ settings.

Topics for Vista’s Select All Problem

While I first encountered this problem in Vista, the registry value also exists in XP and Windows Server 2003.  The difference is that, as far as I know, this ‘Select all’ problem troubles only Vista’s Explorer.


Problem: You cannot select more than one file in Windows Explorer

What happens is you lose the ability to select multiple files in Vista’s Windows Explorer.  Even the ‘Select All’ does not work.  Once the rogue setting is created, it is perpetuated when you save the folder’s view settings. 

Solution: Use Regedit to locate your HKCU…BAGS!Windows Vista Regedit and AutoAdminLogon

0) As a precaution, close all instances of Windows Explorer.

1) Launch regedit (See more details on starting regedit)

2) In Regedit, navigate to the following key: 
HKCU\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags

Plan a) Try to identify the rogue BAG number which is causing the selection problem. Delete that single bag entry

Plan b) If you are having trouble identifying the specific entry, then be ruthless and delete the entire ‘Bags’ folder, logoff, logon and you should get a virgin or default set of folder settings.  All that these BAGS entries do is remember settings so you would not be deleting anything vital.  Moreover, a new Bags entry gets re-created once you logoff, logon and start using Windows Explorer.  That said, best practice would be to Export the \ Windows \Shell branch of the registry before you attempt this fix.

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Key Points

  • Is Vista’s Shell\Bags a folder in HKCU** or HKLM? 
    Answer: HKCU
  • Do you have to add a value, modify an existing setting, or delete a value? 
    Answer: Delete, so be careful.
  • Is it a String Value or a DWORD? 
    Answer: Neither it is a sub-folder of BAGS with a number.
  • Do you need to Restart, or merely Logoff / Logon? 
    Answer: Neither, just refresh the Windows Explorer

** HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and HKCU is shorthand for HKEY_CURRENT_USER.  These acronyms are so well-known that you can even use them in .reg files, Vista will understand and obey the registry instruction.

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Windows Vista Registry Tweaks: