How to Drag and Drop Files

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

How to Drag and Drop Files. Modern operating systems make it easy to handle complex tasks on your computer. For example, you can drag and drop files to easily move them from one location to another. Here's how.


Step 1

Find the file you wish to drag and drop on your system. The file's location depends on where it was installed, saved or downloaded. Many downloaded files will simply appear on the desktop unless your download manager sends it to a dedicated file folder.

Step 2

Click and hold the mouse pointer on the file you wish to drag and drop. Do not release the click as this will merely highlight the file and not prepare it for dragging.

Step 3

Move the mouse pointer over the location you wish to drop the file. You should see the file visibly "moving" on the screen to indicate where it is going.


Step 4

Release the mouse pointer over the location in which you wish to drop the file. It will be transferred via the operating system.

Step 5

Hold down the Ctrl key while you click on files and you can select multiple files for dragging. Just click on each file once, and then click and hold after you have selected all of the files you wish to move. You should see them all moving with the pointer.

Step 6

Use the Shift key to select a collection of files quickly from a list. Simply hold Shift and click on the first file, and then click once more over the final file you wish to move. This will select both files as well as each succeeding file.


Windows is set by default to show a transparent image of the files you intend to move, so that you can ensure that you are moving the correct files. This setting can be changed in the "Display" section of the Control Panel, but you should retain the default.


There are instances when you cannot drag and drop files. If you try to move a file from the Windows desktop to a folder, for example, certain files (like executables) will just create a shortcut instead of moving. In these cases, you should cut and paste the files instead.