How to Enable a Single Click to Open Icons on Windows 10

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Double-clicking has long been a convention for launching applications or opening files or folders in Windows. A single click, on the other hand, allows you to select items. However, as the boundaries between touch-enabled mobile devices and keyboard and mouse-driven desktop devices and online and offline experiences become blurred, some users may find it more intuitive and convenient to open and launch files and applications with a single click. As a result, Windows 10 desktop navigation is more like web browsing, where hyperlinks and buttons are typically launched with a single click or drag. Whether it is a preference or an accessibility feature, it may be useful to enable “single-click” mode in Windows 10.

Enable a Single Click to Open Icons on Windows 10

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  • To change the default setting for opening files and folders from double-click to single-click, go to the Start menu. Find the File Explorer, then click it when it appears or press Enter.
  • In the window, go to View > Options > Change Folder and Search Options.
  • In the pop-up window, select the “Single click to open an item (Point to Select)” radio button.
  • After selecting this option, the icons are underlined (like a hyperlink) when you hover over them. If you want the icon titles to always be underlined, select the “Underline icon titles that match my browser” radio button.
  • Once this setting is activated, if you ever want to select an icon without opening it, just hover the mouse over it for a moment.
  • You can also ask Windows to present a checkbox above each item so that you can select it. To enable this option, click the View tab in the Folder Options pop-up window and scroll down to Advanced Settings. Select the checkbox next to “Use checkboxes to select items” and click OK.

Note: From Windows Vista, you can check boxes to select items. When the boxes are checked, no items are selected when hovering, but a single click still opens the item.


In general, you need to open a file, folder, or application on your Windows 10 PC by double-clicking with the left mouse button or right-clicking and selecting Open from the context menu. In this article, you will learn an alternative method of opening an item with a single click. To find out how to switch between the two methods, read on.

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