Fences - STOP icons from auto-arranging

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by Rmart | Discussion: Stardock Support General

I have the Sort Fence option set to none and yet every time I try to reposition an icon within a fence they don't stick where I want them. If I have a dozen icons within a fence and I want one or two icons to remain next to each other, it seems like every time I move one icon to where I want it to go, the others all change their order. They seem to want to be in a topdown order any time the fence has multiple columns. So, if I want to take an icon and place it next to another one, everything below it rearranges. It's almost like a puzzle.

Is there a way to position each icon in the order I want without the others moving about to try to maintain a fill pattern?

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Reply #1 Tuesday, January 4, 2011 10:06 AM

Unfortunately, fences will always auto-arrange icons, which is by design. There is currently no way to lock an icon to an absolute position.

Reply #2 Sunday, March 18, 2012 3:22 PM

This is unbelievable!  How could you possibly not allow the user to place icons where they want them?  Why do you think someone would use a product like this in the first place?  All Fences does is trade mangling of desktop icon arrangements by Windows for mangling of them by Fences.  But now the mangling is in little boxes.  That's no improvement over Windows at all. Your product is useless.

You were so close to having a nice product that I would gladly buy, but due to your boneheaded design, I'll be uninstalling it now.  You survived a total of 15 minutes.

Reply #3 Sunday, March 18, 2012 3:35 PM

The Pro version lets you arrange bu name, date, size, how often it's used or jsut dragging into the order you want.

Reply #4 Monday, April 1, 2013 12:02 PM

I have Fences 2.0 which is supposed to be an upgrade from Pro and I can't stop icons from zipping all over the place as they please. This is hugely annoying. I used to think I was going to love this product, but I've done a 180 on it because of the "auto-arrange" problem.

I sure hope this can be fixed in a future version update.

Reply #5 Friday, May 3, 2013 7:34 PM

I am a registered user and this is a very annoying feature omission that will probably lead me to not upgrading or renewing in the future. It gets worse when I try to move an icon to the start of a box and it shoots off the screen and the whole screen goes nuts. (Hopefully this behavior has been fixed in the version 2.10 upgrade I just applied.)

I don't know how you could have missed such an obvious feature - looks like manager intrusion to me, PHM-style:).

Reply #6 Monday, August 19, 2013 2:04 AM

What????  You can't put icons where you want?


OH MY GOD...  This is the most INSANE THING I CAN IMAGINE.  A program, meant to HELP users arrange icons the way THEY WANT, will NOT allow them to arrange them the way they want????




Honestly, I can't believe how stupid this is.  It's annoying as hell.  Loved what I was seeing.  Hate it now.  I have NO use for this.


Sorry, it's the simple truth.  I need my icons where I need them.  End of story.  Pull your heads out, stardock.  Honestly.

Reply #7 Monday, August 19, 2013 2:41 AM

The Pro version lets you arrange bu name, date, size, how often it's used or jsut dragging into the order you want.

Reply #8 Monday, August 19, 2013 4:17 PM

Quoting Zubaz, reply 3The Pro version lets you arrange bu name, date, size, how often it's used or jsut dragging into the order you want.


Yeah, I get that... basic functionality.... only available in the "pro" version.

That's like getting wheels on you car as an option.  Hey, at least you have air conditioning and a radio, right?


If the pro version is the only way to achieve the same basic functionality that was available in windows for the past few decades... somebody's not thinking straight.


Placing icons where you wish, is so basic to the functionality of any windowing system, that to kill that behavior is simply unforgivable.  Sorry.

Placing icons is a functionality that is so bedrock in its nature that it should come before nearly every other feature in Fences... color changes, opacity, etc. etc. etc.  All very slick.  But people arranging their icons is at the HEART of the desktop experience.

Making such things a "pro" feature is nonsensical... and tarnishes an otherwise excellent piece of software IMHO.

Fences really is nice, so far as it goes... authors should be proud... except as noted.

Reply #9 Monday, August 19, 2013 4:58 PM

Windows' leaving of icons where they are put by the user isn't a 'basic functionality' of the OS GUI....it is simple indifference/inaction on the part of the GUI.

The function of Stardock's Fences is to provide functionality to their placement by grouping icons and arranging them by user-selected rules.

That it has been universally acclaimed as such a boon to the Windows GUI that people wonder why such functionality wasn't incorporated within the GUI by MS themselves is testament to its [Fences] logical design and features.

The reality is....if a user's wish is that the icon locations remain haphazzard and/or manually placed then Fences' features are redundant/superfluous....

Reply #10 Monday, August 19, 2013 9:43 PM

"Windows' leaving of icons where they are put by the user isn't a 'basic functionality' of the OS GUI....it is simple indifference/inaction on the part of the GUI."

You've proven my point in one sentence.  You have basically said: "First, allow users to move icons as they will." then any other enhancements, such as grid snapping behavior go ON TOP of that.  This makes the user controlled placement the absolute foundation, it's true basic functionality.

True indifference or non functionality in such a circumstance would be the OS placing the icon, and not listening to user need. Not listening to the user is so horrific that no windows system is that way, to my knowledge.  Amazingly, Fences is.  It's actually a regression:  "You can't put them where you want, but we do let you sort them in a few cool ways" is just not that impressive, especially at the cost of the core idea of making your desktop look how you want it.

Adding functionality by making additional smart sorts *available* should indeed be lauded.  It's a good thing.  But KILLING basic functionality in the process is the stupid part.


#1, it is not necessary to kill it.

#2, "User selected rules" from a limited list of selections, is a restraint. (ex: My rules are not available)

And no, the basic advantage of Fences is not "placing" icons. It is the GROUPING of icons, and creating a visual PORTHOLE to the group.

A porthole to a fully user defined placement of icons is VERY valuable.



A group of icons, stacked vertically, say, graphics applications:  Photoshop, Modo, 3D Max, Corel, etc...  To the RIGHT of EACH icon are support files for each application in the stack... like shortcuts to documentation... to web links for tutorials.... to a folder with current projects.  These icons project *horizontally*.  Now, you make a portal with Fences that expose only the applications themselves... a tall vertical strip, your apps laid out neatly.  

Using a horizontal scroll bar, you can then slide over and see all of the *supporting* icons on that row... which you probably don't want to see all the time.

This is intelligent icon placement. 

It's not available in Fences.  IT thinks it knows BETTER.



The brilliance of that placement is supplied by the user.  The brilliance of clearly grouping icons, and allowing a viewing porthole is supplied by Fences.

That's the power it *should* have.   Adding a couple more sorting options to the ones windows already has... well, that's nice.  Killing intelligent placement, that's not nice.






Reply #11 Monday, August 19, 2013 10:14 PM

Killing intelligent placement, that's not nice.

The only 'intelligence' in manual placement is from/by the user.  One errant click on 'auto arrange' and all that intelligence is wiped by the DUMB OS functionality.

Fences is designed to group icons specifically, not to maintain individual icon 'spotting' by the overly fastidious. - for that there's non-use of Fences...

Reply #12 Tuesday, August 20, 2013 12:21 AM

To make my case a little more clear:

Where is the option to sort Icons with Applications shown with priority over support files?

It ain't there.  


Where is the option to arrange support files smartly with their applications?

Again, not there.


Sorting is fine... as far as it goes.

It's comforting to know that shortcomings of Fences are now seen to be shortcomings of the user instead.


So the pro version, in your estimation, is not so much about making Fences better, but rather bowing down to the over fastidiousness of some users?  A very interesting position. 

Well done, sir.

Reply #13 Tuesday, August 20, 2013 12:28 AM

I just checked the pro version...  and no, it doesn't seem to have the ability to arrange as the user sees fit either.

In all cases, the icons are "packed" into a tight grid... and extend downward.

This should be optional behavior.

Oh well.


Amazing that some people think that a *lack* of control is a feature.


Reply #14 Sunday, November 17, 2013 9:36 PM



I am just trying 30 days trial before i buy the full version but i can not find the function to drag and sort the icons as per my wish.


Is this feature available as i badly need it.



Reply #15 Tuesday, November 26, 2013 5:27 PM

I just posted this on the WinCustomize forums as well, but i feel the need to reiterate.

Seriously, I'm a software developer myself and i can't believe that being able to arrange the icons however you like within a fence is NOT a feature.

I downloaded Fences to help with re-arranging my icons again after Remote Desktop screws them up and i was loving Fences (only had it installed for like 10 min) until i tried to arrange the icons how i wanted without auto-arrange only to find out that you can't do that.

I would have considered buying the Pro version, but you guys have shot yourselves in the foot with this one. I'd hate to think how many more sales you would have had if this was a feature.


Sign me up on the list of users who want to have the ability to TURN OFF auto-arrange.


Until then, peace.

Reply #16 Sunday, July 20, 2014 10:13 AM

+1, I would like to see that feature implemented as well.

Reply #17 Wednesday, December 3, 2014 1:26 PM

I just installed fences as well and realized there is no way to statically move icons into any position. It has an auto-sort that you can configure, but I really wanted the ability to have icons anywhere I wish inside a fence. I went ahead and uninstalled this program until this feature becomes available. It has potential! Thank you.

Reply #18 Friday, December 12, 2014 1:34 PM

I have to agree, and cast my vote for manually positioned icons with absolutely no re-flow, even in portals.  Current behavior is kind of a deal breaker for me.  Fences has lots of features, and is very pretty, but maybe should spend more time on making a few core features work well.  In 1 day of trial I found 3 genuine bugs and this "feature".  Not an ideal start.  

Reply #19 Tuesday, December 30, 2014 9:25 AM

I just bought Fences upon the recommendation of a few people as it looks fantastic.


A few minutes after setting up a wonderful array of fences I'm come to realise you can't disable auto arrange of icons within a fence, which is awful!


The whole reason why I bought this was to help organise my custom arrangement of icons to aid my workflow, in order to do that it must be possible to disable auto arrange within a fence so i can space them out within a fence in a pattern.


Is this a hidden feature that I can't figure out how to activate or is it actually missing?

If it is missing could you please let me know if this is something that you plan to implement and if so, how soon?


The product seems amazing apart from this apparently rather large oversight. Please add it! 

Reply #20 Tuesday, December 30, 2014 10:09 AM

This is so frustrating. I nearly got around this issue by changing my workflow to use fences folders instead, and then display the contents using a list view.


But then you lose the ability to disable sorting like you can in a normal fence, so you can't even manually reorder the files within the folder fence.


Is there away to disable sorting in a folder fence so it is possible to manually order them?



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