Copy folder deletes original folder contents THEN copies new ones

Discussion in 'Mac OS X System & Mac Software' started by FLDStudio, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. FLDStudio

    FLDStudio Registered

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    Hi folks,

    I've come across a strange behaviour of Finder when copying a folder over another with the same name. I'm using 10.4.11.

    Say I have a folder named "Test" and it contains "File1" and "File2" and I copy it over another folder named "Test", which contains "File3" and "File4".
    After copying I would expect folder "Test" to contain all four files, but it doesn't! It will only contain the two that I copied over, the original two will be deleted.

    Is there any way to have finder replace files of the same name when copying and retain all other files in the destination folder?

    Before:
    /Test/
    File3, File4​

    After:
    /Test/
    File1, File2​

    Desired:
    /Test/
    File1, File2, File3, File4​
     
  2. g/re/p

    g/re/p I can haz cigar?

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    After doing what you describe, normally the destination folder would contain file 3 and 4 , and a folder called test containing file 1 and 2.

    Did you use drag and drop to copy , or did you use the cp command in terminal?
     
  3. DeltaMac

    DeltaMac Tech

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    You're suggesting a folder merge, and not a copy. OS X does not do this by default. If you drop a folder on top of another folder with the same name, the new folder replaces the first and all its contents. The simplest way to do something similar to a folder merge, would be to open your source folder, select all the files, and drag them to your destination folder. This process will replace files with the same name (if they exist in both locations), and simply add the other files to those already existing.
    If you do a search on this site, you will probably find several threads that take this discussion to exhaustion. You'll find that not everyone likes the Mac results, but experienced Mac users have it figured out. A recent Windows convert might take issue with that point-of-view, but some prefer the 'Mac Way™' :D
    You will discover, also, that you can duplicate certain Windows-normal (whatever that is!) file operations with a couple of different third-party file utilities.
     
  4. FLDStudio

    FLDStudio Registered

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    Use a third party file utility you say?
    Any suggestions as to one that will merge folders by default?

    I'm trying to copy folders which have a lot of sub folders, and copying files by each folder is just an insane way of doing things. (And yes, I'm native to a windows environment.)
     
  5. DeltaMac

    DeltaMac Tech

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  6. VirtualTracy

    VirtualTracy Thunderbirds are GO!

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    Finder doesn't let you name a folder using a previously taken name:

    [​IMG]

    To drop a folder with the same name, it has to be in a different location in your Home Directory, say your Documents folder.

    So, you can drop "Test" folder onto the "Test" folder which is on the Desktop and the result is that "Test" folder on your Desktop ( containing "File1" & "File2" ) now also contains the "Test" folder that was in the Documents folder ( containing "File3" & "File4" ) .... confused? I am .... and no files were overwritten in this experiment.

    I do realise, however, that if I drop a folder containing "File1" & "File2" over another folder also containing a "File1" & "File2", that the latter files will be overwritten IF, and only if I click 'ok' to the "Do you really want to replace, etc etc" dialogue window ...

    These two scenarios differ, though ....
     
  7. RacerX

    RacerX Old Rhapsody User

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    I heard that Microsoft has a product that does exactly what you want... maybe you should use that.


    I strongly... in the strongest possible terms, suggest that people new to any environment (Mac, Windows, Linux, Solaris, etc.) learn how to use that environment proficiently before attempting to screw up that environment with third party hacks. If you don't know how these environments are supposed to work when working correctly in their unmodified state, how in the world will you know when something is truly going wrong?

    Third party hacks are a risk for experienced Mac users... but at least an experienced Mac user would be able to tell if the hack has adversely effected their system. But someone who knows nothing about a new environment wouldn't know if something has gone wrong with the hack or their system.

    I'm a firm believer that not everyone should be using every platform... If you can't function or can't adapt in a new environment, then maybe you should seriously rethink leaving your original environment. Maybe Windows is the perfect environment for you and you are doing yourself a disservice here.

    At any rate, you really should take some time to learn how Macs work before making them work differently than designed.
     
  8. ex2bot

    ex2bot Registered Bot

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    FLDStudio,

    As mentioned before, you can open the source folder, Select All (Command-A), click and hold on one of the selected icons, and drag and drop them onto the destination folder.

    This actually requires just two additional steps as compared to Windows: you have to double-click on the source folder first and Select All. You don't have to drag each file individually.

    The Finder behaves this way by design. When Microsoft copied the Mac (poorly, I think), it decided that the default action for folders would be merge. Compare this to when you drop a document into a folder with a document of the same name. They don't _merge_; the other one gets replaced. In both cases on the Mac, you are warned that the destination folder or file will be _replaced_. My humble suggestion: Read those warnings carefully.

    Bot
     
  9. pauliede

    pauliede Registered

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    Wow. I started using Macs in 1990. But since 1995 I have worked in a totally Windows only environment, but longed for the day when I'd have a Mac again at home. I've recently gone Mac only.

    What FLDStudio wants to do is entirely intuitive. Grab a bunch of files, add them to another bunch of files, expect that the os will deal with any conflicts, not lose anything or throw up any unpleasant surprises. Makes perfect sense. That's the way a Mac is supposed to work, isn't it?

    Having used Windows with this functionality I naturally assumed that Macs would operate the same as I would have considered it a basic feature... FLDStudio's language ("I've come across this strange behaviour") shows this was completely unexpected by him... as it was by me...

    But what was even more unexpected was the replies he received. RacerX's sarcastic reply: "I heard that Microsoft has a product that does exactly what you want..." and "If you can't function or can't adapt in a new environment...". What? Because FLDStudio expected the environment to function better doesn't mean he can't adapt. This is the kind of mac user arrogance that turns people off. Macs are supposed to be user-friendly - when they aren't - please don't resort to putting down the user.

    @ex2bot: Your solution: "This actually requires just two additional steps as compared to Windows:" Actually it's more like 4. Per folder. If the bunch of files you want to paste has 20 folders in it... That's potentially 80 extra actions.

    "Compare this to when you drop a document into a folder with a document of the same name. They don't _merge_; the other one gets replaced."

    Yes they do merge. Your new files get put neatly alongside the existing files which remain unmolested (unless they have the same name).

    Unless they are inside a folder! In this case the behaviour is completely different. Now the new files will NOT get put neatly alonfgside the existing files but will completely replace them, even if they have different names.

    In my humble opinion this is a case where Windows operates the way you would expect a mac to, and the mac operates the way you would expect a Windows to. And in this case, (to me at least) the Windows way is clearly superior.
     

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