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Copying or moving files with Windows Explorer risks going to the wrong location RRS feed

  • Question

  • There may be no solution for this, but it's an annoyance I'd like to gripe about a little.

    With the pane open in Windows Explorer, if you try to copy or move a file or folder by dragging and dropping, you have to be careful if there are any subfolders in the tree below the place you want to drag it to.

    If you're just a tiny bit slow in releasing the mouse button, the tree will pop open and your cursor will probably be pointed at one of the subfolders. Release the cursor then and you'll start copying to the subfolder. You get that "oops" feeling, go to the copy status box to cancel and then try to remember which subfolder you were pointing to so you can go into it and delete the partial copy.

    Now it's very logical, I think, that if you want to drag something somewhere, you'll have the destination open on the tree. So why pop open the rest of the tree at all? Well, I guess you could say it's nice to know if a folder of the same name already exists, but even given that, why not have the tree open BELOW where your cursor is located instead of having the tree scroll upward when it's open?

    As it is, it requires some dexterity to find the insert point quickly with my mouse, or it requires some forethought to click the tree open and scroll back up to the folder where you want to drop the moved stuff.

     

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:51 PM

Answers

  • Hi Tito John

    This has always been the default behavior when moving folders/files in Windows Explorer.

    You do need to be careful. When you drag a folder/file to another folder, you can quickly determine if the target folder is in a collapsed state by seeing the small arrow on the left side of the target folder. Hovering over the collapsed folder when dragging will always expand the folder.

    This works the same way everywhere in Windows.

    You can place a folder that is on the Desktop in the Start/All Programs Menu location.

    Drag the folder on the desktop and hover over the Start Button, the Start Menu will expand. continue dragging the folder and hover over the All Programs item and it will expand, allowing you to drop the folder anywhere in that location.

    Also, when you are dragging an item, you will see a transparent image of the dragged item. When you hover it over a folder, you should see a small text item with the name of the folder that it will placed in when you drop the folder/file.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    • Proposed as answer by Ronnie VernonMVP Thursday, September 16, 2010 10:56 PM
    • Marked as answer by Linda Yan Thursday, October 7, 2010 8:13 AM
    Thursday, September 16, 2010 10:44 PM

All replies

  • Hi Tito John

    This has always been the default behavior when moving folders/files in Windows Explorer.

    You do need to be careful. When you drag a folder/file to another folder, you can quickly determine if the target folder is in a collapsed state by seeing the small arrow on the left side of the target folder. Hovering over the collapsed folder when dragging will always expand the folder.

    This works the same way everywhere in Windows.

    You can place a folder that is on the Desktop in the Start/All Programs Menu location.

    Drag the folder on the desktop and hover over the Start Button, the Start Menu will expand. continue dragging the folder and hover over the All Programs item and it will expand, allowing you to drop the folder anywhere in that location.

    Also, when you are dragging an item, you will see a transparent image of the dragged item. When you hover it over a folder, you should see a small text item with the name of the folder that it will placed in when you drop the folder/file.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    • Proposed as answer by Ronnie VernonMVP Thursday, September 16, 2010 10:56 PM
    • Marked as answer by Linda Yan Thursday, October 7, 2010 8:13 AM
    Thursday, September 16, 2010 10:44 PM
  • I guess my mousing hand or reflexes aren't as steady as it used to be  Is there a registry hack to increase the delay before the tree pops open?
    Friday, September 17, 2010 2:08 AM
  • I guess my mousing hand or reflexes aren't as steady as it used to be  Is there a registry hack to increase the delay before the tree pops open?


    Hi Tito John

    I'm not aware of any registry tweaks that control the speed of expanding the folders?

    Regards,

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Friday, September 17, 2010 7:18 AM
  • Dragging and dropping folders does NOT work the way it always did.   In XP and older versions of windows, when you drag and drop a folder into an existing open folder it doesn't really matter where you drop the folder you may be dragging.  You can drop it anywhere in an open folder window and the folder being dragged and dropped is added to the list of subfolders in the folder where it was dropped.  

    Beginning with Vista, when you attempt the same thing, drag and drop a folder into an existing open folder of sub-folders, you have to carefully finagle the "drop position" to get the blue selection marker to turn from a bold blue line to a thin line between 2 sub-folders in order to add the folder you are dragging as a sub-folder.  Otherwise (in Vista) if you drop the folder on one of the lines indicating a sub-folder (when the wide blue line is displayed), the folder being droppedg actually goes INTO THE SUB FOLDER where you drop it.    Now with Vista, dragging folders became cumbersome and irritating because you had to carefully position the drop location, else the folder being moved went into a sub-folder of the open folder.  

    Now with Windows 7, the only option available when dropping a folder is that the item being dropped is going to go into the sub-folder if it lands anywhere near it.   There is no more "in between" area between the lines of sub-folders where the item can be dropped and where it will not go into the sub-folder.  The only way to avoid this I have found is to drag the item over slider until the list goes all the way to the bottom of the folder, below the sub-folders where only single files are listed.  It will behave before only if you drop it at the very bottom or if you drop the item into the very small space between the left border line of the folder list and the column where the sub-folder icons exist. Only then will the item being dropped be added to the open folder and not a nearby sub-folder.

    I find the new behavior of Windows 7 the most costly in productivity in this area.   As much as I dislike Vista, at least it does give the ability to add an item as a sub-folder to an existing open folder if you finagle the cursor a bit to make the wide blue line turn into a narrow one.

    The operation of Windows 7 in the area of dragging and dropping folders from one open folder to another is more cumbersome and time consuming than any previous release.  At least here, MS, if this is all you can offer why not regress the behavior to drag/drop to that of Vista at least in this area?  What you have given is not an improvement, or at least in the way I can see in my needs from dragging and dropping folders.

    Thank you.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011 8:00 PM
  • This is annoying as He!!  I hate it!  I do it on a regular basis to move files around for work and personal reasons and it's damned annoying.  I really hate the fact that there are some things like this that "automatically" do things when I don't want them to.  Even more when things like this don't have a way to turn them off or customize them.  I liked the search when it just pulled up the file names.  Now when I do a search, I get every file with the possible contents of my query.  Even worse is that I know the file name exists, but instead I get 2000 "hits" with the search term and I have to waste time searching thru the list only to find out that somehow my file's not there!  It's ridiculous!
    Saturday, May 28, 2011 4:32 AM
  • Yup, totally agree this is so friggin annoying.  Ronnie Vernon doesn't know what he's talking about (typical Microsoft).  CalCowling said it perfectly and is spot on accurate.

      Microsoft did it again and tried to simplify something and in turn just made it more annoying and less effective.  PLEASE fix!!!

     

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 9:04 PM
  • It took me quite a while with Win 7 to learn that the space between the thin blue line of the margin and the actual folder icons is "paydirt" in the terms of the old "anywhere goes" style of XP.   When you drag and drop in this thin margin between the two, the file you drop actually goes into the folder you have open.   XP did make the most sense where you had to drop on the icon of a sub-folder but if usability was a factor, Win 7 would not have had many of these "silly" changes.
    Friday, February 17, 2012 4:38 AM
  • I run into this every day and it drives me nuts.   I drag a file over to a directory and it opens up a milisecond before I drop it and the directory is at the top and I've dropped my file into one of the subdirectories and god knows where.   Hopefully I can "Undo Move" and do it over, but what a pain it is, and stupid and counter-intuitive it is.

    Also all those other times when was moving my mouse and accidentally swept and dragged a file into some other directory without even noticing it, because only the computer can perceive it.

    There should be:

    1.  An option to have a confirmation message on all drag and drop transfers, and one that you can push a button to confirm.   The transferring pop up I get now usually doesn't display enough info about the directories to really know where a file is being transferrred to and from.

    2.  If the directory you are dragging to has subdirectories, the way it opens should have options and it should not pop out from under your pointer and up to the top of the screen.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:08 AM
  • Thank you for demonstrating this so clearly. I fall into the same trap of dragging a file or folder into a target window, and having it go into a subdirectory when I didn't want it to. The problem of course is; back in XP days it didn't matter so much where you released it.

    Perhaps the way it should work is 1) if you hover over the name column of a subdirectory, you should be dropping into that subdirectory. 2) if you move anywhere to the right of the name column, you should be dropping into the current directory.

    The way I get around it, if I remember to, is to hover over the breadcrumb area at the top and drop there.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012 12:37 PM
  • I am so much in agreement that the way this feature works is annoying. In fact, it is astoundingly annoying. I cannot believe the microsoft doesn't have a way for a user to tweak this behavior. It has stung me time and time again for years.

    It is particularly annoying for users with touchpads rather than mice. Oft times I run out of touchpad space while dragging to the destination and have to lift and reposition my finger to complete the dragging. But this tends to drop the file to whatever location the cursor happens to be above at the moment. This is even worse than the original poster's problem, because now you have only the vaguest idea where the file(s) may have been dropped, and have to search for them everywhere.

    In addition, the recommendation from Ronnie (if the dest folder contains sub-folders, hover over the destination long enough to allow the expansion to occur before dropping the item(s)) is really difficult on a touchpad, because (depending on the various settings you've enabled/disabled for your touchpad), just holding your finger stationary on the touchpad is sometimes interpretted as a drop; the drop occurs before you actually lift your finger. This has to do with the sensitivity of your touchpad. I've experimented with every setting I can find for my touchpad and was never able to find the right combination to allow me to reliably perform the operation.

    I do have a partial work-around for those who wish to try it:

    Enable click-lock. The item(s) will never be dropped until you specifically click the mouse on the destination. It isn't foolproof, as it's still prone to those times that the destination folder suddenly expands during that microsecond you've started to move your finger for a click and the moment the click actually occurs. But it happens less frequently than without click-lock enabled - because usually you've hovered over the destination a bit longer before actually clicking the mouse, giving Explorer a chance to expand the folder before the drop occurs.

    It is almost a must-do for touchpad users. I've started using it with my mouse systems as well, since I've become accustomed to it and appreciate its precision.


    • Edited by rmbjr60 Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:23 PM more info
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:15 PM
  • I Agree completely.  This is definately one of the most idiotic, counter-intuitive, counter-productive & stupid features that Microsoft has foisted oi it's Windows 7 userbase.  Havent tried Windows 8 yet, but it's probably the same.  What happened during the millions of man-hours of usability testing that MS so proudly boasted about when they released Windows 7, did nobody try copying or moving any files in Windows Explorer?  I regularly get calls from customers claiming that their files have disappeared, when in fact they've been trying to copy or move them & they've ended up in an unknown sub-folder somewhere!

    Come on Microsoft! How easy would it be to introduce a short delay before the folder or file under the mouse was highlighted, so that copying or moving files or folders was reliable?

    Andrew

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:54 PM
  • I agree with everyone. The worst part is, it doesn't leave the subfolder, that received an object, highlited. So, if you move your mouse and release an object, 1 millisecond after the surprise expansion, then move again before you realize what happened, you only know the general region it was dropped. With small fonts, this can leave you with a bunch of candidates.

    I can only wonder how many person millennia have been flushed down the toilet looking for where some object actually landed.

    Steve Ballmer! Stop the madness! Stop flushing person millennia down the toilet!

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014 7:25 PM
  • I find the problem to be worse in the W8 'File Explorer'

    TechNet

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014 10:59 PM