Windows 8 will improve copy function

Large volume copying and file collisions to be handled with more aplomb
Kerry Butters
Kerry Butters -

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Microsoft has sneaked out some more information regarding Windows 8 and it seems that the company is at last going to make moving files more streamlined.

The official blog for W8 says that with the increasing amount of large files such as photos and video being moved, copied or deleted, they realise that the function needs updating.

This is due in part to feedback from users who are unhappy with the amount of time it takes to move things around, and the inconsistency between actual time and how long Windows says it will take.

It seems that this represents “far and away the most heavily used features within Windows Explorer” and makes up “50% of total command usage”, according to Alex Simons who authored the blog.

5.61% of copy jobs are interrupted as users experience network problems or simply get bored waiting and cancel the operation. This is due to people doing larger jobs and multiple copies which Explorer is not currently optimised for.

Another persistent problem within Windows 7 crops up when people attempt to copy a file that has the same name elsewhere in the system, resulting in “file collision”.

“We clearly have an opportunity to make some improvements in the experience of high-volume copying, in dealing with file name collisions, and in assuring the successful completion of copy jobs,” Simons wrote.

Whilst many of these problems can be addressed by using copy management software such as TeraCopy, FastCopy and Copy Handler, less than 45% of machines use this, meaning that most people are left frustrated with the function.

Microsoft has come up with four goals as the solution to this. First they intend to: “Create one unified experience for managing and monitoring ongoing copy operations.”

Then they say they will give key information that’s needed and remove distractions as well as “giving people more control of their copy operations.”

What this actually means is that there will now be one common interface in which you can review copy jobs, instead of the multiple windows that featured before. Each job can be individually paused or stopped within this new dialogue box.

There is also a detailed view which allows users to see in graph form the speed of transfer, transfer rate trends and how much data remains to be moved, giving a quick and easy way for users to access different jobs.

As for the accuracy of the “estimated time remaining”, MS say that this is notoriously difficult to do with any precision as there are “so many unpredictable and uncontrollable variables”.

The final set of improvements deal with the file collision issue, which takes the form of a new design dialogue box which is “easy to understand and shows you the critical information for all the collisions, front and centre in one dialog.”

Users can now simply hover over the thumbnail of the image and it will show the file path or it can be opened directly from the box.

Prompts such as “are you sure you want to move this file to the recycle bin” are also being removed as users report them to be unnecessary and distracting.

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