Thursday, August 25, 2011

Windows 8 Explorer: improved copy, delete, and conflict resolution


Windows 8 copy/move/delete

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I published not to show how advanced MS products are but to show how LATE they are as this was already done in GNOME and KDE years ago :)
Sameh Attia
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Ahh, the Windows Explorer progress dialog. For years it has been struggling to figure out how to calculate how long our copy and delete operations would take, sliding the progress bar back and forth in a seemingly random, haphazard way, the laws of time all but ceasing to exist — five seconds remaining one moment and 13 minutes the next. That’s (almost) all going to change, with the arrival of a greatly improved file management experience in Windows 8.
Over on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft’s Alex Simmons, a director of program management for Windows, has laid bare most of the new functionality. If you’d rather look at the reworked dialog boxes, they’re in a video that’s embedded below; otherwise, read on.
Simmons states that his team’s focus was to improve the high-volume copying experience — which makes good sense, since Explorer really isn’t that bad in its present state if you’re just moving around a handful of files. Gone are the multiple progress windows that stack atop your Explorer taskbar icon in Windows 7. All operations will be consolidated into a single window, similar to the way Internet Explorer or Firefox handle your downloads. And, just like your browser’s download manager, the updated file dialog allows you to pause and cancel jobs with the click of a button.
Windows 8 copy speedWant some more in-depth knowledge about what’s going on? Tap the more details button, and you’re presented with a real-time graph (pictured right) that charts the current speed of your operation and also reports the time and number and amount of files remaining. As for those off-the-mark time estimates, Simmons says that coming up with a precise calculation is nearly impossible due to the variables involved — such as interference from security software or network congestion. To that end, the Windows 8 Explorer interface has been tweaked to play up elements that can be detailed precisely — like transfer speeds.
One more area Microsoft has focused on is conflict resolution, something that had already been improved in Windows 7. The new copy and replace options allow users greater flexibility when identically named files are dropped into a folder. In Windows 7, you can choose to replace, not copy, or keep both copies of a file and let Windows rename the new addition. This can be done on a file-by-file basis, or you can check off the box and apply your preference en masse. In Windows 8, Explorer consolidates conflicts onto a single thumbnailed pane (below left) where you can check off the versions you want to keep.
Windows 8 copy/move/delete
Last but not least, Simmons quietly mentions a tweak to delete dialogs in Windows 8. No longer will Windows default to notifying users every time they send a file off to the Recycle Bin (a toggle you could flip in earlier versions of Windows). The aim is to create a “quieter, less distracting experience,” but my admin sense is tingling. You’ve got to imagine that this change is going to lead to more than a couple Delete > Empty Recycle Bin operations.
Read more at Building Windows 8 or check out the XKCD comic tackling the tricky topic of progress estimation…

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