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Old Jan 27, 2007, 11:35 PM   #1
Oats
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OS X: how to merge folder contents, not replace

let's say i have two folders named the same thing, and i want to merge their contents together, but not replace. if i try to merge these folders together in mac os X, it asks if i want to replace the entire contents, vs. windows, which will merge the contents of the folders, replacing duplicate files if they exist in the destination folder, but otherwise the contents of the destination folder remain unchanged. any way to make os X behave like windows in this particular case? i hope i have explained the question well.

Update:
Nice to see lots of people share this concern. To summarize a few responses which helped me:
ditto command line: ditto dir1 dir2
The moveAddict tool looks good. (If that looks inspiring, also check out TotalFinder -- get tabs and much more.)

Last edited by Oats; May 23, 2011 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Update
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Old Jan 28, 2007, 12:01 AM   #2
orangemacapple
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have you tried "ditto"

http://developer.apple.com/documenta...1/ditto.1.html
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Old Jan 28, 2007, 10:37 AM   #3
akadmon
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You need a file synchronization app. See this thread:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=271139
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Old Jan 29, 2007, 12:53 PM   #4
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SilverKeeker by Dantz is a perfect choice for these Back-ups !
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 01:01 AM   #5
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For the love of god!

No other single version of "move" in the world REPLACES a directory and they all "merge". If I am wrong, please point it out to me. So, thankfully OSX is written on top of Unix. So, go to your terminal window and use the built in "mv" command, e.g.:

mv -v /Volumes/Internal/Users/[username]/Desktop/directory /Volumes/External/

This will cause the contents to merge, not totally obliterate. Apple, you've done everything else right, now please pull your head out!

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Old Feb 7, 2007, 01:38 AM   #6
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Yikes! IF I move a folder with the same name it REPLACES and doesn't merge?!? Please clarify for me!
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 01:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynerd View Post
Yikes! IF I move a folder with the same name it REPLACES and doesn't merge?!? Please clarify for me!
What exactly do you need clarified? You've described the condition already. If you have 2 folders with the same name, and copy one onto the other, the contents of the moving folder overwrite the contents of the target folder. This is if you use the Finder. Using Terminal (as described above) will allow you to merge rather than overwrite.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 02:00 AM   #8
Maynerd
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Originally Posted by gauchogolfer View Post
What exactly do you need clarified? You've described the condition already. If you have 2 folders with the same name, and copy one onto the other, the contents of the moving folder overwrite the contents of the target folder. This is if you use the Finder. Using Terminal (as described above) will allow you to merge rather than overwrite.
I wanted to make sure what I was reading was correct because that is just stupid.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 02:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynerd View Post
I wanted to make sure what I was reading was correct because that is just stupid.
I agree, it is stupid. You can't even recover something from the Trash because it's not really 'deleted'. It's a serious oversight on Apple's part, IMO.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 02:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gauchogolfer View Post
I agree, it is stupid. You can't even recover something from the Trash because it's not really 'deleted'. It's a serious oversight on Apple's part, IMO.
I'm just thankful I read thru this thread. I could see myself dropping a MP3 folder of a band like Pearl Jam with a couple of albums in it into an existing folder with a dozen albums in it and the two albums write over all of the other albums. I would have gone ape over that! I'm lovin my Mac but jeesh that one just seems so illogical.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 03:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gauchogolfer View Post
I agree, it is stupid. You can't even recover something from the Trash because it's not really 'deleted'. It's a serious oversight on Apple's part, IMO.
I think it is not stupid: I think it is different and it was different from the beginning, before windows was released. OS X (and before OS 6, OS 7, OS 8, OS 9) alerts you that you are replacing the folder. If you want to merge copy the content of the folder and not the folder itself (or use a sync utility or a unix shell command).
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 03:59 AM   #12
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I found it was annoying for a short while after I switched from linux/windows but now a year later I don't find I miss it at all. You get used to copying at deeper levels though I do see how in some situations it would be more efficient if OS X worked like the other major operating systems.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 04:26 AM   #13
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I've always thought that it made sense. If I'm moving folder contents around by dragging the folder itself, to me, it's as if the folder is an opaque file, and not something that contains others. This is, coincidentally, how Apple's bundles work. If I want it to do a merge, I open the folder -A and then drag those to the folder. But if I want an overwrite, I just drag the folder itself.

Would you prefer for normal files to "merge" contents too when dragged like that? I prefer the single method applied to both types of file system objects.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 04:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynerd View Post
I'm just thankful I read thru this thread. I could see myself dropping a MP3 folder of a band like Pearl Jam with a couple of albums in it into an existing folder with a dozen albums in it and the two albums write over all of the other albums. I would have gone ape over that! I'm lovin my Mac but jeesh that one just seems so illogical.
Just drop the new folder onto iTunes (with iTunes set to manage your library) and it will neatly be placed along side your other Pearl Jam albums.

Managing music through the Finder is sooo Windows...
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 04:55 AM   #15
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Managed to delete about 3GB of videos using this, very frustrating
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 09:50 AM   #16
Maynerd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitthrawnuruodo View Post
Just drop the new folder onto iTunes (with iTunes set to manage your library) and it will neatly be placed along side your other Pearl Jam albums.

Managing music through the Finder is sooo Windows...
Unless of course you are ripping thru itunes and are copying folders to another drive to back up your music.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 10:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynerd View Post
Unless of course you are ripping thru itunes and are copying folders to another drive to back up your music.
Use SuperDuper, Backup or simular to perform your backup... no need to manually move folders through Finder.

Manual backups are sooo 1999...

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Old Feb 7, 2007, 01:22 PM   #18
Maynerd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitthrawnuruodo View Post
Use SuperDuper, Backup or simular to perform your backup... no need to manually move folders through Finder.

Manual backups are sooo 1999...


HAHA you are killin me! I'll look into it.
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 02:08 PM   #19
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PathFinder works like we expect. The Finder is soooo 1984...
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 09:04 PM   #20
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Is there any parameters we can edit to change the default behavior of Finder to append the files, instead of replacing the entire contents? Sad to say, I am too used to Linux/Windows.
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Old Sep 18, 2007, 04:47 AM   #21
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Is there any parameters we can edit to change the default behavior of Finder to append the files, instead of replacing the entire contents? Sad to say, I am too used to Linux/Windows.
Of course not, or we wouldn't be having this discussion.

An easier way is to go into the folder, do a select-all, and drag the contents over to the folder you want to move it too. After a brief pause it will open the folder (called spring-loading) and you can place the contents inside the new folder.
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Old Sep 18, 2007, 11:18 AM   #22
timeslip
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Yes, i am familiar with that feature, however that is not a real fix/work around in my opinion. What if you had subfolders with the same names in both folders? It will then overwrite the contents of the target folder you are copying the files to. I guess this is just another one of those things you have to live with in order to have all of the other cool features of OSX.
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Old Sep 18, 2007, 11:34 AM   #23
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I can see the use of a Merge command in Finder. BUT, in no way should it be part of the Move command! At no time should the Move command serve two purposes, sometimes moving and sometimes merging. That's just confusing. But, having both a Merge and a Move command would be okay by me.
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Old Sep 18, 2007, 11:48 AM   #24
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if it makes so much sense to overwrite files, then why does Safari add a number to file names that already exist in the download folder if you re-download them? Shouldn't the same "logic" apply?

I look forward to hearing that explained away, as well.

If OS X had a "feature" that erased your hard drive if you moved the mouse to the bottom right corner of the screen, I bet there would be people here explaining why we should just "think different."

It's a problem. *sarcasm* It's so good at deleting stuff that you should use this method to get rid of things you don't want the government to find. *i hope that was sarcasm*
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Old Sep 19, 2007, 05:23 PM   #25
timeslip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dejo View Post
I can see the use of a Merge command in Finder. BUT, in no way should it be part of the Move command! At no time should the Move command serve two purposes, sometimes moving and sometimes merging. That's just confusing. But, having both a Merge and a Move command would be okay by me.
I don't think it should serve two purposes, but maybe use a combination key and drag to merge and drag would just be the default behavior.
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