Copy+Overwrite without erasing current folder contents?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Haoshiro, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. Haoshiro macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    Hey all, I need a little help.

    Something that has really annoyed me since switching from XP to OSX last year is that you can't seem to do a Copy+Overwrite without wiping out the contents of the folder you are overwriting.

    Now that makes some logical sense, but it's still frustrating.

    In XP if I copied, say the folder "test" from a CD onto the HDD that also had a folder named "test" and chose "Replace All" all the CD contents would be copied over and any matching files would indeed get replaced, but any contents of folders and subfolders would be left alone, and additional files on the CD would get *added* to the HDD folder.

    That's probably enough explanation, but here's one example of what I'd like to be able to do in OSX:

    Say I have:




    I want to copy /CD/MyFolder to /HDD/MyFolder by dragging the entire folder (I do NOT want to go into the folder and manually drag the *files*)

    In OS X if I do this and choose "Overwrite" then /HDD/MyFolder becomes *exactly* what is in /CD/MyFolder, and I lose "file5"

    In XP if I do the same operation "file1" and "file2" will get overwritten, and then "file3" and "file4" will be *added* to /HDD/MyFolder ... and "file5" will be untouched.

    Is this possible in OS X in a way that is at least close to as simple as the solution in XP?

    I basically have some missing data on the hdd that is in a bunch of subfolders, but the hdd content has lots of new content... i want to update the folders with what i have backed up on dvd without erasing the hdd contents.

  2. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    OS-X doesn't do that for the very reason you needed half a page to describe what you want. Replacing is clear and predicable, without even knowing the contents of the folder. What you describe is not.
  3. Haoshiro thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    Perhaps, but it's honestly easy enough to understand.

    I took time to over-explain it only to ensure ever angle was covered and people who are not familiar with XP (or windows in general) could understand exactly what I was looking for.

    A summary is not so complicated:

    - Copy one folder on top of another without *erasing* any content in either.

    Personally I find it a great annoyance and incredibly dumb that it's so hard to copy a folder onto another without losing content.

    If there was even a synchornize option to do on two folders.

    I'm really surprised other people don't find this annoying. It makes restoring large backups INCREDIBLY tedius and there is no reason to lose data during a COPY operation.

    Even Unix/Linux has no problems doing this, iirc.
  4. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    OS X does come with an app called Filemerge that does this, but it's buried in the developer tools folder and therefore not installed by default.
  5. Haoshiro thread starter macrumors 68000


    Feb 9, 2006
    USA, KS
    Thanks, I'll look for that utility!

    Much appreciated.
  6. nfcatt macrumors member

    May 7, 2006
    Hey emptyCup,

    Haven't you ever tried to copy a folder that exists on both the source and the destination volumes and just wanted them to merge? There isn't anything complicated about it!

    If you know of a way to do this without needing to use a synching app I'd love to hear about it!

  7. orangemacapple macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2006
  8. sahnert macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2003
    i've been using synk (v.5) to do this. Works like a charm. There is a new version of synk out now and it looks pretty snazzy, too.
  9. oded macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2010
    The simplest way that I found to achieve merge is to use muCommander, works great and it's free.
    I think that the warning is far from sufficient, simply because users that are used to Windows expect a different behavior, and because Undo after this operation does not retrieve the deleted files.
    I fell for this trap, and I'm certain many more Window users that are new to Mac will fall for it too, why not phrase the warning differently to prevent that?
    The warning should have been something like:
    "All the files in the destination folder are about to be deleted! Are you sure you want to proceed?"

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