OS X: how to merge folder contents, not replace

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Oats

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 8, 2003
192
1
New York
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.)
 
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macbrad

macrumors newbie
Feb 6, 2007
1
0
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!

Brad
 

Maynerd

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2007
194
0
Yikes! IF I move a folder with the same name it REPLACES and doesn't merge?!? Please clarify for me!
 

gauchogolfer

macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
5,555
5
American Riviera
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.
 

Maynerd

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2007
194
0
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.
 

Maynerd

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2007
194
0
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.
 

giovanniP

macrumors newbie
Dec 24, 2006
10
0
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).
 

aspro

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2005
284
0
Hobart, Australia
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.
 

guifa

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2002
260
0
Auburn, AL
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 :apple:-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.
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
13,798
167
Bergen, Norway
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... :rolleyes:
 

Maynerd

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2007
194
0
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... :rolleyes:
Unless of course you are ripping thru itunes and are copying folders to another drive to back up your music.
 

timeslip

macrumors member
May 20, 2007
82
1
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.
 

Vinnie_vw

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2005
292
0
the Netherlands
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.
 

timeslip

macrumors member
May 20, 2007
82
1
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.
 

dejo

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
15,981
447
The Centennial State
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.
 

benpatient

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2003
1,870
0
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*
 

timeslip

macrumors member
May 20, 2007
82
1
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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