Replacing when moving or copying folders

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Nappi, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. Nappi macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2007

    A couple of days ago I moved a couple of artist folders from my usb-memory to my Music folder and run into an annoying feature. Lets say (cause that's exactly the case) that I wanted to move The Doors folder (among others) from the usb-stick and it already existed in the Music folder. The folder I was trying move only had two songs in it and one of them had the same file-name that a file in Music/The Doors had.

    So when I moved the folders I got a message asking me whether I really wanted to replace the folders. I answered "Why yes, yes I do" because I thought that only the file with the same file-name was going to be replaced and the rest of the files would just be added to the existing folders. I was wrong. When I opened one of the folders the old files were gone; the new files just sitting there clearly mocking me.

    Furthermore, when I tried to save the day by clicking "undo" in the Finder it just moved the files back into my usb-stick. The files that got deleted didn't reappear like I had hoped.

    I managed to recover the files from the cds I had so no harm was done, but at the end of the day I felt myself somewhat abused and vomited myself to sleep.

    So, is there any way to change the behaviour of folder replacing so that the new files would just get added to the folders and nothing gets deleted? This would be very handy if you have to add files to multiple folders in the same root folder.

    Sorry and
  2. tsvb macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Yes, open the folder and move the files rather than the whole folder.:rolleyes:
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You have encountered one of the many differences between the Mac and Windows. On the Mac, folders are objects and not just a collection of files. When you move them, you move them whole. When you delete them, you delete everything. When you copy them, you copy them whole. When you place second folder in the same location as another with the same name, you replace the first. They do not merge. If you want to merge folders, then there is software available which does that very well.

    Learn to use your new OS.
  4. Nappi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2007
    Thanks for the answers!

    tsvb, I am aware that I can move the files using the method you just described in detail. However, that doesn't make it very easy to merge files if there are many folders present. Somethings I was longing for...

    MisterMe, yes it's just a difference between the two operating systems, and I admit that the problem is that I'm still too used to the way things work in Windows. Not saying that the one method is better than the other but, if you ask me, the Windows' way of merging the contents sure can be handy at times. Especially for me. That's why I'm not that willing to just get used to it.

    Is there a program that I can use to choose whether I want the replace function to annihilate the old files or simply merge the old and the new ones? Onyx could have had that kind of feature but well.. it didn't.

    Or even an application that adds the merge option in the context menu (preferably with support for Quicksilver)?

    I'm not just trying to be annoying and I really appreciate your help.

    (Fun Fact: The whole problem stems from me not being able to find a good freeware mp3-tag program for OS X, like the aptly named Mp3tag for Windows.)
  5. rockstarjoe macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2006
    washington dc
    I don't know why they don't just add Merge to the menu either. It is one of those dumb mac things that you just have to get used to.

    For large folder mergers, try Chronosync. It has the ability to compare two sets of data and show you the differences, and sychronize them.
  6. Nappi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2007
    By the way, I re-tested the undo thing by creating two folders named "Test" in places A and B. I added a file named "one" inside the "Test" folder in the place A and "two" in the place B. When I moved the "Test" folder from A to B everything worked as it should have: place A was now empy and there was a Test folder with file "one" inside it in place B.

    Then I clicked the "undo" button which roughly translated said something like "Undo moving the "test" item" and ended up with the "Test" folder with file "one" returning to place A, but there was nothing in place B. In other words, the file "two" just vanished.

    Is this a bug, a feature or is OS X just coded so that there isn't any kind of "short-term memory" and the files that get deleted in a process are permanently lost (or something like that)?
  7. Nappi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2007
    Thanks for the tip rockstarjoe. 30 bucks is a bit too much for me, though, since I would only be using the program for merging folders.
  8. polycat33 macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2007
    Alexandria, VA
    Hah, I didn't know Windows had that feature, I always assumed that putting a folder or file into an area that already had a folder or file with that name would overwrite it, so I never even attempted to allow it to try to merge. I'm sure you can find a freeware program out there somewhere, however I don't think it's odd at all that the folder is overwritten instead of merged, never knew there was any other way.
  9. Robsta macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2007
    Finder 'Merged' With Windows Explorer

    I have recently migrated to OS X (via my girlfriends need for support after purchasing her MacBook), and managed to lose her work due to this

    overwriting problem.

    Consequently, I have raised a topic on Apple's own discussion forum, and am hoping for a few other with the same issue to help us to achieve a solution.

    What I propose is that there should be an option to 'Overwrite' folders, and an option to 'Merge' their contents (ala both Windows and Linux).

    I mean, how can we currently copy a folder with a stacked hierarchy of subfolders? I assume that each sub would be overwritten?

    If we could drum up interest then I will push this through Apple's feedback page and get it implemented.

    Here's the link:

    Lets get through to them collectively,


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