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When you right click and copy a file before pasting , is the file duplicated and stored in some temporary place before it gets transferred to main memory for storage , what actually happens beneath the hood ???

I am using Windows 7 , does it differ across different OS or is it the same for every OS

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I would assume the reference to the file is stored in memory, and the actual file is only copied once you paste it somewhere. Anything else would be a waste of resources in case you decide not to paste it — there's no need to copy something somewhere only to eventually move it somewhere else again. But why are you asking? –  slhck Apr 6 at 16:06

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Only a reference to the file in the HDD will be copied in memory, and once you paste the file, the actual data in the file will be copied to the new location.

To validate that, try to copy a file from a CD-ROM, and before you paste it, remove the CD, then try to paste. You will get an error that the file does not exist, or something similar. So, that proves that copy only copy the reference to the file.

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