In Windows Vista, when I try to move a folder to replace an existing folder, Vista asks me if I want to merge the folders or cancel. How do I get the old XP behavior where the old folder is just replaced.

This issue is especially challenging when moving many folders at once and some of them move but then some of them hit this merge/cancel problem.


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    XP merged folder contents, too. e.g. if you had folder A in one place with contents {X, Y}, and another A folder elsewhere with {Y, Z}, then dragging the first A to the second's location would result in contents {X, Y, Z} and where Y is the version from the first A folder. So, you can say that Y was replaced, but the overall operation is a merge, of sorts. – Chris W. Rea Aug 5 '09 at 13:39
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    Additionally, interesting to contrast XP's folder drag behaviour to Mac OS X: If you had the same folder setup and did the same operation, you would end up with {X, Y} from the first A only, and lose Z. That caught me by surprise when I got a Mac. – Chris W. Rea Aug 5 '09 at 13:42

Windows XP doesn't replace a folder of the same name when you attempt to copy over it. It merges. It replaces any existing files of the same name and copies any new files from the source to the target.

Perhaps you are trying to ask how to prevent the constant prompts to overwrite files and folders? In XP, you were presented with the "Yes to All" button:

Yes to All

In Vista, there are check boxes at the bottom of the prompt dialogs to prevent it from asking you again:

Vista prompt to overwrite file

  • It looks like my real problem was not understanding that XP actually does a merge operation as well. Bottom line, it looks like there isn't a way to replace folders via drag-and-drop, but that I should delete the target folders first in order to avoid the merge operation. Thank you for your thorough answer and the side by side XP/Vista screen grabs! – Adam Kane Aug 6 '09 at 4:21

Your real problem starts when

  • you hit an existing file that would be overwritten (and you do not want that to happen_
  • or, when you run out of space on the target partition (when you transfer across partitions)

You should try TeraCopy, it helps in several such situations.

alt text

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    I forgot about TeraCopy. +1. I haven't actually tried it yet with Vista or Win 7, but their site says it supports both including x64 ... which was my original hang-up. – Chris W. Rea Aug 5 '09 at 13:53

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