The current default for dragging-and-dropping to a volume F: different from the Windows volume C: is to copy the file/folder. C: and F: are NTFS partitions on the same hard drive.

How can I make the default a simple move instead?

Holding Shift is a last resort option. Or right clicking.

I'm running Windows Vista.

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    So, you have already covered petri.co.il/advanced_drag_and_drop_vista.htm and are looking (probably) for some kind of a registry hack that would make your default action move instead of copy, even when across volumes. – nik Jun 3 '11 at 2:58
  • @Randolph I will be moving files a lot between the two volumes. F: is intended as a place to keep my files. I'd rather not have to move my left hand up to the keyboard every time I want to simply move a file. Furthermore, some not-so-tech-oriented people also use the computer, and I'd like to keep it easy for them. – Mateen Ulhaq Jun 3 '11 at 5:11

Muntoo - based on your comments it sounds like you are trying to back up, or at least keep copies of files in another location.

I realize this answer might be a bit technical for you, but hopefully it's not too bad.

First, there is a utility included with Windows Vista called Robocopy. It is command-line, which means it runs from the DOS prompt.

Robocopy allows you to copy files to / from locations with a host of options, not the least of which is a mirroring function. How it works:

Open a Command Prompt by clicking Start and in Run, type "cmd" and press Enter. In the window that appears, you can enter commands like:

robocopy c:\data e:\data

That command will copy all data from the c:\data director to the e:\data directory. Simple enough, right?

Ideally, you will want to add parameters to the command that perform mirroring, for example, which enables robocopy to mirror the target directory (e:\data) with whatever is in the base. So if you remove folders from the base, it will remove folders from the target etc. each time you run the command.

How to Automate: Create a new myfile.TXT file on your desktop. In the file, enter the following and save:

robocopy c:\data e:\data /MIR /Z

Obviously change the source and target locations to be whatever you want. Rename the file to "myfile.BAT" instead of "myfile.TXT" (only change the file extension).

Now, you can double-click the file and it will run the command automatically. This command in particular will do exact mirroring based on the parameters, and just might be exactly what you need.

If you want to further automate this, you can make Windows run this BAT file automatically by creating a new Scheduled Task and setting Windows to run the BAT file. I recommend following the steps here. There should be options to run the task automatically on bootup, shutdown, login / log off, every 4 hours, etc.

EDIT / UPDATE: Thanks for clarifying in your comment below. I suggest you update your original question with that information. At present, the ONLY way to explicitly move files on a selective basis is as the other commenters have stated and as you already know - using the SHIFT key.

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  • 1
    Erm, actually, I am just keeping my data on F:, Windows on C:, and Ubuntu on U:. So if I want to move a picture from my Desktop into F:\Pictures, I will have to hold down shift and drag and drop. I'd rather the default be not having to hold on to shift. – Mateen Ulhaq Jan 31 '12 at 4:09

I think this app can help you: Drag'n'Drop Editor

*As you can see, the user interface is very simple. Just click on the action what you want to have by default. This will not affect keyboard modifiers for drag-n-drop, but changes keyboard-free action. You many choose between three availabe default actions:

  • Copy file
  • Move file
  • Create shortcuts

To restore your registry to clean state, use "Uninstall Explorer tweaks" button.*

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To change the default drag-and-drop behavior for files to "Always Move":

  1. Open the Registry Editor.
  2. Go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and find the * folder.
  3. Right-click the folder and select "New" > DWORD.
  4. Name the DWORD DefaultDropEffect.
  5. Double-click DefaultDropEffect and set the Value to 2.
  6. Still under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, scroll down until you find AllFilesystemObjects.
  7. Repeat steps 3-5.


  • Files dragged between different drives or between different network locations will now be moved instead of copied.
  • Files dragged from an optical drive are still always copied by default. This can't be changed.


Good ol' Brink at TenForums

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