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  1. #1


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    Question How do I change a drag and move command?
    Unlike Leopard, in Snow Leopard, to drag and copy from finder, you need to hold the option key while dragging, otherwise, it just moves the item.

    Can someone please tell me how to change the command so that dragging items will automatically copy to the desired location (ie to desktop) without having to hold down the option key?

    I don't know how to use terminal, but I am led to believe that commands can be altered by using terminal.

    Please Help!

  2. #2

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    It did the same thing in Jaguar 10.2, Panther 10.3, Tiger 10.4 and Leopard 10.5. That is the way OSX has always worked. I see no difference in Snow Leopard.

    On the same hard drive, OSX moves the file where you drag it unless you hold down Option. It's always been that way.

    If you are dragging and dropping to another drive, it copies it unless you hold down Command. That has not changed with Snow Leopard either.

  3. #3


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    Thanks, I just realised that I can drag and copy only certain items such as folders to the desktop without holding option.

  4. #4

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    No, if you drag a folder from a Finder window to the Desktop (without holding down Option) it just moves, it does not copy.

  5. #5


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    yes and no... a bit of a temperamental thing with osx! Right now, dragged pictures folder to desktop and preparing to copy as I type. Earlier it was copying instantly, as it was with documents, as too with library!
    No option key involved!
    The funny thing is, that before responding to this, it was instantly copying, and now, it's still preparing to copy and I'm about to force quit finder and relaunch hmmmm

  6. #6


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    ok, I replaced one of the suid files that I removed earlier "System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DesktopServicesPriv.framework/Versions/A/Resources/Locum", and now once again I am able to drag and copy from user folder in finder without holding option key, documents, pictures, music, movies, and a couple more folders that I have in there!
    I could ask why, but then again, why not, and accept that this is what's going on.... If you like, just for interests sake, I can take a quicktime flick of this and send it to you!

  7. #7

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toMACsh View Post
    No, if you drag a folder from a Finder window to the Desktop (without holding down Option) it just moves, it does not copy.
    No, that's it. Either your Mac has a serious identity crisis, or you're not correctly describing what you are doing.

  8. #8

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    First thing, you should not be messing with the System/Library/PrivateFrameworks folder unless you know UNIX and what you are doing. Playing around with SUID files could be the source of your issues.

    Second, OSX default behavior ON THE SAME HARD DRIVE is to move the folder or file where you drag it.

  9. #9


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    My mac may have an identity crisis, but if it does, it always has

    Here are some clear examples:
    If I go to my user name in the left pane of my finder window, & just simply drag my photos folder to the desktop, it copies the folder without holding the option key.
    Much again, if I go to the Macintosh HD in the left pane of the finder, and drag the applications folder to the desktop, it does the same.
    However, if I click applications in the left pane of the finder window, & try to drag an application to the desktop without holding the option key, it just moves it!

    As for the suid files, I have not deleted them, just moved them for later use if I need them to a folder that I allocated for them, as they kept coming up in permission repairs, and I just want to see when something comes up that is an issue, without a clogged log to have to scroll through!
    For the years that I've had my mac, running Leopard, I have been able to copy the above mentioned folders by just dragging them to the desktop, without ever playing with any suid files, or changing any unix commands, so this is not the source of any issues.

    All of this is from my internal HD (Boot volume) with no external hard drive connected.

  10. #10

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    If the folders are being copied, they are not being dragged (without Option key) to the Desktop of the same drive. Or else we go back to that identity crisis thing...

  11. #11


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    Re If the folders are being copied, they are not being dragged (without Option key) to the Desktop of the same drive. Or else we go back to that identity crisis thing...

    I'm not quite sure as to what you're trying to say...
    When dragging, the action either moves an item from one location to another, or, copies an item from one location to another.
    As for holding the option key to copy instead of moving, this is not necessary for all items.

  12. #12

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    What I'm trying to restate is what I said before. I'll rephrase it again. The behavior you are describing is not normal. It should not do it one way this time and another way the next. It doesn't even matter if you are talking about files, folders, applications.... anything. So, either something is wrong with your Mac, and we aren't close to getting to the bottom of it. OR You are describing what you think you're doing, but you are actually doing something else. I think the former is more likely than the latter. But, until you describe in excruciating detail exactly what you are doing, step by step, we won't be able to rule out either possibility.

  13. #13


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    I'll leave out all the actions that I have stated above, and just put down the one scenario....
    If I open the finder window, and mouse over my user name in the left hand pane, which in the contents has folders appearing as follows:
    Desktop
    Documents
    Downloads
    etc

    and decide to copy my documents folder to the desktop (with all off its contents), all I have to do is drag it to the desktop, and it copies it with all of its contents, without me having to hold the option key to do this.
    *it doesn't move it, it copies it!

    Where as, if I open that documents folder in the finder, and want to copy a document from the folder onto the desktop, then I have to hold the option key while dragging it, otherwise, it just moves the document!

    By the way, I checked with my mother, who has a slightly older MB than mine, and the same behaviour happens on her MB too!

  14. #14

    toMACsh's Avatar
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    Ok, I get it. I've also learned something from you. I'm a late adopter of OSX, going from OS9.2 all the way to OS10.5! There is a change that I was not aware of.

    If you're in your Home folder (the one with the little house) anything you drag to the Desktop seems to be preparing to Copy. (I didn't release the mouse button!) I did see the green circle with white plus sign, indicating a Copy was going to take place. I didn't see that every time, but I'm convinced it would have still copied the item. If I didn't see it, but dragged the item across another icon on the Desktop, the circle appeared.

    So, apparently, the OS is set up to disallow Moving anything it created from your Home folder. (My lesson of the day!) Once you "drill down" into one of those folders, you may or may not (I haven't tried more folders) see the same behavior. I think it's likely you will not, but rather the behavior I've been describing as "normal". There might be other folders that disallow Moving. You might know better than I which ones they are.

    Let me amend my story then. I bet that you will only get differing behaviors out of items from the same folder if the difference in the nature of the items is that you created it vs. creation by default at installation of the OS.

    Getting back to your original question... You'd like them all to be the same, and not have to use the Option key. I don't think there is a way to make that happen. I looked for a setting in a System Preferences Pane and came up empty.

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