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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

File copying frustrations - help?


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djmitch
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I've posted a similar thread in the "OS X - Operating System" forum to no avail, so perhaps some of you other switchers can offer some insight about this.

Suppose I have file X on my jump drive AND on my hard drive, but file X on my jump drive is newer and I want it to replace the older one on my hard drive, i.e. copy it from the jump drive to the hard drive. When I drag and drop (or copy and paste) this file INDIVIDUALLY onto the hard drive, I'm alerted (like with Windows) that I'm about to replace an older version of the file with a newer one. I'm also thankfully warned whenever I'm about to accidentally replace a newer version of a file with an older one.

My problem is this: I don't receive such a warning message when I'm dragging and dropping (or copying and pasting) a GROUP of files. So suppose I select a group of files including file X on my jump drive and I drag and drop them onto the hard drive directory that has the same file: I'm no longer warned that one version of the file is older/newer than the other. I'm simply asked if I'd like to replace file X with file X, not an "older" version of one with the "newer" version, or vice versa. In other words, I'm running the risk of replacing a newer file with the older one without being warned about it. I hope I'm making sense!

Anyhow, is this a glitch that Tiger has or what (I'm running version 10.4.1)? Logically, I should be warned that one version of a file is older or newer than another whether I'm moving a file individually OR in a group. If this is not a glitch, then someone please tell me that there's a way to get my Mac to do something similar to what Windows does (showing the date and time of last modification for both files), or at least help me understand the logic behind why Macs display the messages that they do when copying files.

I'm really missing this Windows feature (gasp!) and I don't want to start regretting "The Switch". Somebody please help!!
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iWhat

 
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Nope, not a glitch. It's been like this.

Check out this thread:
Copying one folder over another of the same name destroys data!
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djmitch
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I recall reading that thread as I was waiting for my Mac to arrive, and it revolves around the issue of replacing files - something I have no problem with OS X doing nor with how it does this.

My main beef is how, when asked if I want to replace an existing file, I am not given a simple dialog telling me if that file is older/newer than the one I am seeking to replace it with. Again, I do get such a dialog when I'm dragging and dropping files one-by-one, which is great (I don't need exact date/time info in this case), but it perplexes me as to why I don't get this dialog for each file I'm asked to replace when I'm choosing to move a GROUP of files.

Whether a Mac veteran or a total newbie, this is a serious shortcoming of the Mac OS in my opinion as the user should always be warned when they're about to unwittingly replace a newer file with an older version instead of the generic "An item named [filename] already exists in this location. Do you want to replace it with the one you are moving?"

I've done some experimenting and I get the older/newer version of this message when moving a file individually, but NOT when I am moving that file when it's part of a group of files that I wish to move. This forces me to waste time being vigilant about accidentally not replacing newer versions of files with older ones (by copying files one-by-one instead of a group of files at a time), and it's unfortunate that Windows has the edge in this respect.
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Aptmunich

 
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Ok well what about this:

Create a smart folder that contains only the latest version of files that you need, example:
'Last modified - within last 3 days' AND
'Type - Text' AND
'Type - Presentations'

Then just run this handy little automator application I built you, it wil take the specified smart folder and copy it to a folder named 'Latest files' on the thumbdrive. It'll automatically overwrite any older same files, without deleting the ones that haven't been modified.


EDIT: ERROR!!: That didn't work properly - it simply copies the smart folder to the thumbdrive that then runs a search when you open it.

I couldn't see a way to get the actual results of the smart folder and copy them over - anyone have a workaround?


I've already posted a feedback comment to apple on this..
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djmitch
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I understand that automator application you created didn't work, but wow - thanks so much anyhow for trying this for me! I'm grateful for your effort in this regard. What a statement about the integrity of people on this forum!

Your smart folder idea seems like a good one; perhaps I'll experiment with this myself as I learn OS X more. I'd also really like to figure out what Automator is all about as this might provide a solution, too.

I really want to find a way around my gripe about the whole file copying thing and the messages that are displayed. I've been very discouraged about this aspect of OS X but I've decided not to let it sour my overall taste of Macs. Nearly everything else is so well thought out that it hit me hard when I discovered that something so simple and practical was not included as part of the Mac OS. It's just hard for this newbie to accept that Macs, too, have their weaknesses so forgive me if I've made "a mountain out of a molehill", although this is an issue of major importance to me based on the volume of files I continually transfer between my hard drive, external drive, and jump drive.
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Aptmunich

 
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Hey no problem!

This was something that has bugged me too, so I figured there must be a way around it!

But if you create a smart folder with all the right criteria so it only shows you the files you actually need to change, you can just hit apple+a to select them all and then drag them into your folder on the flash drive.

You might also want to check out the automator plugin to merge folders: It's a right-click function for the finder (so you hit the right mouse button, select automator and then merge files).
It basically asks you to select 2 folders and copies them together in Windows style and doesn't overwrite everything.
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