How to force Windows to copy, move or create file shortcuts
You can use Windows Explorer to move and copy files, or create file shortcuts, for instance by right-clicking selected files and folders and selecting the option from the context menu that pops up. If you prefer drag and drop operations, you may have noticed that Windows Explorer sometimes moves files, sometimes copies them, and sometimes creates file shortcuts instead.
The source and target locations determine whether dragged and dropped files get moved, copied, or if a file shortcut is created instead.Moving means that files are moved from one location to another, so that the file is only available in the new location after the operation. Copying on the other hand creates a copy of the file and places that in the selected new location. File shortcuts finally point to files but do not alter them or their location in any way. he following rules apply:
- Files are moved if you drag and drop the files into another location on the same partition. If you drag and drop files from c:\users\downloads\ to c:\users\my pictures\ you will notice that they are moved to the new location so that the files are only available in that location after the operation.
- Files are copied if you drag and drop them to a location on another partition. If you drag and drop the c:\users\downloads\ files to d:\downloads\, you will notice that they are copied to the new location so that the original files remain in the downloads directory on the c: drive.
- If you drag and drop files to the start menu or the taskbar, a file shortcut is created instead pointing to the original file location.
You can force copy, move and shortcut operations with the help of shortcuts:
- Hold down Shift to move files regardless of destination. You can use it to move files to another drive.
- Hold down Ctrl to copy a file regardless of destination.
- Hold down Alt to create a shortcut to the selected file
Windows Explorer displays the selected operation in an overlay. This is done immediately if you use one of the shortcut keys, or once you drag the selected files over a new directory on the system.
Have another tip on how to handle file operations in Windows Explorer? Let me know about it in the comments below.Advertisement