Move or copy files from different folders using nothing but Windows Explorer
When it comes to moving or copying files on Windows, users of the operating system have plenty of options to do just that. From being old school and using the command line to using Windows Explorer or third-party programs that ship with extra features that make the operation more comfortable.
There are plenty of dual-pane file explorers available for example that let you move and copy files without having to juggle around with different Explorer windows to get the job done.
Automation may also aid you, especially when you want an operation performed regularly on a set of folders. If you want to move all documents from a download folder to another folder, you can very well automate the process so that you don't have to deal with that manually anymore after setup.
And then there are programs like Smart Copy Tool which semi-automate the process for you.
Move or copy files using Windows Explorer
One easy option that is often overlooked is to use Windows Explorer to move or copy files that reside in one or multiple folders in one operation.
This is done by making use of the search functionality of Windows Explorer:
- Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the root folder structure that contains all the files that you want to copy or move, e.g. My Documents or Downloads.
- Use the search to filter for matching file types, e.g. *.zip to find all zip archives, *.doc to find Microsoft Word documents. Tip: It is possible to combine multiple search terms, e.g. .zip wordpress or .doc .docx .xls .xlsx.
- Windows Explorer displays all matching files in its interface.
- Select some or all of the files that you want to copy or move. If you want to select all simply use Ctrl-a to do so. You can select files individually by holding down Ctrl while left-clicking on files in the results.
- Either use Ctrl-c to copy the files and Ctrl-v to paste them into a different directory on the system, or open a second Windows Explorer instance and use drag and drop to move or copy them. Remember that you move files if you drag and drop them to a location on the same partition and copy them when the destination is on another partition.
- You can right-click the selection to select copy or move explicitly, or hold down Shift to always m0ve and Ctrl to always copy.
- You can stop drag and drop operations with a tap on the Esc key on the computer keyboard.
This manual approach works well for similar files or file types but not that great if there is no common denominator such as part of a file name or file extension. While you can overcome this somewhat by adding multiple search terms to the search, it becomes less practical as these grow in number.
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