Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Vista's New 'Copy' Dialog

Some of the more useful improvements to Windows Vista come in the underlying file system. There are a ton of improvements under the hood to make files easier to deal with. One of the more subtle but important differences from Windows XP is the way discrepancies are handled during file transactions.

In Windows XP, if a file encountered some kind of error (file already exists, etc.), it was handled at the time it occurred, interrupting whatever you were doing. If the same thing happens on Windows Vista, the operation continues, and you are prompted to resolve the conflicts at the end of the process.

The UK's Official Windows Vista Magazine covers it as one of their favorite features:

The problem I have with this dialog is that it is misleading. The first option makes me think two things are going to happen, the file is going to be copied, and then replaced. I had to think about it for a second. So I don't think it is intuitive enough.

I think a better version would say "Replace", "Keep existing", "Keep both files". That leaves no doubt in my mind what is going to happen.

What do you think?



  • jpickett said:
    I see your point and might have to think for a second if you don't read the sub-caption. Those are pretty helpful. I would certainly like to see something more consistent in wording like you suggest, although you might as well change "Replace" to "Replace existing" to keep it uniform with the rest of your suggestions. That would make it pretty crystal clear.

    Having said that, the feature is definately nice ;-)
    August 18, 2006 1:25 PM
  • I remember seeing a screenshot or having heard about an earlier build of Longhorn where if you installed a program and it tried to reassociate file extensions you were given a prompt asking you if you wanted to continue to with the reassociation. This isn't in Beta 2 and I'm wondering why. I've found though that the file association doesn't quite work that well in Beta 2, icons don't always show up, a lot of thumbnails don't, and all of the associated extensions aren't listed in the file association control panel item (which is also very limited)
    August 19, 2006 6:02 PM
  • Damon Russel said:
    I agree that the title "Copy and Replace" is somewhat misleading, but the sub-title does explain it in terms that any user should understand. I think Microsoft should consider changing it simply to "Replace". I like the "Don't Copy" and "Copy, but keep both files" titles. They are very direct and leave no question as to what will happen when I click the button.

    Damon Russel
    August 22, 2006 1:54 PM
  • I'd like to see an option that let you keep the newest file.
    August 29, 2006 7:39 AM
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