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Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, 2nd Edition by David A. Karp

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Handling Files and Folders

Much of the work we do on a computer either involves creating or modifying documents. The rest of the time, it seems like all we do is move those documents around. The next few topics will help make file manipulation easier and hopefully a lot more pleasurable.

Take Charge of Drag-Drop

Intuitively, when one drags an object from one place on the screen to another, it would seem reasonable that the object would then appear in the new place and disappear from the old place. In other words, what happens to a file when you drag it from the left side of your desktop to the right side of your desktop should be exactly the same as what happens when you drag a file from one folder to another or from a floppy disk to your hard drive.

The problem is that drag-drop is handled differently in different situations. The decision of what action to take in each situation was made by a committee at Microsoft; I'd be willing to bet that you didn't have a personal representative at that meeting.

So, our aim here is to force Windows to work the way we think, keeping in mind the practical limitations of the operating system. Here's the way Explorer works (note that "object" is a file, folder, shortcut, system object, or anything else with an icon that can be knocked around with your mouse):

  • If you drag an object from one place to another on the same physical drive (c:\docs to c:\files), the object is moved.

  • If you drag an object from one physical drive to another physical drive ...

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