Windows 8 improved copy/paste UI detailed

Over at Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog, the Windows 8 team have detailed in a lengthy post how they will be improving copy, paste, rename and delete tasks in the updated version of Windows. The team is relying on anonymous user data to help improve these tasks in Windows 8.

Microsoft have three main goals for improving these actions in Windows 8:

  • One place to manage all copy jobs: Create one unified experience for managing and monitoring ongoing copy operations.
  • Clear and concise: Remove distractions and give people the key information they need.
  • User in control: Put people in control of their copy operations.

The team have consolidated the copy/paste jobs in Windows Explorer into a single dialog with some new options. Users will easily be able to stop individual copies, as well as pause and resume them at will to speed up certain operations and have greater control. You will also be able to open source and target folders from the window.

They have also improved the detailed view by adding real-time throughput graphs for each copy, showing more information about the speeds of copies. Microsoft recognized that the time estimation is far from accurate due to the huge amount of variables, and while they are still including it in the detailed view, they are placing a greater focus on other, more reliable information.

Finally on the list of improvements that they have detailed, they have shown the new dialog that appears when there is a conflicting file name. The new interface places much more control in the user’s hands while still improving the clarity of what is occurring. Via easy to use checkboxes, users will be able to select which specific files they wish to replace, keep both copies of the files or replace all files, hopefully with minimum confusion.

As the Windows 8 team puts it, these improvements add up to “building a significantly improved copy experience, one that is unified, concise, and clear, and which puts you in control of your experience."

Images courtesy of Building Windows 8

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Nice improvements. Now can they please stop automatically sorting the files that I paste by the sort order and sort only when I hit refresh.

Man, watching this video and for some stupid reason, it makes me boiling mad. I feel like this is a long overdue feature in Windows in the internet age where you constantly download new files, which you need to often move and copy from place to place. What Windows need is a full global transfer manager to handle all the downloads, move, copy, and deletions. What I see in the video is a half-@ssed implementation and it ****es me off.

Hey Windows Team, make a global Windows Transfer Manager. This will handle all IE downloads and Explorer operations. It should have the ability to move, copy, and delete files. It should have check boxes for the usual options, such as Overwrite All, Overwrite Older, Keep Both (renames newer/older), It should have the option to preserve original dates and attributes.

And please please please, add the ability to QUEUE operations!!! For example, in the video, when he pauses the second copy operation so that the first goes faster, what if you walk away for a while and come back to find that it's still paused? Would it put it in "Queue" mode instead of pause? I think there should be a distinction between queue and pause, two separate features.

And if the team want a challenge, they can add a folder compare feature to the Transfer Manager, where it compares not just the file name and file size, but scan for text and bitmap content to find duplicates. And maybe combine the Sync tools into the Transfer manager too. And I think the Windows Updates and Software Updates can be part of this Windows Transfer Manager too, so that one manager will handle all the transfers, downloads, and updates in the OS.

mayamaniac said,
Man, watching this video and for some stupid reason, it makes me boiling mad. I feel like this is a long overdue feature in Windows in the internet age where you constantly download new files, which you need to often move and copy from place to place. What Windows need is a full global transfer manager to handle all the downloads, move, copy, and deletions. What I see in the video is a half-@ssed implementation and it ****es me off.

Hey Windows Team, make a global Windows Transfer Manager. This will handle all IE downloads and Explorer operations. It should have the ability to move, copy, and delete files. It should have check boxes for the usual options, such as Overwrite All, Overwrite Older, Keep Both (renames newer/older), It should have the option to preserve original dates and attributes.

And please please please, add the ability to QUEUE operations!!! For example, in the video, when he pauses the second copy operation so that the first goes faster, what if you walk away for a while and come back to find that it's still paused? Would it put it in "Queue" mode instead of pause? I think there should be a distinction between queue and pause, two separate features.

And if the team want a challenge, they can add a folder compare feature to the Transfer Manager, where it compares not just the file name and file size, but scan for text and bitmap content to find duplicates. And maybe combine the Sync tools into the Transfer manager too. And I think the Windows Updates and Software Updates can be part of this Windows Transfer Manager too, so that one manager will handle all the transfers, downloads, and updates in the OS.

Great. Just suggest in on their blog, where they're actually likely to listen to this feedback. Sounds like good ideas, but why get mad? This isn't like one of the most requested features of Windows ever, and I hadn't really though too much about improvements in transfering files. I'm pretty glad they're doing something, and hope to see ideas similar to yours in maybe the following release.

protocol7 said,
Does the pause option remind anyone else of the old BeOS days?

Yup, not sure what the point is though when it comes to copying files.

.Neo said,

Yup, not sure what the point is though when it comes to copying files.

The video demonstrates one reason. If you're running out of time and need one set of copies to finish quicker. It's not something you would use a lot, but could be a saver on occasion.

great feature addition but DAMN it looks bad!!! checkboxes and lines everywhere... it just looks like a guy has been throwing stuff all around. I used to do that in visual basic 10 years ago!! is the UI guy on a sick leave or what?!

someone maybe able to answer this simple question which has been bugging me for ages. My works machine is Windows XP and say I want to copy a folder which contains hundreds of sub folders and files from C:\ to D:\. The folder is for arguments sake 1GB. If I set the copy going and leave it overnight, in the morning there's a window saying unable to copy xxxx.txt. When I click ok the window goes and that's it. Windows has copied half the data but how on earth do you find out what it's copied and what you have left to copy??? That's always confused me lol Not sure if it's the same with Windows 7. Thanks!

glen8 said,
someone maybe able to answer this simple question which has been bugging me for ages.

XP's copy mechanism is pretty bad. Might want to look into something like TeraCopy which is kinda similar to what's being shown above, just not as pretty.

MASTER260 said,
Is it just me, or does the very beginning, (when we don't get a close up,) have a new start button?

Yea I noticed that to. But its back to the old one later on in the vid.

Bout time...

How about a folder view with folder details under the folder name, like total amount of files inside and total size......... thanks!!!!

What happens if I check both the checkboxes for a file on the "Choose files" window? I think radio buttons would be better.

nyolc8 said,
What happens if I check both the checkboxes for a file on the "Choose files" window? I think radio buttons would be better.

I assume that the file would be moved into the destination folder so that there are both copies, but they will be renamed with a number at the end?

For Christ sake! that's great! Paused copy and paste . The only thing is missing is copying and pasting when has different sizes... Then I'm sold out!

After watching the video, I notice quite a few small changes in Windows Explorer.

1. Some kind of tool option on the top (kinda like a tab) for the files. I.e like in Windows Movie Maker.
2. Up button to the left of the address bar.

Pretty nice change.

Kind of sneaky they're hiding features of the UI - the tray area was blurred, different orbs, and the titlebar buttons appear chunkier in the first screen. Also the first screenshot is the current 'rounded' Aero and the second is squared off.

MattWeihl said,

I use it all the time in Win7. Mass renaming photos is great (mass-select files then hit rename on one and all the other photos will be number accordingly).

A bit more advanced so we can use Patterns, RegEx, etc... Hey one can wish.

sopharine said,
What's with the dotted line around the buttons? It's dated and ugly.
I still don't understand why those dashed (dotted) borders still appear even on Windows 7. I hope they'll get rid of them for Windows 8 because they're beyond ugly.

sopharine said,
What's with the dotted line around the buttons? It's dated and ugly.
Maybe Windows 8 was coded in WPF.

sopharine said,
What's with the dotted line around the buttons? It's dated and ugly.

That's just been a part of Windows since Windows 95, if not earlier... It shows what button or image or link or whatever (because it appears in web browsers too) has focus... But being the OCD-like guy I am, having the dotted area bothers me too...

sopharine said,
What's with the dotted line around the buttons? It's dated and ugly.
It's for keyboard controls.. So you know which area is selected.

sopharine said,
What's with the dotted line around the buttons? It's dated and ugly.

Those were in IE9 betas too (on tabs) but fortunately disappeared for the final. Do hope the same case applies here. It's a pretty sleek and refined UI, no need for ugly old crap lying around messing it up.

The problem with the dotted line is that they're still needed for controls that don't tell you they're selected. Buttons, list view controls, menu items, etc. are controls that have their own 'selected' style, but things like radio buttons and checkboxes do not (hover effects don't count). Thus the marching ants.

There is a tool buried somewhere on the forums that allows you to remove them.

Morden said,

Those were in IE9 betas too (on tabs) but fortunately disappeared for the final. Do hope the same case applies here. It's a pretty sleek and refined UI, no need for ugly old crap lying around messing it up.


Good to know it's gone in IE9. I have not upgraded it because of this!

Denis W said,
The problem with the dotted line is that they're still needed for controls that don't tell you they're selected. Buttons, list view controls, menu items, etc. are controls that have their own 'selected' style, but things like radio buttons and checkboxes do not (hover effects don't count). Thus the marching ants.

There is a tool buried somewhere on the forums that allows you to remove them.


Apple managed to come up with something nicer than a 2 bit dotted line. Maybe it's time for Microsoft to do the same...

.Neo said,

Apple managed to come up with something nicer than a 2 bit dotted line. Maybe it's time for Microsoft to do the same...

The fix is really simple; all that's needed is a DLL call to intercept the drawing of the 'marching ants' and prevent it from going ahead. Which that tool does.

I agree that it's about time they do away with them as they just look horrendous especially when they're accompanied with modern 'highlights'.

Denis W said,

The fix is really simple; all that's needed is a DLL call to intercept the drawing of the 'marching ants' and prevent it from going ahead. Which that tool does.

I agree that it's about time they do away with them as they just look horrendous especially when they're accompanied with modern 'highlights'.


It's insane that Microsoft refuses to update the countless legacy interface elements still scattered around Windows 7 and you have to resort to third-party solutions. Hell, instead of having a single icon theme you're still confronted with mess that consists out of Windows 9x, 2000, XP, Vista and 7 artwork. Same goes for those retarded dotted lines that have no place in a 2009 operating system.

.Neo said,

It's insane that Microsoft refuses to update the countless legacy interface elements still scattered around Windows 7 and you have to resort to third-party solutions. Hell, instead of having a single icon theme you're still confronted with mess that consists out of Windows 9x, 2000, XP, Vista and 7 artwork. Same goes for those retarded dotted lines that have no place in a 2009 operating system.

Even if Microsoft kills the marching ants, that's only for those apps using the native UI controls. For instance, Mozilla's apps draw their own marching ants in Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.

Denis W said,
The problem with the dotted line is that they're still needed for controls that don't tell you they're selected. Buttons, list view controls, menu items, etc. are controls that have their own 'selected' style, but things like radio buttons and checkboxes do not (hover effects don't count). Thus the marching ants.

There is a tool buried somewhere on the forums that allows you to remove them.

Must find that tool...

wrack said,
Now give us BULK RENAME

I use it all the time in Win7. Mass renaming photos is great (mass-select files then hit rename on one and all the other photos will be number accordingly).

I thought there were some flaws - mostly in the colors associated (I think it will be confusing to regular users).
Here's my (quick - very quick) mock up of what I thought it should be. More of a stop light approach (slow transfers are yellow (only shows unless system can detect an anomaly in the transfer), orange with an error, red when it's paused/stopped, green of course when it's a regular transfer).
http://yfrog.com/gz7v0qp

MattWeihl said,
I thought there were some flaws - mostly in the colors associated (I think it will be confusing to regular users).
Here's my (quick - very quick) mock up of what I thought it should be. More of a stop light approach (slow transfers are yellow (only shows unless system can detect an anomaly in the transfer), orange with an error, red when it's paused/stopped, green of course when it's a regular transfer).
http://yfrog.com/gz7v0qp
I don't agree with using red for paused transfers. They are using Green and Orange. Green is usually associated with PLAY, while Red is associated with STOP. Orange or Yellow makes sense for paused transfers. While looking at the graphs and the meter that moves to show the actual speed, its already easy to spot the slower operation, I think there is no need to add colors for speed, juts like they showed already, for state of the operations.

Other might agree, but I liked the way they have it right now. I can't think of a better way to to do it. Perhaps they should show how the name collision window will look like when there is a bunch of files, not just a few.

ajua said,
I don't agree with using red for paused transfers. They are using Green and Orange. Green is usually associated with PLAY, while Red is associated with STOP. Orange or Yellow makes sense for paused transfers. While looking at the graphs and the meter that moves to show the actual speed, its already easy to spot the slower operation, I think there is no need to add colors for speed, juts like they showed already, for state of the operations.

Other might agree, but I liked the way they have it right now. I can't think of a better way to to do it. Perhaps they should show how the name collision window will look like when there is a bunch of files, not just a few.

Yeah, yellow is a better idea for a paused transfer. If it was red, at first glance I'd think there's an issue or something, but really it's just paused... And I also agree that there's no need to differentiate the colors based upon speed... you have the graph right there...

And also, in the video, they show that there's a window that pops up first, asking if you'd like to over-write the files, keep the originals, or choose which ones to keep. If you go with the last option, then the name-collision window shown above is shown... But yeah, I agree... It'll be tedious to sit there and sift through a whole bunch of files...

If you were to base colours on speed, what would it be relative to? Different types of transfers inherently take different speeds, so it would be a minefield just to define them.

Zedox said,
Anybody else notice in the video that the "orb" around the start button is gone.

Yep. It's a different logo actually (a little bit more colorful). Clearly the build shown on the beginning monitor was older than the one actually showed in the footage.

Zedox said,
Anybody else notice in the video that the "orb" around the start button is gone.

Yep! i noticed it too and now the min,max and exit is different too! I like it a lot!

Zedox said,
Anybody else notice in the video that the "orb" around the start button is gone.

If you go back to the first batch of Win8 start screen demo videos and go to the part where they show the right hand control pane/bar or w/e it'll be called, there's a start button there (so you can go back to the start screen from inside a full screen app etc). IIRC it's the same exact design that they have there, so they're just matching them together instead of having 2 different looking start buttons.

Zedox said,
Anybody else notice in the video that the "orb" around the start button is gone.

Go to about 37 seconds into the video. The start button/orb looks exactly like it does in Windows 7.

i understand that they "recognized that the time estimation is far from accurate", but now they won't show anything about the remaining time in the fewer details view?

Sas Center said,
i understand that they "recognized that the time estimation is far from accurate", but now they won't show anything about the remaining time in the fewer details view?

Yeah, I noticed that too... As little as it is, I'd like to have the time remaining thing there...

JaykeBird said,

Yeah, I noticed that too... As little as it is, I'd like to have the time remaining thing there...

I'm not fond of that change, either. It's probably adequately accurate 95% of the time, so I don't see any compelling reason to remove it. Apparently they have data that disagrees with our feelings, though.

k776 said,
Actually, it looks nice, though still just catching up to Mac.

Lol? Not like it has ever been behind Mac?

k776 said,
Actually, it looks nice, though still just catching up to Mac.

What kinda BS are you talking? Conflicting file name feature which has been in Windows for a long while now, Apple just recently added it to Lion. In previous versions of OS X, it simply replaced the file, no questions asked. Please, if you don't use Windows, don't make comparisons, because its very obvious you don't.

The only thing they are catching up on is grouping together multiple copy progress bars (welcomed). Otherwise they are far ahead (and have been far ahead)

k776 said,
Actually, it looks nice, though still just catching up to Mac.

Cut and paste a file natively, go on, lets see if mac has that BASIC function without third party apps.

Coi said,

Lol? Not like it has ever been behind Mac?

I think he means the merging of multiple copy windows into one. Apple came up with that same idea during the development of OS X Tiger in 2005.

.Neo said,

I think he means the merging of multiple copy windows into one. Apple came up with that same idea during the development of OS X Tiger in 2005.

Other than having a single window for file copy, how is Mac OS better?

mrp04 said,

Other than having a single window for file copy, how is Mac OS better?


I'm just saying he's probably referring to the fact that the Finder merges all copy windows into one. What don't you understand?

hm "Which files do you want to keep" << This dialog gets interesting if I have 200 same files... Hell yeah, gonna get a looooooong window

Ah, whatever maybe it's with pages

HopeForP7Update said,
hm "Which files do you want to keep" << This dialog gets interesting if I have 200 same files... Hell yeah, gonna get a looooooong window

Ah, whatever maybe it's with pages

Pretty sure will have it probably at like 5-6 and have a scroll bar and pages. Good thing they have a checkbox for both lists.

Zedox said,

Pretty sure will have it probably at like 5-6 and have a scroll bar and pages. Good thing they have a checkbox for both lists.

Yeah, in the video, there was a scroll bar. So, that seems like what they'll do... I hope there's pages too, because having to scroll through 200 files will be a pain... In fact, just looking through 200 files at all will be a pain in general...

JaykeBird said,

Yeah, in the video, there was a scroll bar. So, that seems like what they'll do... I hope there's pages too, because having to scroll through 200 files will be a pain... In fact, just looking through 200 files at all will be a pain in general...

Grab the scrollbar and move it. Pages would be a pain. What do you do if you want to get to page 20 of 30? You'd have to press the next arrow 19 times.

There is always the page up/page down buttons, same thing as pages.