Microsoft improves file management in Windows 8

By on August 24, 2011, 12:12 PM

The team behind Microsoft's next-gen operating system has issued a new update on the Building Windows 8 blog, this time detailing a few improvements to things like copying, moving, renaming and deleting files.  While that's hardly something to get excited about, the software giant says these four basic functions account for 50% of all Windows Explorer usage in Windows 7, and thus they want to make sure that it is a great experience.

Microsoft had three goals in mind: creating one unified experience for managing and monitoring copy operations, removing any distractions so users only see key information, and putting people in control of their copy operations.

The first change you'll notice is that Windows will now use a single dialog box for multiple file operations rather than opening a number of them. The updated file dialog allows you to cancel jobs individually or pause any of them with the click of a button in case you want a specific job to finish sooner. Users will also be able to click and open the source or destination folders when copying -- sort of like browsers' download managers have been doing for a while.


Clicking on the more details button will open a real-time graph that shows the current speed of your operation as well as the time and number of files remaining. Microsoft's Alex Simons, director of program management on Windows engineering, commented that estimating the time remaining to complete a copy is nearly impossible to do with any precision because there are many unpredictable and uncontrollable variables involved. For this reason they have focused on tweaking the Windows 8 Explorer interface to play up elements that can be detailed precisely.

Lastly, Microsoft is also revamping the way Windows handles "file name collisions" when copying a file to a location where a file with the same name already exists. The new dialog box shows thumbnails for each file with all relevant information besides them so it's easier to identify which ones you want to keep.




User Comments: 22

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Win7Dev said:

I think is actually a nice improvement coming our way. I just hope that the interface is going to be similar to windows 7's. I'm not really liking the metro interface all that much.

Nima304 said:

Win7Dev said:

I think is actually a nice improvement coming our way. I just hope that the interface is going to be similar to windows 7's. I'm not really liking the metro interface all that much.

Neither am I. The Windows 7 look is good enough, Microsoft doesn't have to change the interface completely every time they want to make a new OS.

treeski treeski said:

Nima304 said:

Neither am I. The Windows 7 look is good enough, Microsoft doesn't have to change the interface completely every time they want to make a new OS.

Actually... they kinda do, if they want to continue to appeal to consumers. Whether 7 still looks good or not is irrelevant, because either way, it very quickly starts to look old. Aside from improving the framework and security, and adding new features, Microsoft has to make each new version of Windows look just that... NEW.

Guest said:

Changing the user interface in OS or App is always a gamble.

Our church uses a couple of apps that have newer versions with some enhanced features, but the user interface is totally different and the users of the apps are loathe to switch.

It is like changing a Windows user to OSX or vice versa. People like familiarity.

The changes have to be subtle and not overwhelming, and over time you can

get people accustomed to changes, just don't hit them over the head with interface changes.

Of course I'm talking about the general user. techies love new stuff.

IAMTHESTIG said:

This is great news! The file copy system has needed improvement for ages. I really hope they also aim some advanced features for the advanced users. I consider myself an advanced user and there are many very small things missing in Windows 7 Explorer interface that were there in previous windows, like the free disk space on the status bar. There was also something weird that changed in Windows 7, something to do with item selection... Windows XP would retain the selections and 7 doesn't. It's been well over a year since i've used XP so I don't remember anymore, but I feel the Explorer interface went backwards in Windows 7. The only thing I like is the copy status window with advanced information.

Really, if anyone at Microsoft is reading this... Give us back our advanced features, and add more. Just have them off by default for the average user who wont understand it. But to remove features that were (off by default anyway) is extremely aggravating. I do look forward to seeing these improvements and experiencing them myself in Windows 8, I just hope the advanced stuff for us techies doesn't get removed.

guyver1 said:

windows Explorer??......

Never use it (except on client PC's in work)

Total Commander (previously Windows Commander) is the ONLY thing i ever use. Best app I've ever used, started using it in 1999, bought it (lifetime license) in 2000 and have used it every single day since. Its feature list is simply mind blowing!

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

How about taking a step back and giving us back that "go up one level" button Also a bulk renaming tool would be nice.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I actually enjoyed that demonstration. Very useful compared to the previous ways. Makes me want to get Windows 8 already.

treeski treeski said:

slh28 said:

How about taking a step back and giving us back that "go up one level" button Also a bulk renaming tool would be nice.

I'm not sure how complicated of a renaming tool you are looking for, but Windows already has bulk renaming integrated. Just select a bunch of files you want to rename, right click on one (I don't remember if it matters which one you click), hit rename, type in whatever name you want, hit enter aaaand tadaaa...

Guest said:

If you want that "Go up one level" functionality in Win7, just hit Alt+UpArrow.

If you really want your UI button for it again, go here. In all honesty, though, if I'm willing to drag my mouse button up there, I'm already just going to click one of the breadcrumb links in the address bar. If I haven't hit the keyboard shortcut already.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That video restored my faith in humanity. All is well again.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Sounds like the old Pcopy days.. They seem to have lost how copy was used for. Simple copy is what we have today in Windows all versions. I see no reason why Microsoft puts out this video for copy. Just make it happen and move on. They should make first priority a stable release and fill in all the patches an security holes prior.

nickblame said:

techspot said:

Lastly, Microsoft is also revamping the way Windows handles "file name collisions" when copying a file to a location where a file with the same name already exists. The new dialog box shows thumbnails for each file with all relevant information besides them so it's easier to identify which ones you want to keep.

Its about time they fixed that. Windows 7 won't delete any of the files that collide and you're stuck with the folder tree containing them. You can do nothing. If you create two files on an ntfs partition with same name name and different case through linux, then you can't delete them in Windows 7.

Lionvibez said:

guyver1 said:

windows Explorer??......

Never use it (except on client PC's in work)

Total Commander (previously Windows Commander) is the ONLY thing i ever use. Best app I've ever used, started using it in 1999, bought it (lifetime license) in 2000 and have used it every single day since. Its feature list is simply mind blowing!

i'm also a big Total Commander fan great app.

I also use Teracopy which already gives me all of the functionality they are putting into windows 8 for a few years now.

I recommend some of you try it if you haven't.

Guest said:

With today wide range screens I think file managers must have 2 tabs from default like old Norton Commander.

PinothyJ said:

Nima304 said:

Win7Dev said:

I think is actually a nice improvement coming our way. I just hope that the interface is going to be similar to windows 7's. I'm not really liking the metro interface all that much.

Neither am I. The Windows 7 look is good enough, Microsoft doesn't have to change the interface completely every time they want to make a new OS.

{shrugs}

I use SharpE as my shell, FreeCommander as my file manager and Teracopy as my copy/paste/move program, so I am not terribly fussed on what it looks like.

Just saying...

SammyJames said:

Hell -- anything to shut up my stupid Mac friends who say, glibly, gullibly, and smugly -- "Oooooo... the Mac has such an AWESOME file system... I bet that you wish that your PC had such an incredibly WONderful file system as what we have on the Apple Macintosh Computer!!! It is simply just SOOOOOOOOO divine..."

*GAG*

SammyJames said:

And for what it's worth -- "the consumer" isn't some monolithic, crazed, teenybopper ***** who just wants something that "looks cool." Although I couldn't tell you any numbers about how many types of users do what on their PCs, I know enough to be able to make an educated guess about it. And my guess is that many consumers are perfectly fine with the OS look and feel as is.

What we have here is a failure to communicate...

We also have the typical NIH crap raising its filthy little face again. Not to mention that it's all about what is "chic" and "in" and "cool."

I've been on lots of forums where people ask questions like: "Why do we need the mouse? Wasn't there a time in this world when people were perfectly happy using the keyboard for everything? Why do I have repetitive stress injuries now? Why do I need to take Fioricet three times a day? When will this pain end? Can I claim this on my workman's comp form?

And when people start trying to use their big, bright, beautiful, and oh-so-not-designed-for-use-by-human-fingers-attached-by-bone
and-cartilage, then these questions will inevitably be asked even more often. And more vocally.

You get the idea.

Guest said:

"I just hope that the interface is going to be similar to windows 7's. I'm not really liking the metro interface all that much"

My feeling is that it will be very similar, and metro will mainly come into play (adaptive) if it detects touch input (tablets) capability, or if the user opts in or out as their default UI.

The strategy is really to have one united OS for both laptops/desktops, and tablets. For devs, this give them a unified development platform. So a winmobile8 app should in theory also work on windows desktop 8.

But really after almost 20yrs, should we STILL be using the same tired win95 metaphor?

Most people (even myself and I work in IT) don't even use the start menu anymore, we put shortcuts on the desktop.taskbar, or bring up search which autofills (smart text) and finds files as you type.

There is a point where you have to stop catering to people who can't or won't change; these same people also hate the ribbon UI, which is the new modern UI paradigm whether we like it or not. Those who cannot or will not (refuse) adapt, will simply be replaced with someone that can I'm sorry to say. The only constant in the world of technology is change.

Guest said:

@SammyJames

I envy mac users, these users truly can adapt quickly to new paradigms and UI faster than your typical PC user. When apple ships out new hardware with new UI, it almost always gets good response and users easily adapt. When change comes to PC users, it's "why is my start menu button icon changed? Can we change it back like win95?" (sigh)

Guest said:

"Whether 7 still looks good or not is irrelevant, because either way, it very quickly starts to look old. Aside from improving the framework and security, and adding new features, Microsoft has to make each new version of Windows look just that... NEW. "

Exactly. People forget Microsoft is a software company first and they have to attract existing and NEW users. You expect a new look now and then for cars, why not software or OS? Would anybody buy a 2011 Chevy Cruz if it still looked like a 1995 Chevy Cavalier today?

Guest said:

Wait...doesn't Linux already have this with Gnome/KDE? Nevermind, it's groundbreaking because Microsoft/Apple "invented" it.

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