10 December 2008

Copy - Paste (not Cut) files

After last week's post I tried using the Finder's copy & paste functions to move files around.

One thing the struck me is that there is not cut function. Well, there is the delete function but you can't copy files and simultaneously delete them from their location.

I discovered the reason this morning...

When you copy a file in Finder, OSX does not seem to burden itself to load all the data in memory. It only seems to register the file location.

So, if you copy the files, delete them now because you could as well do it now instead of having to come back here later, and then try to paste them somewhere, OSX will complain that the files are missing. Indeed, there are in the Trash...

The correct order is thus to copy the files, paste them in their new location, go back to the original location and delete them...

It would seem to me that the smarter way to implement that would be to not remember their actual path, but to put a flag on the files, similar to an alias, so as to track the files if they move or are removed, before being pasted to their new location...

Update

I just found this hint on MaoOSX Hints: Use Quicksilver for Finder cut and paste .

5 comments:

aaron said...

A lot of people disagree with this, but "cutting" files is inherently misleading and broken. Rather than rehash the issue here, I'll link you to a comment I made on Slashdot about it.

Jean-Christophe Helary said...

Since I have never really worked on Windows (well, yes, I did use Windows 3.1 and Windows 95) I am not sure what you refer to in your slashdot comment. But what I expect from a "cut", even though the term is not appropriate in the context of the Finder, is simply to put the selected item into memory and remove it from its location.

There are probably good reasons why this is not implemented in the current Finder but it is still unclear to me. As for the "undoability" of Finder actions, they are limited to one action, the very last one, as far as file names are concerned. So I don't see how a similar mechanism could not be implemented for a "cut" function.

Just like for text, a "cut" undo would replace the contents at its original location while keeping the data in memory. It does that for file names already.

MM said...

How does this tie in with CMD + drag and drop? Unfortunately this only works if you can see both folders, but it seems to move files completely.

Jean-Christophe Helary said...

Thank you MM for the comment.

The issue with Drag&Drop is that you have to use the mouse. But you are correct regarding the fact that it indeed removes the selected files from their original location.

I am more a keyboard person though, because as you mention, the D&D must be accompanied by proper fiddling with the finder windows, and this can be tricky at times.

Marta said...

There is a plug-in for Finder that includes the Cut feature in the menu. I'm gonna look for it and post it here.