Section 2.1. Working with Files and Objects


2.1. Working with Files and Objects

The tips that follow show you how to predictand even changehow Windows Explorer responds to the dragging and dropping of files and objects. Here's an overview of how drag-and-drop works in Windows Explorer:

  • 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 or network drive (c:\docs to d:\files), the object is copied, resulting in two identical files on your system.

  • If you drag an object from one physical or network drive to another and then back to the first drive, but in a different folder (c:\docs to d:\files to c:\stuff), you'll end up with three copies of the object.

  • If you drag an application executable (an EXE file), the same rules apply to it that apply to other objects, except that if you drag it into any portion of your Start menu or into any subfolder of your Start Menu folder, Windows will create a shortcut to the file. Dragging other file types (documents, script files, or other shortcuts) to the Start menu will simply move or copy them there, according to the preceding rules.

  • If you drag a system object (such as an item in the My Computer window or the Control Panel) anywhere, a shortcut to the item is created. This, of course, is a consequence of the fact that these objects aren't actually files and can't be duplicated or removed from their original locations.

  • If you drag system icons or items that appear within system folders, such as Documents, Internet Explorer, or the Recycle Bin, any number of things can happen, depending on the specific capabilities of the object. For example, if you drag a recently deleted file from the Recycle Bin, it will always be moved, because making a copy of, or a shortcut to, a deleted file makes no sense.

If you have trouble remembering these rules, or if you run into a confusing situation, you can always fall back on the information Windows provides you while you're dragging, in the form of the mouse cursor. A blue right-pointing arrow appears next to the pointer when copying, and a curved arrow appears when creating a shortcut. If you see no symbol, the object will be moved. This visual feedback is very important; it can eliminate a lot of mistakes if you pay attention to it.

Here's how to control what happens when you drag and drop an item:

  • To copy an object in any situation, hold the Ctrl key while dragging. Of course, this won't work for system objects such as Control Panel itemsa shortcut will be created regardless. Using the Ctrl key in this way will also work when dragging a file from one part of a folder to another part of the same folder, which is an easy way to duplicate a file or folder.

  • To move an object in any situation, hold the Shift key while dragging. This also won't work for system objects such as Control Panel itemsa shortcut will be created regardless.

  • To create a shortcut to an object in any situation, hold the Ctrl and Shift keys simultaneously while dragging. If you try to make a shortcut that points to another shortcut, the shortcut will simply be copied (duplicated).

  • To choose what happens to dragged files each time without having to press any keys, drag your files with the right mouse button, and a special menu will appear when the files are dropped. This context menu is especially helpful because it will display only options appropriate to the type of object you're dragging and the place where you've dropped it.



Windows Vista Pocket Reference
Windows Vista Pocket Reference: A Compact Guide to Windows Vista (Pocket Guides)
ISBN: 0596528086
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 63

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