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Windows 8 : Selecting Files with Check Boxes, Resolving File Transfer Conflicts

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1/25/2015 7:44:09 PM

Selecting Files with Check Boxes

All of these are fairly sophisticated and useful technologies. However, sometimes it’s the small, mundane elements that make your life with an operating system easier and more efficient. In this section, you learn about one of our favorites of Windows 8’s many small but quite useful tweaks: a technique that affects the way you select files.

When you need to select multiple, noncontiguous objects, the easiest method is to hold down the Ctrl key and click each item you want to select. However, when we use this technique to select more than a few files, we always end up accidentally selecting one or more files that we don’t want. It’s not a big deal to deselect these extra files, but it’s one of those small drains on productivity that bugs us (and many other users).

Windows 8 offers a file-selection technique that promises to eliminate accidental selections. With this technique, you use a check box to select individual files and folders. To activate this feature, display File Explorer’s View tab and then activate the Item Check Boxes check box.

As you can see in Figure 1, when you turn on this feature, Explorer creates a column to the left of the folder contents in Details view. When you point at a file or folder, a check box appears in this column, and you select an item by activating its check box. You don’t need to hold down Ctrl or use the keyboard at all. Just activate the check boxes for the files and folders you want to select.

Image

Figure 1. In Windows 8, you can select files and folders using check boxes.


Tip

Bonus technique: You can also select all the items in the folder quickly by clicking the check box that appears at the top of the Name column.



Understanding Size on Disk

To see the total size of the objects in the current selection, right-click the selection and then click Properties. Windows 8 counts all the files, calculates the total size as well as the total size on the disk, and then displays this data in the property sheet that appears.

What’s the difference between the Size and Size on Disk values? Windows 8 stores files in discrete chunks of hard disk space called clusters, which have a fixed size. This size depends on the file system and the size of the partition, but 4KB is typical. The important thing to remember is that Windows 8 always uses full clusters to store all or part of a file. For example, suppose that you have two files, one that’s 2KB and another that’s 5KB. The 2KB file will be stored in an entire 4KB cluster. For the 5KB file, the first 4KB of the file will take up a whole cluster, and the remaining 1KB will be stored in its own 4KB cluster. Therefore, the total size of these files is 7KB, but they take up 12KB on the hard disk.

Resolving File Transfer Conflicts

When you move or copy a file into the destination folder, it sometimes happens that a file with the same name already resides in that folder. In earlier versions of Windows, you’d see a dialog box asking whether you want to replace the existing file, and you’d click Yes or No, as appropriate. Unfortunately, Windows didn’t give you much information to go on to help you make the choice. Windows 8 takes a step in the right direction by displaying the Replace or Skip Files dialog box instead. Figure 2 shows an example.

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Figure 2. This dialog box appears if a file with the same name already exists inside the destination folder.

This dialog box gives you the following choices:

Replace the File in the Destination—Click this option if you want the file you are copying (or moving) to replace the existing file.

Skip This File—Click this option if you want Windows 8 to not copy (or move) the file, so the original remains in the destination folder.

Compare Info for Both Files—Click this option to see more information about both files, including a thumbnail, the last modified date, and the size. Activate the check box for the version you want to keep and then click Continue. Note, too, that you can keep both files by activating both check boxes and then clicking Continue. In this case, the existing file remains as is, and the file being copied or moved is placed in the folder with (2) appended to the filename.

 
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