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Windows team manager Alex Simons gives the public a taste of file management in Windows 8.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

The new client consolidates your mess of Windows into a single neat GUI pane.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

You can now get details galore on copy speed and more.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)

There's also a new interface for selectively resolving file conflicts.  (Source: MSDN/Microsoft)
All sorts of new additions should reduce pain and clutter when copying files with Win 8

Anyone who's ever had to prepare for a reinstall of their Windows OS -- be it to prepare for an upgrade, or to try to solve technical issues -- is familiar with the pain of slow copies, dealing with at times confusing name collisions, and multiple cluttering Windows.

Microsoft Corp. (
MSFT) is very aware of these issues (in recent years it's increasingly collected remote telemetry data from volunteers to determine what's going wrong and right in Windows).  And in Windows 8, its plan is to offer a dramatically improved file transfer experience.

In a post to the Microsoft Developer Network "Building Windows" 
blog and a corresponding video, Windows engineering team manager Alex Simons shows off the new features.

When executing multiple simultaneous copies, gone are the multiple windows of yore.  You now get a single comprehensive panel.  Each transfer element offers the option of cancelling or pausing the transfer.  For example, if you want to speed up a specific transfer, you can pause your other transfers so the system resources will focus on the targeted transaction.

The GUI element also has an option to provide detailed information on each transaction, including an eye-catching chart of the transfer speed.  The features in the new pane closely resemble those you find in modern browsers for tracking downloads -- and it's a good thing.

Rounding out the improvements is a new option for handling conflicts.  In addition to the replace all and skip all categories found in Windows 7, there's now an option "Choose the files to keep in the destination folder".  This allows for users to select the copy they most want.  This allows you to selectively replace only some files in the destination folder.  You can even double click to open files for further examination.

Microsoft says the new tools will be a valuable addition to Windows 8 as 20 percent of file transfers in previous versions of Windows take longer than 2 minutes to complete.  Further, about 1 in 18 jobs fails, either due to a network interruption or by user cancellation.

The company also acknowledges it's estimates of the remaining time to copy haven't been the best in the past, making it the butt of some jokes in that regard.  Mr. Simons writes, "We’re anticipating that many of you are going to want to know what we’ve done to improve the accuracy of the estimated time remaining for a copy to complete. (This has been the source of some pretty funny 
jokes over the years)."

Microsoft says while approximate 1 out of 200 Windows users use a dedicated copying client -- like TeraCopy, FastCopy, and Copy Handler -- whose abilities may surpass the new additions, for most this will be the first relief from the previous hassle-prone copying.

The team is also working to reduce dialogues labeled by users as "redundant" or "annoying", such as the confirmation of dropping stuff in the recycling bin, or the confirmation of merging folders.

Windows 8 is set to 
release in late 2012 and has been called "revolutionary" by some Microsoft team members and the company's "riskiest" product by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  The OS will be Microsoft's first operating system to support ARM processors, the first OS to incorporate the stylish metro look, and the first Microsoft OS streamlined for a better tablet experience.

If for some reason you feel some of these new features sound horrible, don't worry.  We've heard Microsoft should be conducting 
a public beta testing/feedback phase for Windows 8 early next year, following in the footsteps of the tremendously successful Windows 7 beta.



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Explorer
By ajb on 8/25/2011 8:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
Historically, Explorer did not use multiple processes (and it still does not by default) due to Windows' laughable IPC performance. File copying was always restricted to a single thread, and this is the "secret" behind third-party copying utilities- they are multithreaded, or may even use a separate process for each copy. So besides ripping off Nautilus and Finder with the UI, it sounds like they've finally been able to come up with a modern, non-retarded architecture for Explorer.

Great work guys, everyone else kinda solved that problem a decade or more ago.




RE: Explorer
By bernardl on 8/25/2011 9:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty cool stuff. OSX has been gathering all the file transfers in one single group of windows for a few years, but Win8 takes this a step further.

Cheers,
Bernard


RE: Explorer
By snakeInTheGrass on 8/25/2011 10:08:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I'd be happy to see throughput on the OSX file transfer window as well - as a geek thing, anyway, since it's not like it makes moving it any faster. The compare-on-replace is nice, though it would be much nicer integrated with QuickLook! It's surprising this hasn't shown up on Explorer or Finder before now, but then both companies have always managed to put as little effort into their file browsers as possible. :/

But overall, they could do almost nothing and still improve on the traditional:
"-29123214348273498 minutes remaining" dialog from XP. Now that was always promising to see. Lol.


RE: Explorer
By NellyFromMA on 8/26/2011 10:22:59 AM , Rating: 2
Are you friggen kidding me or are you just being a bigot?

In the passed there was little-to-no usefulness outside of VERY niche scenarios for 'multi-threaded write' if you will.

Do you understand how a harddrive writes sequentially? Multiple writes on the same HDD I thought were possible, and they were nightmarish for IO output due to disk jumping, no?


RE: Explorer
By snakeInTheGrass on 8/29/2011 10:02:20 AM , Rating: 2
"In the passed"? (Which is certainly no type...)

Wow. Are you kidding all of us?


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