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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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Less painful?
By Visual on 8/26/2011 2:46:41 AM , Rating: 2
If anyone thought file management was any bit "painful" in previous windows versions, maybe Microsoft should not be looking for software solutions to the problem but instead should branch into medicine, psychiatry and full brain transplants.
Seriously, WTF is wrong with people these days?




RE: Less painful?
By robinthakur on 8/26/2011 5:07:26 AM , Rating: 2
What's wrong with them, is that they have all started using smartphones far more than actual computers in their daily lives. iPhones and iClones do things instantly thanks to the memory being flash based and the OS optimised for the device, so people have gotten used to not having to wait around. With the rise of Apple, people have again taken notice of how to do things simply without a massively complex interface which puts off 99% of people who aren't techies.

Additionally, even for more technical users file transfers from multiple sources is still a pain with unreliable time approximations, no indications of where bottlenecks lie and multiple windows cluttering things up. Few but the most technical understand the nitty gritty differences between a copy and a move, and they don't really need to know. A computer is just a tool, first and foremost, for most people to let them browse the web and handle email, store photos etc.

Full marks to MS for actually using the data we all send back from Windows to improve their OS. I would like to think they would innovate even without their competitors breathing down their necks, but hmm...IE6 and WiMo6 say differently.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer














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