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
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
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.