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How do I move -- just move, not copy/delete -- a folder?

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How do I move -- just move, not copy/delete -- a folder?

Helpful | Level 5

SUMMARY

When I move a folder in DropBox, then on the surface that's what seems to happen. But what actually occurs appears to be as follows:

 

  1.  A copy of the original folder is created and added to DropBox in accordance with whatever move destination I intended
  2.  Then the original is deleted

Is that what is meant to happen, or am I doing something wrong?

And if I am, then how do I do it correctly, so as to avoid the add/delete behavior and get a simple move?

 

 

DETAILS

Not much more to add really. It happens just as I describe. But in case it matters:

 

  1. It happens regardless of how I do the move: e.g. via clicking/dragging on my desktop (Mac Finder); or via my web browser; or even just using 'mv' on the command line in a Mac OS Terminal; etc
  2. It also happens with files as well as directories, even if just renaming the file
  3. And it happens even for the simplest move within DropBox (i.e. it's not a function of moving something into or out of DropBox for example). So these all show the behavior:
    • mv mydir newly-created-dir
    • mv mydir previously-created-dir/mydir
    • mv file.txt newfile.txt
  4. I can see that this is what's happening because if I turn on Show deleted files when viewing via my browser, I can see the original copy, now deleted. Also, if I look in https://www.dropbox.com/events, I see the my activity listed not as a single move event but rather as a deletion event and an addition event
  5. I can't be certain but I believe I've also seen this manifest when moving a directory containing a lot of files and subdirs. So instead of a quick blip of synchronization on my DropBox icon, I am told that a gazillion files are being deleted, and another gazilion created and synced.
  6. That said, if I run an activity report, it does report a move as a move, and a rename as a rename.
2 Replies 2
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Re: How do I move -- just move, not copy/delete -- a folder?

Super User II

@ThomasQ wrote:

When I move a folder in DropBox, then on the surface that's what seems to happen. But what actually occurs appears to be as follows:

 

  1.  A copy of the original folder is created and added to DropBox in accordance with whatever move destination I intended
  2.  Then the original is deleted

Is that what is meant to happen, or am I doing something wrong?


That's a function of your operating system, not Dropbox, and a move in most operating systems generally is a copy followed by a delete. The reason for this is if the move of a particular file fails, the original is untouched and not actually deleted until the file exists in the new location.

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Re: How do I move -- just move, not copy/delete -- a folder?

Helpful | Level 5

@Rich wrote:


That's a function of your operating system, not Dropbox, and a move in most operating systems generally is a copy followed by a delete. The reason for this is if the move of a particular file fails, the original is untouched and not actually deleted until the file exists in the new location.


Well sure, that can be true down at the metal.[1] But it's not what's happening here.

 

In the mechanism you're referring to, the deletion of the original does eventually take place for real, once the OS is satisfied the new copy is safely in place. But by contrast, what I'm seeing in DropBox is that even after the copy is safe, the original is left essentially intact; it's merely hidden from sight. And if, in DropBox in my web browser, I turn on "Show deleted files" in the  directory, I can see the original (in the browser). Furthermore, I can even restore it (at which point it syncs and reappears on my laptop).

 

That it's not an OS thing can further be seen from the fact that it happens even if I do the move entirely in DropBox in my browser, and in folders that aren't even synced to my laptop and under control of my OS.

 

--

 

[1] Although even there, it depends on the OS, and on where the move is to -- same/diifferent filesystem, same/different partition, etc.

 

 

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