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Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Malbone
New member | Level 2

I use Dropbox to move files between Mac computers (OS 10.11 and 10.13) and Windows computers (Win7).  When I drag a file from the Dropbox folder to a Windows local folder, it COPIES the file.  When I drag a file from the Dropbox folder to a Mac local folder, it MOVES the file (i.e., deletes it from the Dropbox folder).

Why the inconsistent treatment of the same action?  Is there anything a user can do to change the default action?  Obviously there is a way in each system to reverse the default action, but why make the user remember to do that?  At this point I don't even care whether the default is MOVE or COPY -- I just want it to be the same on all platforms.

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Rich
Super User II

@Malbone wrote:

Why the inconsistent treatment of the same action?

Whether a file is moved or copied when dragged is controlled by your operating system. Dropbox has nothing to do with it.

I can't speak to a Mac ( @Mark can comment on that ), but on Windows, a drag and drop between locations on the same drive is considered a move, and a drag and drop between locations on different drives is considered a copy. There are modifier keys that you can hold on both operating systems to change what happens when dragging files. On Windows, holding CTRL will force a copy, holding SHIFT will force a move, and holding CTRL-SHIFT will create a shortcut.


Obviously there is a way in each system to reverse the default action, but why make the user remember to do that?


Ask Microsoft and Apple. It's entirely on them.

View solution in original post

8 Replies 8

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Rich
Super User II

@Malbone wrote:

Why the inconsistent treatment of the same action?

Whether a file is moved or copied when dragged is controlled by your operating system. Dropbox has nothing to do with it.

I can't speak to a Mac ( @Mark can comment on that ), but on Windows, a drag and drop between locations on the same drive is considered a move, and a drag and drop between locations on different drives is considered a copy. There are modifier keys that you can hold on both operating systems to change what happens when dragging files. On Windows, holding CTRL will force a copy, holding SHIFT will force a move, and holding CTRL-SHIFT will create a shortcut.


Obviously there is a way in each system to reverse the default action, but why make the user remember to do that?


Ask Microsoft and Apple. It's entirely on them.

View solution in original post

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

SB91
Explorer | Level 4

I cannot believe that "copy/move is controlled by your operating system. Dropbox has nothing to do with it".  I have consistent behavior of MOVE for all other folders exept for the dropbox folder. When I drag file out of dropbox, it is always COPY.  This behavior is quite annoying.  

I have Dropbox 86.4.146  on Windows 10 pro 18363.476.

The best solution is for the Dropbox team to fix this issue.

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

_Bob21_
New member | Level 2

Totally agree with SB91.

Rich "Super User II" response is "helpful" but inaccurate and does not address that dropbox drag behavior is not normal.

On windows, I can generally right click drag and CHOOSE to copy or move.  But not with dropbox.  It just MOVES.

And in my case, it was a drag from a DIFFERENT DRIVE (USB Flashdrive) to the dropbox "drive" and it did a MOVE.   Deleted the original location.  No warning that it was going to do that.  No normal windows program would EVER do that.  I followed up with a drag from the flashdrive to the desktop -- windows performed a COPY, as it should.

Normally I don't post on forums when I search for answers but this AWFUL "Accepted Solution" really teed me off.  Take responsibility and fix the dropbox behavior.  Thanks.

 

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Lusil
Dropboxer

Hey @_Bob21_, thanks for nudging us on this thread!

In general, when you drag and drop files into your Dropbox folder, even from a different drive, they'll move instead of copy.

You can find more info about why files move instead of copy in this article

Nonetheless, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us! 

If you have any other questions, just give us a shout. Thanks!


Lusil
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

LAish
New member | Level 2

I don't normally post on these forums either, but this process is not cool. I think the business logic behind why this happens is that dropbox wants to be the authoritative source for you documents so you become increasingly dependent on dropbox and use it more and more- but this is an opaque and, I think, sneaky way to do it.  For mac users, "dragging" files into a dropbox folder is just the same as "dragging" a file from one of your local folders to another local folder--except that now that file lives only on dropbox with every permission and potential problem that goes with that.  I get why you are doing this Dropbox (in your article you state "we recommend moving all of your important files to your Dropbox." and I am sure you do!) but they way you're going about it not cool, and you know it, and it may be a reason to break up with you...

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

cweckerle
New member | Level 2

I had an issue with dragging and dropping always copying on a Windows 10 machine. I initially assumed it had to do with Dropbox but found it was resolved by changing a setting in Windows. I followed these steps and it was successful: https://mywindowshub.com/how-to-set-the-default-drag-and-drop-action-in-windows-10/ 

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

SMB-User
Helpful | Level 6

According to my experience the Dropbox folder is treated by users as a shared [network] folder.

So the expected default behaviour of the drag-and-drop between the Dropbox folder and local folders is the copy [instead of move] operation.

The move operation leads to the loss of the original files in shared folder when user means to copy it to a local folder from a shared [network] folder. That causes a bad user experience with Dropbox.

The Dropbox should have an option to set the default action of drag-and-drop between the Dropbox folder and local folders. The default should be copy.

BTW the Google Stream (Google Drive) drag-and-drop between the Google folder and local folders the default operation is the copy and that is the way as it should be.

 

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Takeapunt
Explorer | Level 4

Here's my take on this (on Mac OS)...

 

The Dropbox folder exisits on my computer, in my Home folder. So in the FINDER when I drag files into it from my computer it is a MOVE (moving from one location on the computer to another location). Dragging files into the Dropbox folder from a share or server is of course a COPY (copying from one computer to another).

 

But, when you use the DROPBOX APP, dragging from a shared server is a MOVE. This is dangerous as it is not the same as the OS, and it removes files from a remote server.

 

I've tried to explain this to Dropbox here, but can't get them to understand yet: https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Dropbox-files-folders/Copy-Move-new-app-behaviour-is-dangerously-dif...

 

In the meantime, to help prevent my users deleting files off our servers when they drag to Dropbox I set the preference in the Dropbox App to Open folders in: Finder. That way they get the Finder integration, but without the misbehaving blue app window.

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