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Dragging file -- copy vs. move

New member | Level 2
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
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Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Super User II
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

6 Replies 6
Highlighted

Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Super User II
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

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Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

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.

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Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

New member | Level 2
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.

 

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Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

Dropboxer
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
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

New member | Level 2
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...

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Re: Dragging file -- copy vs. move

New member | Level 2
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/ 

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