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QotD: Folder Merge or Replace

Question: If you were czar of the Mac OS for a day and you were tasked with the question of how the Finder should handle same-named folders when one is dragged to the location of the other, how would you handle it: the current "replace" method or the "merge" method?

My Answer: I like the current method. I almost always want to replace, and when I don't know of a same-named folder, I'm warned I'm about to replace something. If I ever want to merge, I just open the folders, but these times are vastly outnumbered by the number of times I want to replace something.

Just as replacing can have very bad side effects, an accidental merge of two folders containing even 50 items each could take a very long time to correct.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

8 Responses to "QotD: Folder Merge or Replace"

  1. I'd like to be able to hold down a modifier key (or a couple) that would change "replace" into "merge." Merge can be really useful sometimes, especially if you have subfolders within the folders you'd like to merge.

  2. Remember CopyDoubler in ancient times? It added merge & sync features which I miss. Like the other Mike says, I'd also like to see a merge option.

  3. "The folder x already exists in y.

    [Replace] [Merge] [Cancel]"

    Viola, best of both worlds.

  4. I'm going to agree with Carl on this one, neither action really seems the best for all circumstances. How about, if you're going to ask me anyway, ask me something useful.

    And I've been bitten by the replace action just as many times as the merge action. I know, I know, user error.

  5. I agree with Carl.

    That said, I've never came across a situation where I really did want to totally replace a folder with another. I have came across situations where I wanted to replace a *bundle* with another, but that's because *bundles act like files*. 🙂

    Patrick: It's not user error. Apparently, the replace-entirely approach and the merge approach both have swaths of fans. It's in the programmer's best interest to figure out how to make it work for both groups, not in our interest to act as if we aren't good enough for the application.

  6. Way to sit on the fence, guys. 😛

  7. Moving a file replaces the target, rather than merging, so replacing is more consistent. And most of the time it's what I want. But it sure would be handy to have a merge option for when I need it.

  8. Replace, with the ability to undo. Merging two folders is not something I think I have ever done in my life, perhaps because I have always just gone into the folder, select-all, and dragged the contents into the other folder if I ever wanted to do this. When you drag a file into a folder with another file with the same name, it replaces -- I don't want folders behaving differently.