Windows 8 to spruce up Explorer file management

In Monday’s preview of USB 3.0 support in Windows 8, Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky hinted that we’d soon get a glimpse of the upcoming operating system’s revamped file copy interface. Well, Sinofsky delivered on that promise yesterday evening. Check it out:

I’m impressed with the transfer speed progress bar in the expanded view. The ability to pause and resume transfers is a nice touch, too. Too bad Microsoft isn’t working on on improving Windows’ notoriously unreliable transfer completion estimates. Sinofsky explains, "Estimating the time remaining to complete a copy is nearly impossible to do with any precision because there are many unpredictable and uncontrollable variables involved . . . Rather than invest a lot of time coming up with a low confidence estimate that would be only slightly improved over the current one, we focused on presenting the information we were confident about in a useful and compelling way. "

Is it me, or is Windows 8’s classic interface shaping up to be more friendly to us geeks and power users? I suppose Microsoft might be betting that novice users will just stick with the simplified tile UI, which gives the classic UI (which will lurk behind the scenes) license to geek out.

Comments closed
    • Fighterpilot
    • 8 years ago

    Sigh….so …once again Krogoth are disappoint.
    If only we were all such hardcore ‘Nix command line studs as you.

    • Fighterpilot
    • 8 years ago

    Sigh….so …once again Krogoth are disappoint.
    If only we were all such hardcore ‘Nix command line studs as you.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      It is a joke.

      Guess some people here don’t have a sense of humor.

    • RhysAndrews
    • 8 years ago

    If you currently use a dedicated file manager program, then that’s because you need one. You can’t expect Windows to go all out on every single task. That’s like complaining that their photo previewer doesn’t include all the features Adobe Photoshop has.

    I think it’s an improvement on Windows 7’s interface.
    It does look like the “keep both files” option is missing but perhaps it’ll come back.

    I think the only complaints I have from the Win 7 transfer that I hope Win 8 resolves is that sometimes you’ll cancel a transfer and it will wait for minutes and minutes before actually cancelling. OR it prepares to copy for longer than the copy itself.

    -Rhys

    • Duck
    • 8 years ago

    This is just more awful bloated crap that tries to look good while failing on the functionality side of things.

    I have a real file manager. Just get one yourself.

    • PeterD
    • 8 years ago

    As long as you haven’t used it for a while on your own pc, you can’t state that you are “impressed with the transfer speed progress bar in the expanded view”.
    The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    • Wirko
    • 8 years ago

    If I was able to customize every detail of:
    – status bar (height and info displayed, placement under left/right/both panes)
    – tree pane (do we all need Favorites and Libraries where they are?)
    – file list in details view (space between lines, file extensions in gray, file size in B/KB/MB)
    – file list in thumbnail view (background color, ability to choose file attributes to be shown below icons)
    – toolbar (choice of buttons displayed)
    – context menus
    and do it separately for every folder, or class of folders,
    then I could live with any kind of copy dialog.

    • xeridea
    • 8 years ago

    What is so hard about a file copy progress bar? It already prefetches all the file info, but it doesn’t weight them properly. It should weight 1000 4kb files as much as 1 500MB file. This could also be smart and learn differences in drive types and speeds for more accuracy, but even without going that far, weighted times would be 10x better right off, I could write a script to do it in like 20 minutes (quick n dirty proof of concept).

    • Evaders99
    • 8 years ago

    About time Microsoft!

    – Teracopy user
    +1 for the xkcd

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    I’m really impressed by MS’ apparent switch to a “copy manager” similar to a browser’s “download manager”.

    Also done in still shots here: [url<]http://bink.nu/news/new-copy-features-in-windows-8.aspx[/url<] The thing I want to see most improved from Windows 7 to Windows 8 though, is deployment in a multi-user environment. Right now, it is far more difficult than it once was to configure a system to present a unified experience regardless of the user that logs in. Customizing the default profile takes a lot longer, isn't as customizable as it was under XP, and using Sysprep also takes 2-3 times longer. I love Windows 7, but it's a grind to deploy in the environment I'm in. I hope changes are made to improve it in Windows 8.

    • adampk17
    • 8 years ago

    Looks great.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 8 years ago

    I just want a way to make “more details” the default view. I never want fewer details.

    • PenGun
    • 8 years ago

    There are few things more pitiful than the windows file system. I have a win7 partition to play games but I do all my windows file movements from my Linux system because I can trust it to do what I tell it too. I also unpack all kinds of compression in Linux, again, because I trust it to do my bidding.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 8 years ago

    Yay, more power to the geeks!

    • kc77
    • 8 years ago

    Could they steal anything else from Gnome/OSx? The only thing new seems to be the graphical representation of the transfer rates. Other than that….. not impressed.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 8 years ago

      I’m delighted every time one of the OS desktop designers steals a good idea.

        • kc77
        • 8 years ago

        Considering the size of MS I would prefer if they did a little more than that.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t think I’ve ever used explorer to copy files. I’m addicted to Total Commander.

    • sabrewulf165
    • 8 years ago

    I am surprised at the number of negative comments on this. I think it looks great. If you don’t like how much space it takes, don’t open the details? Shrug. Haters gonna hate, I guess.

      • xeridea
      • 8 years ago

      A more accurate time remaining would be far more useful than a ton of eye candy. They say its hard, but they are full of donkey doo. I could write a more accurate proof of concept in 20 minutes. A medium ground would be nice with details, but not to the point that you have to search for where the useful information is displayed.

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        It’s rather difficult to do a more accurate transfer time-remaining feature without employing some user determinable QoT functionality, much like a dynamic task management scheme (anyone remember “ChangeTaskPri” on the Amiga?) As much as I’d like to see this, I’m afraid this may be ‘too geeky’ for the UI designer guys, and I ain’t holding my breath…

        • ShadowEyez
        • 8 years ago

        No offense, but it is hard to make an accurate time remaining prediction. If you’ve ever done low level kernel or OS programming, the number of variables and functions is staggering for a modern OS. A lot of people, myself included, agree, it would be nice to have this – but if it were that easy, a large company like MS would have already done it (like in the win95-98 era).

    • wiak
    • 8 years ago

    but TeraCopy is still more useful :p

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      When it isn’t crashing.

        • wiak
        • 8 years ago

        try a older version 😉
        2.2 beta 3 works fine mind you

          • 5150
          • 8 years ago

          When it comes to my data and “older” “beta” versions, I think I’ll pass.

    • neon
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder if this will be a useful tool to benchmark file copy transfer rates.

    If nothing else, the transfer rate feedback may help me to remember which ports are USB 2, and which are USB 1.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      perfmon has been around since NT days. Now Resource Manager is probably the best quick way to quickly bench real-world speeds.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      Why do you still have USB 1 ports?

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        i still have usb 1 ports.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 8 years ago

          Again, why? I don’t think motherboards with USB 1 only ports have been made in like 8 years. Maybe longer.

            • neon
            • 8 years ago

            OK, they are USB 1.1

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            I think he’s asking how old your computer is. USB2 has been the standard since the Socket 478 and Socket A days.

            • neon
            • 8 years ago

            I was wrong.

            The system I was thinking about actually has USB 2.0 ports. It has both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices plugged in.
            Windows Device Manager shows 2 different USB host controllers, one each for USB 2.0 and 1.1.
            I mistakenly thought that there are 2 types of USB ports on the motherboard, but they are all USB 2.0. I tested this by swapping the devices around different ports.

            Thanks for making me think.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            That makes a whole lot more sense than you using a Pentium 2 or something.

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    The file collision dialog is MUCH worse, the vast majority of the time I simply want to apply one action to all the files and do so without hassle. Their example MAYBE works for 5 images before it gets overly tedious and you want the old dialog box back.

    The speed indication is a duh and what took them so long?

    There are hundreds more areas I hope they are working on, such as making whitespace management better.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      It looks like you can apply one action to all files before you get to the individual screen. There was replace all and skip all options.

        • xeridea
        • 8 years ago

        Win7 has “keep both files”, it renames the copy to name(1). I didn’t see that there.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 8 years ago

          good point

          • Wirko
          • 8 years ago

          When I copy files and encounter a collision, I often want to rename the file in the destination folder, not the one being copied. I didn’t see that option here either.
          I also make mistakes and sometimes overwrite files I didn’t mean to – in this case they are gone for good. The Windows recycle bin, although 16 years old, is still unable to save them.

          BTW: Hey, Windows 95 turned sixteen today!

            • xeridea
            • 8 years ago

            “BTW: Hey, Windows 95 turned sixteen today!”
            Lol

    • RtFusion
    • 8 years ago

    Looks like a really neat feature, I like. I also kinda like how they keep the bad estimated times in Windows 8, lots of memes made from it (I think XKCD made a comic about it) and is something that I see that makes it “Windows” (not sure if that made sense).

      • MadManOriginal
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]http://xkcd.com/612/[/url<]

    • grantmeaname
    • 8 years ago

    Too bad it’s 650 pixels tall.

    • yfital
    • 8 years ago

    that
    looks
    horrible.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    I like that they’re going a step farther than just duplicating functionality in OS X. Ever since 10.5, Apple has had a combined copy/delete status window, so meh. But the fact you can see the speed it’s moving at is pretty sweet.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    I’m extremely optimistic for win8.

      • xeridea
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t see anything that would make me wanna switch. There is that trashy new tiles UI, and a couple minor interface improvements. Looks like I will be on Win7 for a long time, like I was on XP for 8 years till 7 came out kuz Vista is completely worthless.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        Vista Pre SP1 was indeed worthless.

        Its a decent OS now heavily patched. I would go with 64-bit Vista Business over 32-bit 7 all things considered.

        Just disable UAC when first setting it up, turn it back on when done.

    • tygrus
    • 8 years ago

    Sounds like yet more effort going into making it look like ‘something is happening’ instead of making it happen faster.

      • Taddeusz
      • 8 years ago

      Windows 7 is slow? Last I checked it ran pretty darn good on my machine. I for one welcome this change. Having multiple copy dialog windows all over the place, while rather infrequent, is an annoyance. Having a visible and consolidated way to eliminate file copying conflicts is great! I would say this is a way of making things faster since having individual conflicts interrupt a long copy lengthens the time the whole process is going to take.

      I see no problems with making these types of UI changes. I am all for making the UI easier to use and follow.

        • TEAMSWITCHER
        • 8 years ago

        Mac OS has had a consolidated file copy window for years now. The graphing of the transfer speeds is useless eye candy, what information does it convey that is actually useful….Nothing. All I see are CPU cycles being wasted for the sake of needless complexity. Geeks will love it, but it won’t make Windows a better OS for the rest of us….Fail Microsoft.

          • davidedney123
          • 8 years ago

          CPU cycles being wasted? Damn, and they are in SUCH SHORT SUPPLY these days. Do you still run without Windows wallpaper to save memory? 😀

          I like it – the consolidated copy window and pausing is great. I’d love it to have the intelligence to queue copys with the same source or target where either is a mechanical disc, to save thrashing and speed things up. I’ve wanted that feature for so very long.

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            I run without Wallpaper–wait for it– [b<]because I don't stare at background desktops of Operating systems[/b<]... EVER.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            even if it’s just a solid color, you have to have SOMETHING as a wallpaper.

            • tfp
            • 8 years ago

            I’m sure it’s just a void… Or maybe what ever is in the cards memory at the time shows up

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 8 years ago

            That’s how I run. Just whatever crap happens to be in memory, thats what gets drawn.

            • FuturePastNow
            • 8 years ago

            He’s so goth, he has a black background.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            Maybe if you had a nice wallpaper, you would.

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            Nah, Wallpapers distract, and that eventually annoys. Solid black background (with the exception of black background+BGinfo on servers).

            Everything I need available is via Taskbar/KB shortcut.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            i do all the time. i’ve said many times the most important thing to me is pretty.

          • axeman
          • 8 years ago

          Consolidated file copy dialog in Gnome has been there for years already too. I was seriously disappoint they didn’t add this in Windows 7, stupid fancy animations can kiss my ass.

      • Norphy
      • 8 years ago

      There’s only so fast a disk can go. A Windows file copy will more often than not saturate the slower disk. How much faster can it go?

      Admittedly, it’d be nice if Windows would stop spending so much time “preparing” to copy the files with larger transfers and just get on with it though!

    • puppetworx
    • 8 years ago

    Looks like Microsoft is paying attention. Copying in Windows will have run the gamut from atrocious – in Vista – to great in Windows 8 with these additions which should eliminate TeraCopy, etc from a lot of people’s essential software list.

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Pffft, If I wanted to find files.

    I use find under a CLI.

      • davidedney123
      • 8 years ago

      Amateur – I just remember where each and every single file on my harddisk is.

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        Plus one.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        pffft, inefficient. I keep a mental hash table of my hard drive structure.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          i just spacemonger.

            • xeridea
            • 8 years ago

            Spacemonger is amazing.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            SpaceSniffer does the same thing without annoying you about registering

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            interesting! i was not aware of this software! dling now!

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        Well, actually, I have a nice file structure, which makes it easy to find something without ever having to use a search function.
        Search functions are for the internet.
        ‘Cause the internet is BIG.

        • Chrispy_
        • 8 years ago

        +1 for a transparent filing system.

        Microsoft need to stop encouraging incompetence by pushing search tools. Firstly, it was “I can’t find my file”. Now that no average user knows exactly where any of their stuff actually is, the new complaint is “I can’t remember what the filename is” so we have to tolerate this godawful background indexing.

        At the rate Microsoft was heading in the idiot-proof direction, I was half-expecting Windows8 to have a HAL-9000 AI to help us find [i<]"that picture of the dog doing the funny thing with a cake. No, wait, maybe it was it a cat? And not a cake, maybe a box. I'm not sure but it was definitely an animal doing something funny in either a picture or a video that I saw somewhere and I think I saved it maybe."[/i<] "Uninstall this program please, HAL." "I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that."

          • Rand
          • 8 years ago

          I’m worried by the fact that the tray area has seemingly been removed.
          No clock, or tray icons at all there. That’s going to be awfully disruptive for some things.
          Really not liking that.

          Otherwise it looks good I love the ribbon, and I’m cautiously optimistic about the other changes they show there.
          Just please give us a way to disable the whole touch centric start screen and go back to the typical start menu.
          And don’t remove the tray area, it’s desperately needed for some things.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      You’re going to have to fix your meme.

      I don’t always delete files, but when I do, I prefer del /s. #DosEquisGuy

        • Krogoth
        • 8 years ago

        Pffft, I prefer rm -f and rmdir.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      I guess five people didn’t get the UNIX command reference.

      FYI, find command is how you find files under UNIX/LINUX CLI.

      Edit: It looks like 14 people are mad, because they don’t know how to use a CLI.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago
        • stdRaichu
        • 8 years ago

        …or in windows as well, if you have cygwin installed. Combine it with mintty and you have a CLI par excellence.

        • PenGun
        • 8 years ago

        I mostly use ‘locate’ but find works well.

        The problem is the windows file system makes no sense. A *nix system spreads it’s self across all partitions seamlessly and has a place for system stuff and another for user stuff. Used at all well you will very seldom lose anything.

        • d0g_p00p
        • 8 years ago

        No one ot it because that command is wrong. Anyone who uses unix or linux would use locate

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 8 years ago

          I use find, not locate.

    • mcforce0208
    • 8 years ago

    I like where windows 8 is going….

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      i do too. this is a feature that will alleviate a lot of issues. Much love to this bearded man.

      • sirfixalot
      • 8 years ago

      Not only that, but also the way they’re open to feedback.

      Sure there are a lot of unanswered questions, especially for developers regarding HTML5, XAML, Silverlight and WPF, but it’s good to see some discussion taking place on the blog and getting their comments to the feedback as well. I really hope this approach proves to be successful.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 8 years ago

      Hopefully they keep adding somewhat geeky features. Its pretty scary with all the rush to make everything usable to the most ignorant users.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This