Windows

TR Dojo Challenge: How can you say "no to all" replacements when copying files in Windows XP?

Can you make "No" mean "No to All" on the Windows XP Confirm File Replace dialog box? If you know how, you could earn a TechRepublic coffee mug?
Consider the following scenario. You're working in Windows XP and need to copy a large number of files from one directory to another. Unfortunately, the target directory contains many files that are also stored in the source directory. When you drag the files from the source to the target directory, Windows XP alerts you that a file exists in the target location with the same filename as one you're trying to copy. It also asks you whether it should replace the existing file or not, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

You don't want to replace the duplicate file and click No. Windows promptly gives you another Confirm File Replacement warning. You click No again, and are rewarded with a third file replacement warning message. See a pattern!

If you were working in Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Mac OS X, you could easily tell the operating system not to replace the duplicate file and to apply that action to all the other duplicates. Windows XP however, doesn't give you a "No to All" or "Apply to All" option, just a "Yes to All", which would replace all the duplicate files and isn't the action we want.

You could repeatedly press or hold down the N key while Windows works its way through the list of files, but this requires you to sit at the machine during the copy process and can take a long time if you're working with several hundred duplicates. You could also click the mouse for each popup, but again this takes a really long time and is likely to give you hand cramps. You could install a third-party utility or write a custom script to handle the copy process, but there is a simpler way.

So, here's the question: How can you say "no to all" replacements when copying files in Windows XP?

About the TR Dojo Challenge Series

Each Wednesday, I publish a new question designed to test the technical skills and IT prowess of our TechRepublic members. You can submit an answer to the question by posting it within this post's discussion thread.

I'll accept answer submissions for one week after I post the question. At the end of the week, I'll consider the question closed and review the answers. The member who submitted the first, best answer will be featured in a follow-up TR Dojo Challenge article, posted on Thursday the week following the question's publication. For being featured on the site, they will also earn themselves a bit of TechRepublic swag-a coffee mug and laptop sticker.

The rules:

  1. Only answers submitted within one week of the initial question's publication date will be considered for the follow-up article and swag.
  2. All answers must be original and must consist of more than a link or links to third-party resources.
  3. I will choose the correct response from the answers submitted and my decision is final.

Good Luck!

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

31 comments
jtgave
jtgave

By adding a No to All on the confirm file replacement via the register. But I don`t know the Hkey data values.

blackepyon01
blackepyon01

Vista and Win7 have this built in. As well as a "apply to all (# of dupicate, etc. files)" checkbox. It's such an obvoius idea, I'm surprised that they didn't think of it back at 95 and 98. Sadly, the only way I can think of is to force is to use a custom script. For instance, an XCOPY /Y (which automatically answers yes to all) from the command prompt or in a .bat script. Unfortunately, XCOPY doesn't have a "no to all" either. Truely a worthy challenge.

cwhittenburg
cwhittenburg

I'm so glad you asked this question! I've often wished for something to do this very thing! Well, after you brought this up, I got busy and did a little experimenting. I discovered that when you press the Shift key while you click "No" you get the "no to all" effect. This is going to save me a lot of time in the future! Thanks! ~Carolyn

AgentK
AgentK

Hold left shift key and click "No"

mfarrin1
mfarrin1

Just press the shift key while clicking on no. It simulates a "no to all"

geoff_frt
geoff_frt

Hold the shift key down while clicking no.

RechTepublic
RechTepublic

I use Microsoft?s Robust File Copy. Robocopy can be installed on XP but is native on Vista and W7. For example: The command to copy from C:\Folder1 to C:\Folder2 including all subfolders and not overwriting files with the same date or newer should be: Robcopy c:\folder1 c:\folder2 /e /xo

millranch
millranch

First of all, I would never use the copy command for more than a few files. I use Good Sync by Siber Systems. I also use Power Desk 7 for syncing multiple directories. Also within Windows XP is Briefcase and a synchronize program for files on different computers on the network. These are some of the options that I use and are used almost everyday between six computers on my network and my portable laptop.

twilliams
twilliams

Come on Bill. This one was too easy. Just hold the Shift button down and click on "No". Windows will interpret this as "No to all"

Dyalect
Dyalect

Shift key - then click on the "no" button. This will remember no for the rest of the files being copied. Quick and dirty.

brianha
brianha

Holding down the shift key, just before pressing the "no" button. will cause XP to interpret this as a "no to all" command.

sks3286
sks3286

Hold "Shift" while clicking no!

Nox13last
Nox13last

If I'm not mistaken, you hold the SHIFT key as you press 'No'. I read a while ago that that functions as a sort of '___ to all' key (where applicable).

asfaw.muuz
asfaw.muuz

To say no to all when asked to replace existing files in Windows XP hold the 'Shift' key and click on 'NO' in the dialog box.

somesh.bsu
somesh.bsu

Keep the Shift key pressed while clicking on the No button.

PerezSoft
PerezSoft

To not to overwrite any files with the same name, press and hold on the Shift key, and then click on "No" button. This key and mouse sequence will simulate as "No to All", mean no identical named files will be replaced or overwrote. Instead, Windows Explorer skips any conflict automatically.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6uawOfqQuk&N R=1&feature=fvwp These are virus that reside in the electronics of the computer.Every one of those exe's starts at your computer's boot up.(It could be that this program would not let you delete these virus.)

richardqt
richardqt

Hi Bill, the only you have to do is simply hold down the Shift Key before pressing the No button and Windows will automatically interpret this action as a "No to All" command. Bye.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

This week's TR Dojo Challenge question asks how to say "no to all" replacements when copying files in Windows XP. TR Dojo blog post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=996 You're working in Windows XP and need to copy a large number of files from one directory to another. Unfortunately, the target directory contains many files that are also stored in the source directory. You don't want to replace the duplicate files, but Windows XP doesn't give you a "No to All" or "Apply to All" option, just a "Yes to All", which would replace all the duplicate files and isn't the action we want. So, here's the question: How can you quickly save images within a Microsoft Word document as separate files? I'll accept answer submissions for one week after I post the question. During that time, TechRepublic members can submit an answer to the question by posting it within this discussion thread. At the end of the week, I?ll consider the question closed and review the answers. The member who submitted the first, best answer will be featured in a follow-up TR Dojo Challenge article, posted on Thursday the week following the question?s publication. For being featured on the site, they will also earn themselves a bit of TechRepublic swag-a coffee mug and laptop sticker.

Ibtrubl
Ibtrubl

create this No to Allfunctionality by simply pressing and holding the SHIFT key when you click the No button in the Confirm File Replace dialog box.

n3xmz
n3xmz

Shift-Click NO. All done

Jabo5360
Jabo5360

You can simply hold down the Shift Key before pressing the No button and Windows will automatically interpret this action as a "No to All" command. This is useful when you are copying a large number of files and folders but don?t want to overwrite content that already exists at the target. In case of Windows Vista, Microsoft designed a slightly better interface with a check box that lets you repeat the same operation on all upcoming conflicts. My real solution is I use Linux as much as possible, Windows only when ABSOLUTELY necessary

megahertz
megahertz

Hold the Shift key and then click NO. Also works with Windows 2000 & Win 98 in addition to XP.

gordon
gordon

Simply hold the Shift Key and click no

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

is to put free xxcopy (pay them a small amount if you like it after using) it has a ka-zillion options, including logging files that have any condtion - into multiple log ifles for anything I have half a million pix in a directory structure of 500 gigs. Using windoze to back this up causes windoze to infinitely hang while it tries to read the directory structure and files. XXcopy simply starts copying, according to your options - copy over, don't copy over, flatten subdirectories, or don't, newer or not ..... there you go! wasn't that easy. nothing to memorize except one 2k help file name or type in help option at a prompt

bishop
bishop

As far I can remember since I'm Linux user - Hold SHIFT key and mouse click on "NO" button ...