Windows

Move and Copy files the old tried-and-true way in Windows 7

Greg Shultz presents a little refresher course on the Microsoft Windows Send To command and the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands.

While I've become quite enamored with using Aero Snap and my simulated dual-pane file manager technique, when copying and moving files and folders from one location to another, there are times when I reach back and use one of the tried-and-true techniques from Windows days gone by. Of course, I'm talking about the good old Send To command and the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands.

I happened to mention these old commands to a friend of mine, and she looked at me with a surprised expression and exclaimed that she had all but forgotten about those commands. She then told me that she always uses the Copy/Cut and Paste commands when it comes to copying and moving files. I asked around and discovered that she isn't the only one.

As such, for this edition of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, I decided to put together a little refresher course on the Send To command and the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Send To

To access the Send To command, simply right-click a file or a folder and select the Send To command from the context menu, as shown in Figure A. When you do, the selected file or folder will be copied to whatever destination you select.

Figure A

You can right-click on a file or folder and access the Send To command's menu of destinations.

As you can see, on this example system, there are five destinations on the Send To command's menu:

  • Compressed (zipped) Folder: Creates a compressed folder (a.k.a. a Zip file) and copies the selected files or folders to it all in one step.
  • Desktop (create shortcut): Allows you to instantly create a shortcut on the desktop to a file or folder.
  • Documents: Copies the selected file or folder to the Documents folder.
  • Fax Recipient: Allows you to easily send the file as a fax via the Windows Fax and Scan tool.
  • Mail Recipient: Allows you to easily attach a file to an e-mail message.

Depending on your system configuration, there may be other destinations on the Send To command's menu. For example, you might have a CD/DVD RW drive, a USB drive, or a mapped network drive on the Send To menu.

Fortunately, you can configure the Send To command to send files to other destinations, such as a specific folder, or even to an executable file, such as WordPad, simply by adding shortcuts to those destinations to the Send To command's folder. To do this, you must use the Shell: command. The reason being that the Send To command's folder is referenced by the operating system as a Junction Point or a Symbolic Link.

Click the Start button and type shell:sendto in the Start Search box. When you do, you'll see the results panel and can press [Enter] or click shell:sendto. Either way, you'll see the SendTo folder, like the one in Figure B. You can then use the Create Shortcut Wizard to create shortcuts to specific destinations or executable files.

Figure B

The actual SendTo folder is revealed by using the Shell: command.

Copy To Folder and Move To Folder

The Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands are hidden away on the Edit menu in Windows Explorer and Computer. Further masking their existence is the fact that the Menu bar is hidden by default in both Windows Explorer and Computer.

In order to access the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands, you first have to make the Menu Bar visible. The quick way to access the Menu Bar is to press the [Alt] key.

If you want to be able to readily access the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands, you'd probably rather have the Menu Bar visible all the time. To make it so, just click the arrow next to the Organize icon on the toolbar, open the Layout submenu, and select Menu Bar.

Now you can easily access and pull down the Edit menu to reveal the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands, as shown in Figure C. (Keep in mind that the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands will be available only if you have a file or a folder selected. If you don't, the commands will be grayed out and unavailable.)

Figure C

You'll find the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands on the Edit menu.
Using the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands is easy. For example, if you want to copy a file from one location to another, you first select the file or files that you want to copy. Then you pull down the Edit menu and select the Copy To Folder command. When you do, you'll see the Copy Items dialog box, shown in Figure D, which as you can see is a standard Browse dialog box.

Figure D

The Copy Items dialog box works just like a standard Browse dialog box.

You can just navigate the tree to select between drives, folders, and even network resources. If after you select your destination, you want to copy the files to a brand-new folder, you can click the Make New Folder button and a new folder will appear. Once you give the folder a name, just click the Copy button.

What's your take?

The good old Send To command and the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands are alive and well in Windows 7. Do you think that you will use them? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

44 comments
aphelix
aphelix

You can also try Long Path Tool.

Z. Allen
Z. Allen

Thanks for this article.  I tried to use the select all-edit-move-to file set of commands to move 2467 files (454 MB) from a USB external drive to the main documents folder.  The move went on for 11 hours.  All this technology and it still takes forever to do anything.  Perhaps that many files at a time should be moved only between two indexed directories?  I wonder whether I can choose which files to index by directory?

GCB26
GCB26

Thanks. I have a lot of folders and sub folders to re-organise. It is key data. I am thinking of using "MOVE" as you describe. I am concerned  that this will extend the path name to the file and make the file unopenable. Any thoughts ? Or does this only happen when you "cut" and "copy" ? Many thanks

Wombat961
Wombat961

Thank you for giving me that 'Aha' moment with your tip on using the Alt key to find the hidden Edit and Move!

So happy.

essex133
essex133

Like your friend, I have also used Copy/Cut and Paste to move files to another directory since Windows 7. That's okay except that I tend to end up with several directories open at the same time, so that I don't have to keep opening them again when I want to move another file. And unless you set Taskbar to Always combine, having several directories open at the same time clutters up the Taskbar. I had completely forgotten about the existence of the Menu Bar and didn't even consider the possibility that it could be made visible in Windows 7! I have now enabled the Menu Bar, which brings back the Copy or Move to options! So thank you so much for the tip.

pohsibkcir
pohsibkcir

I use WinBubble (http://unlockforus.blogspot.com/2008/11/download.html) to add "Copy to Folder" and "Move to Folder" to the right-click mouse button shell option menu ... As well as for other 'tweak' functions. It's quite similar to TweakUI for Windows XP (in function options), so the customary precautions should be adhered to if an end user should decide to download and make use of WinBubble on their PC's.

rwpank
rwpank

I have a lot of guys using gmail and would like to add that to Send To. I tried ...gnotify.exe -mailto %, but no go. Anybody got some ideas

glw_usa
glw_usa

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

schladitz28
schladitz28

One of the first changes I made when I installed Windows 7 was to activate the Send To, Copy To and Move To commands. They are so handy!

mgmorgan01
mgmorgan01

This is somewhat basic to be used in a Tech magazine. Tell us something we don't know.

johncymru
johncymru

For copy/move with the destination easily available I use drag and drop but for 'out of reach' or not visible folders on Windows up to XP I use the old Moon Software FileTargets which unfortunately doesn't work on Vista or W7 as it is a brilliant tool, especially if you have a lot of target folders you copy/move to often. But for Vista/W7 I use Send To Toys 2.5 (reminiscent of Windows own version) from http://www.gabrieleponti.com/software/ which adds, among other send to options, a 'Folder' entry in the Send to menu. This allows you to select Copy, Move or Create shortcut to an existing folder or to a newly created folder at the destination when you select the Folder entry. It does work in all versions of Windows even though the page only quotes up to Vista. Though if you you find that you often copy/move to the same folder it has an 'Add to send to menu'/'Remove from send menu' right click feature as well when you Right Click on a folder.

Dave Gregson
Dave Gregson

This is always a good way to do it. Unless you have the folders open together of course!! lol. Nice work as always Greg. Dave :)

dotsbox
dotsbox

I love you. Thanks for writing this!

Slayer_
Slayer_

It's not just located in %userprofile%/sendto nevermind, I just tried it in the run menu. That also works for shell:desktop, shell:templates etc. Neat.

misceng
misceng

I have been so used to having Copy to and Move to on the button bar in Win XP that I find Win 7 slows me down with more clicks to get the work done.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I find myself using the drag and drop method of copying and moving files no matter which version of Windows I am using. What is your preferred method for copying and moving files?

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