Start using Vista's hidden Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands

Last week, I described how to use and customize Vista's SendTo command to make your file management tasks easier. While you can easily add any destination you want to the SendTo menu, there is one feature missing: the ability to send to any folder you want on the fly. If you may remember, back in the Windows 95 days, there was a PowerToy called SendTo X that included an option called the Any Folder. Using the SendTo | Any Folder command, you could move or copy files or folders anywhere you wanted simply by right-clicking the icons and then choosing the desired location from the resulting dialog box. Unfortunately, after Windows 95 faded into history, so did the SendTo X PowerToy.

The next best thing — the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands — have been incorporated in Vista. In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I'll show you how to expose these hidden commands and how to use them to your advantage when performing file management operations.

Exposing the commands

You can find the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands on the Edit menu in Windows Explorer and Computer. Further masking their existence is the fact that, by default, the Menu bar also may be hard to find 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, which you can do by pressing press [Alt]. The Menu Bar will drop down and allow you to select one of the commands — but as soon as you do, the Menu Bar will disappear again.

If you want to be able to access the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands readily, it's preferable to have the Menu Bar visible all of the time. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Click the arrow next to the Organize icon on the toolbar.
  2. Open the Layout submenu.
  3. Select Menu Bar (Figure A). When you do, a check mark will appear next to the Menu Bar item.

Figure A

Figure A

You can make the Menu Bar visible all of the time from the Layout submenu.

Now you can easily access and pull down the Edit menu to reveal the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands (Figure B). Keep in mind that the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands will only be available if you have a file or a folder selected; otherwise, the commands will be grayed out and unavailable.

Figure B

Figure B

You'll find the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands on the Edit menu.

Using the commands

Using the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands is the same regardless of whether you're copying or moving files or folders. Here's how to copy a file from one location to another:

  1. Select the file or files that you want to copy.
  2. Pull down the Edit menu and select the Copy To Folder command. When you do, you'll see the Copy Items dialog box (Figure C), where you can browse potential destinations.

Figure C

Figure C

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

  1. Navigate the tree to select between drives, folders, and network resources.
  2. If you then want to copy the files to a new folder, click the Make New Folder button and a new folder will appear (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D

To create a new folder in your desired destination, use the Make New Folder button.

  1. Once you give the folder a name, click the Copy button.

The Move To Folder command works the same — except rather than copying files and folders it moves them. The only differences are that the dialog box's title is Move Items, the button's label is Move (Figure E), and it contains a Make New Folder button.

Figure E

Figure E

The Move Items dialog box works similarly to the Copy Items dialog box.

What's your take?

Now that you know where that Copy To Folder and Move To Folder commands are hiding, will you make use of them? If not, why? Stop by the discussion area and let us know what you think.

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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.

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