Answer "No to All" when copying files in Windows XP with Shift + No

Make "No" mean "No to All" on the Windows XP Confirm File Replace dialog box by holding down Shift while clicking No.

In last week's TR Dojo Challenge question, I asked TechRepublic members how to say "no to all" replacements when copying files in Windows XP? This problem can be a real annoyance when you're copying a large number of files from one directory to another and 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

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.

Shift + No button

Luckily, there is a hidden solution. Hold down the Shift key when you click the No button. This will produce a "No to All" effect. Why Microsoft didn't include a "No to All" or "Apply to All" option in Windows XP is beyond me, but at least this simple trick works.

And the TechRepublic swag goes to...

Many TechRepublic members already knew about the Shift + No combination and submitted answers in the discussion thread. But, I'm awarding the coffee mug and laptop sticker to bishop, who was first to answer the question--a mere 7 minutes after I posted it. Congratulations.

Thanks to everyone who submitted an answer. If you don't see your answer here, be sure to give this week's question, "How do you increase the number of workstations a user can join to a Windows domain?" a try.

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