Windows 8 Features Four Major Improvements To The Copy Experience

Alex Simons, director of program management on Windows engineering team, just pusblished a blog post on the redesign of some Windows file management basics -- titled "Improving our file management basics: copy, move, rename, and delete"."Copying, moving, renaming, and deleting are far and away the most heavily used features within Windows Explorer, representing 50% of […]

Alex Simons, director of program management on Windows engineering team, just pusblished a blog post on the redesign of some Windows file management basics -- titled "Improving our file management basics: copy, move, rename, and delete".

"Copying, moving, renaming, and deleting are far and away the most heavily used features within Windows Explorer, representing 50% of total command usage (based on Windows 7 telemetry data). For Windows 8, we want to make sure that using these core file management commands, which we collectively refer to as "copy jobs," is a great experience," said Simons.

"With the increasing amount of local storage measured in terabytes, containing photos (in multiple formats and very large files), music, and video, these common operations are being taxed in new ways. These changes, along with consistent feedback about what we could improve, have inspired us to take a fresh look and redesign these operations. Of course this is just one feature among many, but we wanted to start with something we can all relate to. Alex Simons is a director of program management on our Windows engineering team and authored this post on the redesign of some Windows file management basics," Simons noted.

Simons said that "We know from telemetry data (which is based on hundreds of millions of individuals opting in to provide anonymous data about product usage), that although 50% of these jobs take less than 10 seconds to complete, many people are also doing much larger jobs, 20% of which take more than 2 minutes to complete. Prior versions of Windows Explorer can handle these kinds of jobs, but Explorer isn't optimized for high-volume jobs or for executing multiple copy jobs concurrently."

In the blog post Simons said that "Usability studies confirm what most of us know--there are some pretty cluttered and confusing parts of the Windows 7 copy experience. This is particularly true when people need to deal with files and folders that have the same file names, in what we call file name collisions. Lastly, our telemetry shows that 5.61% of copy jobs fail to complete for a variety of different reasons ranging from network interruptions to people just canceling the operation.

We clearly have an opportunity to make some improvements in the experience of high-volume copying, in dealing with file name collisions, and in assuring the successful completion of copy jobs."

In Windows 8, we have three main goals for our improvements to the copy experience:

  • One place to manage all copy jobs: Create one unified experience for managing and monitoring ongoing copy operations.
  • Clear and concise: Remove distractions and give people the key information they need.
  • User in control: Put people in control of their copy operations.

"Based on these goals, we made four major improvements to the copy experience," stated Simons:

  1. "We've consolidated the copy experience. You can now review and control all the Explorer copy jobs currently executing in one combined UI. Windows 8 presents all pending copy jobs in this single dialog, saving you from having to navigate through multiple floating dialogs looking for the one you need.
  2. Next, added an ability to pause, resume, and stop each copy operation currently underway. You can also click any of the source or destination folders while the copy operation is taking place and open up those folders.

  3. Added a detailed view with a real-time throughput graph. Now each copy job shows the speed of data transfer, the transfer rate trend, and how much data in left to transfer.

  4. Also, improved, simplified and clean up the experience for resolving file name collisions, which we also refer to as "conflict resolution." Our new design is much more clear, concise, and efficient, providing a much more visible and actionable approach to conflict resolution. All the files from the source are on the left. All the files in the target location with file name collisions are on the right. The screen layout is easy to understand and shows you the critical information for all the collisions, front and center in one dialog.

    If you need to know even more about the conflicting files, you can hover over the thumbnail image to see the file path or double-click it to open it from here.

  5. We've also done a thorough scrub and removed many of the confirmation dialogs that you've told us are annoying or feel redundant (i.e. "are you sure you want to move this file to the recycle bin?" or "are you sure you want to merge these folders?") to create a quieter, less distracting experience," explained Simons.

Here is a short video demo of these improvements: