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Microsoft Highlights Windows 8 Copy Feature

Microsoft on Wednesday showed off a new user interface for copying files in Windows 8.

The feature allows users to manage "copy jobs" via a single dialog box, which is capable of displaying information and handling multiple copy operations at the same time. Copy progress, bandwidth and time-to-completion details are illustrated in the dialog box. A demo of the new feature is shown at the "building Windows 8" blog.

Windows 8 will better handle high-volume copy jobs compared with the current Explorer command system found in Windows 7. Currently, users moving big files might prefer third-party add-ons for those tasks, such as using Copy Handler, FastCopy or TeraCopy products. Microsoft's new Windows 8 copy-and-move capabilities aren't "aiming to match the feature sets of these add-ons," explained Alex Simons, director of program management on the Windows engineering team, in the blog post.

Copying can be paused by users if they want to prioritize a job. Currently, paused processes are highlighted in yellow, but Simons said that Microsoft hasn't finalized the color scheme yet.



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Windows 8 copy dialog box.

There's also an overwrite warning feature that will compare source and destination files within the same dialog box. Users can then decide if they want to copy and replace, abandon the copying process or opt to insert another versioned copy of the file into a folder.

On top of this advanced copying process, higher transfer rates will be enabled on external drives by the time Windows 8 makes its appearance on devices in around mid-2012 or 2013. That's because Windows 8 will be designed to support USB 3.0, which is expected to enable external data transfers at up to 4.7 Gbps, or 10 times the current USB 2.0 standard's speed.

One commenter in the building Windows 8 blog noted that the new copy dialog box does not appear touch friendly. Microsoft has projected that Windows 8 will have a touch screen much like Windows Phone 7's tile-based user interface, but Windows 8 is also expected to support a more classic Windows menu system.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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