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Finder's Directory Copy, Move, and Replace is Backward Like the 1990's

Eighteen years later, I'm sitting here, in a hospital room on my Mac OS X 10.5 laptop, trying to merge two directories. There is already a directory named "Web Site" on the internal hard drive. There is also a directory named "Web Site" on my external USB hard drive. The content of the two directories are completely different (no overlapping files nor directories), but has the same category of files and directory I want to merge into one directory.

I dragged the "Web Site" directory from the external drive, held the "Command" key down (to move), and dropped into the directory that held the "Web Site" directory on the internal hard drive. I let go of the touchpad button and the "Command" key. Finder asked whether I want to replace the existing "Web Site" directory and I motioned to go ahead. Then I realized that I'm not on Windows.

Holy crap! I don't know what is the Finder's default action. It could just go ahead and wipe out the "Web Site" directory on the internal hard drive and move the "Web Site" directory on the external hard drive to its place. Or it could simply merge the two directories; if it find any overlapping files and directories, it would ask what you want to do with them. Finder's default action is the former; it wipes out the original directory.

I have quite a bit of unrecoverable data in the first "Web Site" directory. I quickly hit Command-Z to undo the move and replace. Finder reverted the move and placed "Web Site" back onto the external hard drive. But it didn't recover the "Web Site" directory on the internal hard drive. And it's no where to be found in "Trash". So my data is completely gone. The undo action should have completely reverse the action. Undo the action partially is a bug in my book.

The way Finder replaces directories entirely is a popular trait in the 1980's and 1990's. I haven't seen this kind of sloppy programming since Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. Today's Windows XP and Windows Vista are all able to merge the directories without wiping the content out. It's sad to see that Mac OS X is still using technology that dates back 18 years.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 23 Dec 2008 00:47:35 +0000

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