OSX Quick Tip: Copy and Delete files at the same time!

quicktip1.jpgSo, you’re moving some files over to, say, external storage…so you drag them over to the other drive and start waiting. The files transfer then you go get the other files, move them into the trash on the original machine – that’s the fastest way to do that, right?

Nope.

If you press Command when you drag those files as soon as the transfer is complete, they will automatically delete from the original source. This can be a real time saver if you’re moving a lot of files onto an external drive.

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Comments

  1. I think the process you describe above is called “move”ing files.

  2. fatsug – yeah, except when you just drag a file it moves a copy over, then leaves the original. By holding command when you drag the files, it will delete the original.

    don’t be snarky :)

  3. Not to start a fight or anything, but on Windows, isn’t that called ‘Cut’?

  4. sorry Michael… didn’t mean to be snarky… and Drew is correct, i should have said this is cutting a file, not “moving”.

    On a side note, if you right-click (or control-click) a file in Finder, bringing up the contextual drop down menu and hit Option, Copy will change to Cut. ( I think its the Option key, i don’t have access to my Mac right now, someone might want to validate this… ) Another way to Copy and Delete Files at the same time.

  5. @Drew –

    You can cut and paste just like on Windows – the difference here is that you only have to push one button when you’re moving the file. If you cut with command-c and paste with command-v – but that takes more keystrokes than simply holding down command while you drag a file to a new location.

  6. Fastug wrote:

    “On a side note, if you right-click (or control-click) a file in Finder, bringing up the contextual drop down menu and hit Option, Copy will change to Cut. ( I think its the Option key, i don’t have access to my Mac right now, someone might want to validate this… ) Another way to Copy and Delete Files at the same time.”

    This does not work for me (OSX 10.4.9, 2006 Macbook Core Duo). Control-click does bring up the contextual drop down menu, as you say. Holding down Option does indeed change some of the menu items, such as “Open With” becomes “Always Open With”. Alas, Copy does not change into Cut or Move.

    Does anybody know how to fix this? One of the frustrations with the Mac has been the inability to move files. The Command-drag method only works for files one by one for me, because I’m not very coordinated. When I try to select a group of files, my fat un-coordinated fingers always end up un-selecting the group and re-selecting the one file which is right under my cursor. VERY frustrating for anybody accustomed to the simplicity of just moving a group of files when you want to, under that “other” operating system. Clickity-clickity-click and you are done.

    If anybody knows how I can fix Tiger to work as Fastug described, I shall be eternally grateful. Thanks!

    – Dan Ashley, Chicago

  7. @Dan Ashley –

    I may be totally mistaken, and i apologize. I knew hitting the Option key changed some of the menus’ options, i thought altering Copy to Cut was one of them. If what I said doesn’t work for you, then its probably my mistake and not something wrong with your Mac or your actions. ( Obvious statement follows: I should not have posted this info with out actually verifying what I said was true. ) I wish i had acess to my Mac right now… At this time, i’m not aware of a way to add this contextual menu functionality if it doesn’t already exist.

  8. Ah…gotcha.

  9. A word of warning. Don’t use this moving trick if it includes copies of installed fonts (typically when using ‘collect for output’ from say QuarkXPress) as you run the risk of system confusion. I had the devil’s own job to get rid of the fonts from the trash where they eventually appeared. Restarting, closing fonts, using terminal to force empty trash, starting from backup etc – all to no avail. Eventually Linotype’s utilities fixed it, along with multiple restarts, but I have no idea how to repreat the fix. Just don’t go there – better to copy and delete if there’s a sniff of a font.

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