Designing the Windows 8 file name collision experience

Thank you so much for all the comments about our work to improve file management basics. We’ve been overwhelmed by the dialog—there’s a huge amount of excitement for the changes we’re making and a ton of energy around this topic. That’s what makes working on Windows 8 so much fun. While there were comments and suggestions around many parts of what we talked about, by far the most back and forth (expressing all sides of the issue for sure) came from the discussion of the file name collision dialog (one dialog!). We thought it would be great to dig up the design archives from the development cycle and show you some of what we considered and how we got to where we are. Down the road we will of course circle back and talk about any changes we might make, but we thought spending some energy looking at our design path would be a useful effort. This post was authored by a set of folks who worked on the feature (they all worked on other parts of Windows 8 as well)-- Ben Truelove (designer), Matt Duignan (UX researcher), Jon Class and Ilana Smith (program managers) . --Steven

Our previous post about the new copy experience in Windows 8 generated a lot of questions and comments about the new “Choose Files” dialog for resolving file name collisions. Based on the level of interest, we thought it would be fun to share some of the design iterations and our usability testing that led us to this design.

In the implemented design, there are two levels of control when acting on file name collisions (or “conflicts”).

  • The primary experience is a simplified, one-click, bulk management of all conflicts, offering “Replace all” or “Skip all.” We call this the “Simple Conflict Resolution dialog.”
  • There is also an option to enter the secondary experience which offers more information and more fine-grained control. This is the “Detailed Conflict Resolution dialog.”

Figure 1 - Final dialogs

Windows 7 and before

Resolving file name collisions is an inherently tricky task, as it involves making a meaningful choice between two very similar things.

Here’s how we did this back in Windows 3.1:

Figure 2 - Windows 3.1 Conflict

We’d certainly made some progress by the time we got to this in Windows 7:

Figure 3 - Windows 7 conflict resolution dialog

In Windows 7, there’s a lot of information to aid the choice, and more options about what action to take. For Windows 8, we thought we could improve this even further, so it’s easier for you to make the right decisions more efficiently, and get your file transfer tasks completed faster. As we mentioned, the feedback and support calls on the existing dialog were clear—folks were having a hard time finding the information needed to make an informed choice in a fairly complex dialog. Even with the amount of work we do, sometimes it takes quite a while to surface something that isn’t optimal. Keep in mind millions of people used pre-release Windows 7 and this was not a big topic of discussion on our forums (not to say that it didn’t come up, but it was not a broadly raised topic).

Improving on the Windows 7 experience

First, we looked at ways to keep the experience basically the same, but to incrementally improve it by optimizing for the key information that is necessary for the decision.

Figure 4 - Early concepts for single-file conflict resolution

These designs introduced some concepts that really stuck around:

  • Getting rid of unnecessary labels (like “Date modified:”) and obvious explanatory text enabled us to present the important details at a glance.
  • Metadata adjectives were emphasized. Rather than requiring users to compare values like file size, using words like “Larger” gave users the right summary.
  • Smart defaults were pre-selected, reducing the work for users.

Fast and fluid: better bulk management of conflicts

In Windows 8, we want you to be able to get stuff done more quickly and efficiently—"fast and fluid" are key design words around Windows 8 for all of our designs (for touch, mouse/keyboard or both together). The next major design iteration looked at ways that we could follow on from the cohesive copy progress experience, bring queued-up conflicts together into a single dialog, and provide you with the ability to manage them in a more streamlined way.

The idea of optimizing for the “Replace all” or “Skip all” choice was introduced. Most of the time, you know exactly what you’re copying and why it is conflicting, and you can make a simple choice about what action to take.

Figure 5 - Adding bulk management

For cases where you need more information or finer-grained control, we decided to disclose information in “tiers” of greater detail.

We started with two tiers:

Figure 6 - First two-tier

Then we tried three-tiers:

Figure 7 - Three-tier

And ended up back at one-tier:

Figure 8 - One-tier

This design offers many positive attributes. It provides a lot of information. Since clicking on the headers selects everything in a column, it provides real power for managing conflicts. But it was a very complex piece of UI to be presenting as the initial experience.

Instead, we combined the best of these options into the following:

Figure 9 - One dialog two-tier

Simple and detailed conflict resolution

It was clear that this design was heading toward a balanced combination of simplicity and power that would suit user patterns.

Unfortunately, we identified a real challenge with this design: when you select “Let me pick,” the result is confusing and overly complex because the simpler and advanced options are both available. This led us to a design where the “Simple Conflict Resolution dialog” and the “Detailed Conflict Resolution dialog” were discrete experiences.

Figure 10 - Basic structure

With this decision, our basic structure was in place.


In preparation for testing with users, we iterated on the design.

  • We cleared up the confusion caused by a single thumbnail.
  • We made the source and destination (and their columns) more apparent.
  • Our User Assistance team (the experts in authoring text we use in the product, assistance, and the web) helped us out with better text.

Figure 11 - Pre-test

It’s interesting to see the similarities between the Simple Conflict Resolution dialog and some of the earliest designs for dealing with single file conflicts. It’s also interesting how similar they both are to the final design for the dialog.

First round of usability research

In our usability tests our researchers find a diverse set of subjects who don’t work at Microsoft and represent a range of different skill levels and experiences. We show them the software and ask them to complete a set of tasks. By listening as they describe their thought process, using eye-tracking to watch how they see the UI and measuring successful task completion, we gain valuable insights into what works (or not) about a design.

It is super important to understand that usability tests are one tool we use. Anyone who has ever used this tool knows that you have to be both an expert in the domain and also an expert at designing tests themselves as observer bias and test construction can easily lead you to a false sense of security or efforts to optimize an inherently flawed solution. To help us in that regard, our tests are designed by objective researchers who understand the limits of what can be tested and also make sure that the conclusions drawn from the test match what the test was meant to measure. Ultimately, design choices require the use of many different inputs both qualitative and quantitative as well as experience and intuition.

We knew that we’d learn a lot in our first round of usability tests and make many changes, so we used the RITE method as our protocol. Most usability studies test the same UI with all users, but with RITE, we make changes continuously between participants, based on what we learn. (We were testing with PowerPoint slides at this point, so change was cheap.)

We didn’t end up needing to make many changes to the Simple Conflict Resolution dialog as it tested well, but we tested lots of different things for the Detailed Conflict Resolution dialog:

Figure 12 - Dialogs tested for first RITE study

Our key lessons:

  • Check boxes are necessary. As much as we preferred the cleaner no-checkbox look, it simply didn’t test well. Users didn’t know what to do when presented with the UI. Check boxes were much more effective in providing appropriate cues for selection. We made sure to retain a large click-target area, so users can click on the check box, thumbnail, or the text to select a file.

Figure 13 - Click target

Click target area for file selection

  • Mixing the adjectives (e.g. “newer,” “larger”) and the metadata was confusing. Users interpreted them as two different concepts. The adjectives were particularly problematic – people thought they were titles, or described the file location (for example, “older” was interpreted to mean the files in the destination because they were present prior to the copy.)
  • Columns needed to be more distinct. At first glance, it looked like the Tiles view in Explorer, rather than a table.

More refinement

There was no simple solution to the adjective and column issues, so that led to more design explorations:

Figure 14 - Intra-test refinement

We really struggled with how best to define the hierarchy and importance of source/destination versus conflict rows. We tried vertical lines, which separated the source and destination too much. We ultimately landed on horizontal lines, combined with the file name as a header, to give the most prominence to the distinction between conflicts. The check boxes aided in distinguishing a choice between source and destination without interfering with this distinction.

Some of our earliest ideas were discarded at this point in the process:

  • No default choices. With conflicts scrolling off the page, defaults posed too much of a risk of data loss. No selection in a row results in the copy of that file being skipped, so nothing is lost.
  • No adjectives. We liked “Newer” and “Larger,” but they added confusion and users valued the concrete data.
    Instead, to help users make the choice, we chose a more subtle suggestion – the newer and larger metadata values are bold in the UI. This has proven to be surprisingly effective, without introducing new concepts or adding clutter.

More usability research

In our next round of usability tests, we were heading toward the final design, and tested fewer alternatives:

Figure 15 - Second usability test

The third option was the clear winner. The two-column view is the most efficient use of space and moves the check boxes close to the question. Date and time need to be on the same line because these are primarily a single value.

The Detailed Conflict Resolution dialog also offers the following features to help when even more information is required to make the decision:

  • Double-clicking the thumbnail opens the file.
  • Right-clicking the thumbnail opens the standard context menu.
  • The blue Source and Destination text are clickable, and open those locations in Explorer.
  • Hovering on the thumbnail or link shows a tooltip with the full file path.

Continuing to iterate

We’ve continued to conduct more studies and make minor changes since the initial research, but the core design has remained basically the same. It has been very encouraging to witness the ease with which users complete usability tasks. Resolving file name collisions is a tricky problem, but users are efficient and successful.

Figure 16 - Final design

Check out the video in our previous post on file management basics to see this design in action.

We love feedback and want to use it to make the best design we can, so we’ve been carefully reading all your comments, and look forward to you working with it in practice.

-- Ben Truelove, Matt Duignan, Jon Class, and Ilana Smith

(If you missed them, several of our team members made comments on the previous post that addressed some of the questions raised: Alex, Matt, Jordi, Jon.)

Comments (230)

  1. Ted Smoot says:

    What about removing the checkboxes and making the clickable area into something that looks more like a button for them to push?

  2. Paul from Italy says:

    Need to thank you for all this work 😀

  3. domenicoav says:

    Hyper AWESOME!!!!

  4. jjMustang says:

    Are some these screenshots part of the new "basic" aero interface, or perhaps the rumored "Metro" basic theme?

  5. Aethec says:

    What happens if you click on "Fewer details" in the simple dialog? It's already showing fewer details than the other one…

  6. Joel Leigh says:

    The Detailed Conflict Resolution dialog also offers the following features to help when even more information is required to make the decision:

    Double-clicking the thumbnail opens the file.

    Right-clicking the thumbnail opens the standard context menu.

    The blue Source and Destination text are clickable, and open those locations in Explorer.

    Hovering on the thumbnail or link shows a tooltip with the full file path.

    Could you explain how these features realized with touch?    

  7. Karl says:

    You mention how the feedback was clear on the Win7 conflict resolution dialog, that it needed to be optimized.  I'm curious then if the user testing for this dialog happened in Win7 development too, or if the user testing for Win8 was born of the feedback from Win7?  If you had user testing around the Win7 dialog, and you still had issues big enough to recreate the dialog in Win8, then how do we know that the user testing is valid for this version?

  8. Resplendent says:

    If you have to keep the checkboxes, can you at least re-add the blue box around them? It still makes it much easier to see which of the two one has selected at a glance.

  9. Stoimen Stoimenov says:

    I love how you describe the process of developing and testing new features. It makes me love windows even more because I know it's real professionalism that stands behind the product 🙂

  10. This makes things easier… Good job guys…

  11. Mantikos says:

    Buttons are better and more consistent with the UI than check boxes

  12. Jonathan Burgerhout says:

    When you want to choose the files that you want to keep you will see every file that can be replaced by the other. The problem that I see is that when you choose to do it manually and there are a lot of files you have a enormous list and it will take a lot of resources.

    So what happens when I want to replace more then 100 files?  Will it load all of them one by one and does it take a lot of time to show it?

  13. OMG you make this whole post and forget (choose) to not mention anything regarding the yellow progress bar for paused "copy jobs"?

    That being said while it's nice to see the design process behind the dialog the checkboxes still blight an otherwise nice looking dialog – maybe the solution is to redesign the checkbox? 🙂

  14. JoeH says:

    Very impressive process. Congratulations.

  15. Mustafa Almaasrawi says:

    +1 to Ted Smoot, I believe they should be buttons instead of textboxes…

  16. sreesiv says:

    Great Work !!! such a post will make users understand, the effort behind a good intuitive UI experience. Very nice…

  17. JoeH says:

    David Hicks comments here about auto-resuming broken copy operations, and being much more prone to interruptions seriously deserve to be mentioned in a full post. If they are true I can't believe you aren't talking about them more openly:…/improving-our-file-management-basics-copy-move-rename-and-delete.aspx

    I personally think the checkboxes with a wide area of clickability are great.

  18. Phong Hoang says:

    Please make the text shorter on the "Simple Conflict Resolution dialog."  The less text, the better remember?

    For example, remove the text below

    – as ones being copied

    – the files in the destination folder

    – these files

  19. @Jonathan Burgerhout: to steal from Jordi's comment on the previous post: "The functional experience is optimized for reviewing less than a few thousand items. However, we know there are users whose needs exceed this, and the technical limit is in the several million items. To make sure that we do not consume too many machine resources the dialog only keeps a handful of items in memory, mainly the visible ones as well as couple of page/up down of results to make it responsive. "

  20. Robert4WPF says:

    Very interesting!  I'm mainly jealous, as I wish my development team could afford a single round of useability testing, much less this level of testing on a single feature.

  21. This is good stuff guys. Some thorough process goes into building Windows. I'm impressed. Keep up the good work.

  22. Dimitri says:

    my only request? columns view option in Explorer. Please sneak this feature in.

  23. Krzysztof Kawa says:

    I just have to say it – checkboxes are plain ugly.

    Apart from that – there are 2 ways(!) to keep files – check the second column or not check anything – what's the point of checkbox in the second column then? Very confusing in my opinion (who reads explanations in dialogs anyway? It should be obvious at a glance).

  24. Necroman says:

    It's nice to see the progress, but still it's just polished Windows 7 look, nothing more – we want Metro UI, please 🙂

  25. TimC says:

    Buttons imply that immediate action will occur, not delayed until later.  Making the selections "light up" with a different border color or background is different than calling it a button.

  26. Quick question, why does the styling abruptly change (mostly the typography) from a clean Metro style, to an old Windows style when you moved to user testing? Was it to not give away the new styling to testers? That the original mock ups are just that… mock ups? That the styling is designed separately from the core interface?That the styling was incomplete at the time? Or is that an actual change made on the belief of usability? Etc.

  27. Hypernova says:

    I agree that the checkbox helps a lot, but I think you need to design a virtual cue to tell users that the hit target is not only the checkbox.  I know that this is how a standard checkbox control of Windows behave, but I really think you may need to work something out about this.  Only by accident that I'd click anywhere outside the checkbox to select the checkbox, even if I know that the hit target is bigger than that.  I understand that this is quite a hard problem to solve since, if you turn it on or on a TabletPC, clicking on the checkbox is different from clicking on the rest of the filenames in Explorer.  Maybe you need a different kind of checkbox controls? Maybe you make the highlight even more appearent when the pointer is hovering over the hit target area? To be honest I don't have an answer myself.  I think how you check multiple emails in WP7 email client should give some ideas, though

  28. HandNF says:

    Sorry, I haven't read the full blog yet, but I think it's awesome that you're listening to users and letting them help with the design of Windows 8.

  29. Jim says:

    It's reasons like this I switched back to Windows. It's looking good. These little things you're fixing make a whole world of difference to your end users!

  30. wish i was one of those testers (-_-) sigh.

    Didnt know soo much effort is put behind those layouts!

    Hope to see glimpses of the metro UI soon. 🙂

  31. @Hypernova interestingly enough Julie showed off a way to show selected items at there D9 demo, when she was adding photos to a tweet using tweet@rama. Basically a colored box surrounded the thumbnail with the color extending over on corner along with a checkmark.…/microsofts-windows-8-demo-from-d9-video

    You can see this at 10:19 into the video. It seems rather clean and simple. Very touch friendly.

  32. cranberry says:

    It's incredible (in the positive sense) how much time you invest in designing and testing such a single (relatively) minor dialog, I wonder how long it took to settle on a design idea for the Immersive UI.

    And I wanted to repeat that it's simply awesome how you keep this blog updated and how many different members of your teams come here and answer questions in the comments! Keep it up!

  33. Alejandro says:

    This puzzled me in the video, and kinda still does.

    It is not clear what happens if you don't check either of the boxes for a file. Does the file get deleted? Does Windows pick one for me? Is it an error and it won't let me hit Continue?

    Please advise!

  34. etacarinae says:

    I think the active hover visible in the first conflict resolution dialogue box, should also be reflected across to the choose files dialogue box.

    That is to say, it gives the user the option of a hover-click state on each individual file they wish to keep or overwrite….or they make use of the check boxes you've made available.

    For those complaining about the absence of Metro, you can quite clearly see that in the final design the general UI is now square, rather than rounded corners as in Win7.

  35. @Alejando: no selection on a row works the same as "Skip" for that file.  As you can see (probably only if you click through to a larger version), we explicitly explained that in earlier versions of the dialogue, but it turned out that in practice, users totally got it, and the text was unnecessary.

  36. Hypernova says:

    @BucksterMcgee  Thanks, and very interesting.  I just open up Windows Live Photo Gallery and in there it's clear enough to me that the target area is bigger that the checkbox while still maintain the ability to multiple select by clicking the small checkbox area.  Maybe this is ok after all

    On a related note, in the current standard Windows UI behavior, when you click something people expext it to choose only that object and clear everything else.  WP7(and other touch OS), on the other hand, a click either means "double click" or "ctrl+click" in Windows UI behavior.  I actually think WP7 differenciates this in its email client very cleverly.  I really looking forward to how they're gonna mix this up in Windows 8.  Even if they offer two seperated UI (New Metro and Aero), the discrepancy in click interpretation will bring a confusion, I think.  My mom still not sure if she should click or double click to this day.  She's not exactly new to computer either.

  37. Daniel Cormier says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing all of that. I'm looking forward reading more of this blog.

  38. Ritesh Ranjan says:

    Hi Steven,

    I read that user were little confused where the screen didn't show any checkbox, And Windows 8 team have decided to keep checkbooks.

    But it is the Tile based UI is completely new for users, and I understand there is a little learning curve, so why not create something easy to understand and still get rid of old checkbox UI

    because as long as Checkbox UI is there it is going to be bad for a touch based experience

  39. I like the first few because they were a bit Metro and beautiful but i'm glad you changed them since they were a bit complicated, i like how the windows are square and i love it and it's very appealing Aero or not.

    The recent version that we have now seems to have too much space in between them when i think the thumbnails displaying the files should be larger since you have so much space. I think the file name shouldn't be really at the top of the thumbnail rather on top along with text that displays the file size. I say the thumbnails should be larger because yes there is a lot of space there and one should be able to see if there are visual changes for picture or other media.

  40. I understand the why you went to check-boxes, but I'm not sure that that the reasoning is sound and that alternatives were sufficiently tested. In general, I would think that Windows 8 should stay away from ANY concept that is designed uniquely for mouse input in the general interface.

    My second note is this: of the participants that tested the device, how many were used to touch screen devices such as the iPad? A lot of initial user reaction to concepts such as checkboxes is learned, ingrained in our heads from using legacy concepts. There is no reason to have that hold back progress and pursue new, more effective design languages.

    My suggestion would be to a soft white or B&W filter over the thumbnails, which is removed during a mouseover event, and remains removed after a mouseclick. Or use of animations from the WP7 design language. Or cards that make it more obvious that something wants to be clicked.

    These options would also make it much easier to see what is being copied at a glance, scrolling up and down the list.

    Whatever is decided, I hope that checkboxes are taken out of the OS completely and replaced by a touch friendly alternative. Otherwise, you're looking at a Windows 7 tablet situation all over again, where the OS can be accessed with touch, but is clearly not designed with that in mind.

  41. Anurag Kalia says:

    Well, highlighting the selected checkbox by a blue border (a suggestion above) is quite right! and are you really sure time and date have to be on the same line? it confused me where to look.

  42. Tom says:

    It would be good if the copy dialog compared MD5 hashes of files that could be the same, it could then tell the user if the two files are actually identical.

  43. taking from my comment on the other post, I would like it if I could either elect to auto-rename files in the detailed conflict resolution dialog or rename them myself.

    Isn't a skipped copy the same as selecting the file form the original location? If that's the case, isn't not checking either box the same as checking the original? I'm unclear on the difference. It seems like this could lead to some confusion on a cut and paste operation.

    maybe it would be helful if htere was some indication of what was going to happen to each file. The checkbox makes it clear that I am selecting a specific file, but it doesn't make it clear what will happen to the file that is not checked.

  44. taking from my comment on the other post, I would like it if I could either elect to auto-rename files in the detailed conflict resolution dialog or rename them myself.

    Isn't a skipped copy the same as selecting the file form the original location? If that's the case, isn't not checking either box the same as checking the original? I'm unclear on the difference. It seems like this could lead to some confusion on a cut and paste operation.

    maybe it would be helful if htere was some indication of what was going to happen to each file. The checkbox makes it clear that I am selecting a specific file, but it doesn't make it clear what will happen to the file that is not checked.

  45. Also, you said that you chose not to have a either side checked by default, but if skipping is hte same as keeping the original, then you really do and in addition there are two different UI states that give the same result.

  46. Also i have an idea about people questioning moving large amounts of files. You should have the "file name collision" window to show things at a time but by file types like you'll see JPEGS then PNG's then TXT's you'll see DOCX. Show them in categories, what i'm saying is separate them by file extensions. You should have a dialog where you'll be able to select the file extensions to view out all the mixed files you have, then you'll be able to see the files with that file extension. You'll be able to toggle between whatever file extensions you have. Or one could choose to view all files together or separate them to dumb things down a little. The choices could be at the bottom at the list or most likely at the top. "Divide Files" and "All files" they could be a text box or a icon your choice. If it's too simple you could just separate them by Pictures, Videos, Documents and Music.

    The Basic Metro Aero thing i love it. I recommend giving the ability in the customization themes to view setting for Metro and Aero so people could have one of either or just both at the same time.

  47. Craig says:

    Thank you, this was a lot of fun to read. I think my only "criticism" of the detailed dialog is the topmost checkboxes to select all files in a column. I typically think of a checkbox as selecting one item, which works great for each file, but is not intuitive to select ALL files. I think a button as header for each column would work a lot better: "Select all files from (Source/Dest)".

  48. Quppa says:

    Sometimes metadata seems not to be available for the new file: (for example when copying and pasting attachments from Outlook).

    How does the new UI deal with this situation? Is the left column simply left blank?

  49. NiCa60 says:

    As you mentioned in the post, test result can be biased by many factors. Most of the testers were surely used to checkboxes, so is no wonder that the checkbox UI was a easy winner. After all checkbox are no evil, they just seems old fashioned.

    At the same time, two different ways of skipping the copy (not selecting any of the checkboxes, or selecting the right one) is not confusing at all, is just intuitive (like "don't do nothing with this file" or explicitly say "please keep the previous version"), just two way of saying the same thing.

    In any case, after this post is clear to me that my humble opinion about the UI is useless, compared the huge amount of time and resources spent by your team on that subject.

    So I'll keep my fingers crossed 'till the Build Conference with confiance on your skills  🙂

  50. wil says:

    Just curious what do you guys inside MS use for the UI Mockups?

  51. will says:

    i still like the Glassy aero interface . it looks better with 3D fully glass interface.

  52. Saul says:

    is this new interface for copying also affecting your inmersing interface? or just the Win 7-like interface?

  53. Jason Barbier says:

    Actually if possible it would be awesome to have a settable option for the check boxes. Default on of course because it tested so well, but people that prefer the look should be able to turn it off.

  54. Ivo says:

    How will keyboard navigation work? In XP you could simply press 'A' for "yes to all" and Shift+N for "no to all". In Vista and 7 it took quite a few keys to do this with a keyboard. I hope the new UI is more keyboard-friendly.

  55. orcmid says:

    I prefer the check boxes because it is clear, along with the explanation across the top, that you can keep both (not sure about none :).  Buttons have to be shown as depressed or not, and it is more difficult to notice that the correct arrangement has been selected.  (On the other hand, I hated the check boxes in Vista.  Go figure)

  56. I hope the files without conflicts don't stop to copy when this dialog appears.

    And what if we want to keep both files? It would be nice if we could rename a file in this dialog to avoid the conflict.

  57. muhammad gibriel says:

    i'm sure that the bulk management(figure 5) is the best solution.

  58. BEF says:



    PLEASE please please please

    As Blai mentioned, continue the non-conflicting copy/move operations in the background.

    (So when I'm moving 5GB of files, I don't come back 30 minutes later to find 4.9 GB on hold while I wait for 2 conflicting text files.)

  59. Jhabril Harris says:

    Here's a good suggestion: when a conflict occurs, set a timer to automatically keep both files, but add (2) to the second file for 10 seconds, if the user doesn't pick a choice within that limit. Please consider this!

  60. NiCa60 says:

    Are ours comment useless (at least for Win 8) ?

    Please, let me explain (this is NOT a polemic comment):

    While I'm really pleased to know about Win 8 and the technical backstage (like this post) and I thank you for giving us these really interesting info about your internal work, I've made two considerations, based on your posts:

    1. We all know that building a new version of Windows is an incredibly challenging task that require (among of other things) lot of time. So all the comments about functionalities are useless because all the important decision about what to include in Win 8 and what to postpone to next version are obviously already taken.

    2. As already stated on my previous comment, UX and UI are crafted with a very deep research and test procedure, so our ideas and opinion are like small fishes in a very big sea.

    So, if I'm not wrong, our comments can only change this blog content (as this post demonstrate): we can ask for more info, or show to authors that something need (or deserve) a more deep explanation.

    And if this is the only reason, still is a good reason to post our comments, on my opinion.

    So thanks folks, keep posting, and I will keep leaving comments… 😉

  61. So if the standard context menu is available in the name conflict resolution dialog, would one be able to rename either of the files, thus resolving the conflict that way?

  62. Saul says:

    Please, do what Blai said, or tell us if in this version it already does, "I hope the files without conflicts don't stop to copy when this dialog appears."

    Please at least as a Christmas gift!

  63. that's what I thought…/1b87a36fa890.jpg

    and yes you are right about "•No default choices. With conflicts scrolling off the page, defaults posed too much of a risk of data loss. "

    what about Russian blog part? there so slow translate


  64. Andy says:

    I'm really liking the file conflict resolution for 8, it's such a simple, yet deceivingly important feature.

    Also, is that how the window control buttons are going to be? I know 8 is still being built, but I mean, that's not doing anything visually. I'd prefer having the window exit button icon to be like the one X in IE 9, that is nicer.

  65. Ben Truelove, UX Design [MSFT] says:


    The variety of visuals you see in this post reflect an interaction design process, and not a visual design exploration. During the course of designing features, we often use lower fidelity “wireframes” and gradually increase that fidelity to screenshots that are meant to look as close as possible to final UI. What you have seen in this post is that transition in detail. Wireframes are meant to be transparent to the concepts presented, easily producible, but mostly to prevent being hung up on small things like the color of a button, or the exact size of a piece of text.

    Some details we look for when producing these mockups are if people understand what to do on a particular screen, and if one knows what to expect on the next. As we became more confident of our concepts, the mockups became closer to what they would eventually look like. This process enabled us to focus early on quick changes, such as needed in the aforementioned RITE testing. In later tests we could look closer at details around actual colors, margins, typography.

    I hope that answers your questions around the images in the post, and it’s great to hear people appreciate reading about our work as much as we enjoyed doing it.

  66. Ken Jackson says:

    @saul and @Blai, in the previous comments section people from MS said that they will save all the conflicts until the end of the copy.  

  67. @Ben Truelove says:

    Great job, if I may ask I'd like to know what methodologies have been used in the design process

    Did you use questionnaires to the users? "Think aloud" methodology? Did you use low fidelity or high fidelity prototypes? Storyboarding/pictive/"Wizard of Oz" techniques?

  68. DevPlus says:

    Great work!

  69. @Ken Jackson, nice 🙂 and sorry, I didn't read the comments of the previous post.

    And now I'm thinking… wouldn't it be better to show the dialog at the beginning to take the decisions while the operations are running in the background?

  70. jahxp says:

    Great job, but I still think yellow color is a bit confussing, check-boxes are old fashioned and difficult to use with fingers.

    The Aero UI in Windows 8 we can see in these pictures is better because is more squared, the colors are flater and the frames of the windows are thiner. I think you are in the good way but I think it still looks too similar to Windows Vista and 7. I think the X button should be transparend instead of red. The interface should be very minimalist, with no curves and less colors.

  71. Paul from Italy says:

    Sorry for putting "@Ben Truelove" in the name field, it's a bit late here 🙂

  72. @Cellus, @Quppa, & @Craig all had some good questions/comments. And I like @Tom's idea about using MD5 references (I find myself using a duplicate finder often for this very reason), but I can imagine that some systems might struggle with dedicating the CPU cycles to that, particularly when transferring a large number of files.

    Will there be other hover-able "previews" available for file types? E.g. clips for a/v files, Office previews, or proprietary file types? In other words, will the preview handler be similar to that of the preview pane currently in Explorer?

    I've grown to enjoy the checkbox experience the last few years; to many of the above: it looks as though clicking anywhere in the "large target area" (above) will select the checkbox, which should be fine for touch screen interfaces.

    As a long-time Windows junkie, I really appreciate the level of insight you provided in this blog. Thanks for listening/reading, and keep up the good work!

  73. That Guy says:

    Wow, you guys do a lot of design iterations. At first glance, I wasn't sure whether i liked the advanced file name collision dialog. I think that, once you understand how it works, it is easy to use. It just takes a few seconds to understand how it works. I still wish the two columns were more separated visually.

  74. random_n says:

    I would love to see one feature added here: a "replace older files" resolution option (perhaps "keep the newest files" would be a more friendly way to phrase it). It is without a doubt the main feature I love in TeraCopy, and although it wouldn't kill me to keep on installing it, it would be even more appreciated as a built-in feature. Even if it went in as a hidden bonus feature (eg: hold shift when selecting the "choose the files…" link not unlike the old hidden "No to All" command).

  75. Brian L says:

    putting the conflict resolution aside (though i like it).. I really like the cleaning up of the window UI and the window content UI elements themselfs =]. Looking forward to seeing a buetiful and consistent UI desktop experience throughout windows 8 . Keep up the good work!!

  76. BlindUser says:

    With Windows 7, as a blind user, I found that some of the dialog box shortcuts stopped working or sometimes the focus was initially on the wrong choice by default, especially in the Control Panel where Cancel was selected by default in most dialogs, even though the focus should have been on the first item in the dialog box, such as the first radio button. Do you test with keyboard or blind users too? For example, "y" and "n" do not work any more as "Yes" or "No" shortcuts in dialog boxes, such as the UAC dialog. Why? Also for the Copy dialog my screen reader presented the following choices in Windows 7 when there was a conflict: "Copy and Replace", "Copy and Keep Both Files", "Do not Copy", a checkbox and "Skip". I have always wondered what was the difference between "Do not Copy" and "Skip". Dn't they mean the same? Then why include both choices in 7? If there is so much design and testing work, then why two options that do the same thing? Or don't they?

  77. btriffles says:

    Did the team try testing mockups with the "newer" and "larger" adjectives next to the date and size?  All of the mockups shown above placed "newer" and "larger" on the title/primary line, which may be why users were confused.  If these adjectives were placed like there are in a Windows 7 conflict dialog, they might provide a net usability benefit.

  78. jjMustang says:

    I agree with random_n and the "keep newest files" option.

  79. scott says:

    It would be great to have an option to manually rename the files in the conflict dialogue rather than just appending a (2). In the copy conflict dialogue I'd like to rename the existing file from foo.jpg to foo_aug_26.jpg at the same time as I rename the incoming foo.jpg to foo_aug_27.jpg.

  80. Nate C says:

    Great work… I really enjoy hearing the details behind the design.

    Having another window open for copy operations seems pretty standard.  Have you considered moving this information to a toast display?  I usually consider opening a new window rather distracting – open and present yet another window in the center of the screen.  I always end up moving it or minimizing it to the taskbar (where you can still view the copy progress in Windows 7 – that's still really nice).  I feel that a toast would still achieve the same goals without stealing the focus.  Lync does a good job of this.  When you receive a call you are presented with a toast containing information and actions that are very helpful for the duration of your decision (Answer, Decline, etc.).   Maybe standard OS tasks, like copy, could benefit from this approach?

  81. One possibility would be to offer a New Folder for file collisions.  The name of the folder could even be auto-generated using (hashing?) the filename(s) in question.  

  82. Hypernova says:

    @BlindUser You bring a good point.  I think it is the same thing, unless, maybe, you check that checkbox to "Do these for all conflicts."  Maybe if you check that, only "Do not Copy" will have an effect from the checkbox?  They fixed that in the new “Simple Conflict Resolution dialog” though.  No more skip or cancel at the bottom, just Replace, Skip, and Choose options to choose.

  83. jaycee13 says:

    completely agree with Ted Smoot better to use buttons than checkboxes. Come on guys! level up..

  84. Dranzer V says:

    I agree, you should make the text boxes clickable (and then maybe highlighted in blue) instead of check boxes, because I doubt it'll work with touch and other types.

  85. Like others have mentioned, I think the boxes for choosing individual files to replace should be clickable and highlighted instead of using the checkbox. It's easier and faster to use if you're going through files quickly, and it would work much better with touch users.

  86. chrone says:

    please add queue system to the copy/move file/folders as in copying/moving multiple files from different folders/location, the first attempt is running while the second attempt is queued and so on.

    in older windows we do multiple copies/moving, they are all running simultenous which somehow makes transfer slower.

  87. xpclient says:

    This clears all doubts for me for collision dialog. This design is great, UI wise (checkboxes doesn't mean legacy necessarily IMHO) as well as Aero style (Metro is good but mixing Aero and Metro isn't). Well done.

    Now I have some major issues to be resolved as far as the overall copying, moving, rename experience is concerned:

    1.  Can you please please make the automatic sorting that occurs after copy, move, delete or rename optional so it becomes easier to locate my files at the end of the file list in Explorer list or details views? It is *really* difficult when files get sorted automatically (and therefore mixed up) after a copy, move or rename operation. There are many users complaining about this "feature" in Microsoft's forums at or The sorting has to be optional. The desired behavior for many users is like in Windows XP where only a Refresh would sort the copied/moved items. In fact, Windows 7 does not sort automatically on network paths or in the root level of a drive. This is a very big issue for me (and many others). For my copying needs, I sometimes use Windows XP precisely because it does not do automatic sorting. Why can't we have a simple option in "Folder Option" on whether or not to auto-sort.

    2.  Copying permissions using Explorer as KB310316 mentions which is feature lost after Windows XP. How is it a step forward if I have to the complex Robocopy syntax to copy files along with their permissions intact?

    3.  What about the folder conflict dialog? I may not wish to merge files from certain folders when copying so obviously the folder conflict dialog has to remain optionally available. Nothing has been mentioned about it except that it was removed!

    Furthermore, because any major design changes won't occur at this stage, I would like to see the following features for copying in a future release:

    1.  More automatic decision making from the OS for the user like "Keep all newer files" (by date modified), or "Keep all larger files" or "Keep all photos with higher resolution" or as Cellus suggested "Keep all files of a particular file type". Comparing and automatically keeping files by date or size shouldn't be as time and CPU consuming or considered a complex feature as calculating a hash. In fact, you already calculate what is newer or larger, don't you? You just need a show a button to "Keep newer files" or "Keep larger files".

    2.  You don't seem to have taken the unanimous feedback about queuing by default into consideration at all. The design's all final now?

    3.  Some form of background copying/low priority I/O copying.

    4.  Playing a sound after copy/move completion (as most archivers do after extraction or IE does after download completion).

    5.  Use the IFileIsInUse interface to show the name of the process that is keeping a lock on the file while copying/deleting.

    Making auto sort optional and the permissions issue are both absolutely critical for me. Without auto sorting made optional, I would mostly be using Windows XP to handle my file operations and Windows 8 for all other purposes.

  88. I think we can all say that we appreciate all the effort that is put into the finer details.  It feels like MS is really listening to the feedback of the customers and giving us what we want, which is very tough for a large company with many decisions to make.  Thank you for taking the time to improve even the little things!  It hasn't gone unnoticed.

  89. will there be auto rename if we choose to keep both conflict files. i like that feature in windows 7 and ubuntu. 🙂

    and yes please add queuing system for multiple copies running simultaneously like the one in teracopy software.

    sorry for the double post, i forgot to login first while commenting.

  90. A feature I would like:

    You know when you press F2 to rename a file the filename is selected omitting the extension…what would be nice if you press F2 a second time the whole thing filename and extension would also be selected

    This would be very useful if you had to rename filename.txt to filename2.ini

  91. Does Windows know a thing in UX? This copy paste thing has been bugging me for years. And the pathetic problem of moving the "read-only" file, irritates the hell out of me when I want to bulk copy because the alert will just stay and the next day morning I wake up to see only 1% of the files copied because Windows is waiting for me to approve the Move Read Only File? Yes? No? Screw it.

    The entire copy paste thing can be simplified as follows:

    1) Use a separate icon in the task bar to show that something is being copied or moved.

    2) I have seen that in the previous blog that all the copy and move processes are done in one window (finally.)

    3) When there are two files with same name, the name of the file should grab attention (bold black) and not dark grey. The attributes can be given in grey. Increasing the size of the thumbnail would be really helpful.

    4) Why the hell still rely on check boxes in 21st century? A simple right arrow icon can be used to move and a stop icon to stop moving the file to the destination folder. That's it.

    I can keep ranting but since I am not being paid by MS I will just stop here. I can rant if I can grab attention of other commenters here.

    I love Windows 7 but I was 8 to be revolutionary not evolutionary.

  92. Sample idea. Note that the user could either click on the Skip, Replace and Copy and Rename labels, or click on the thumbnails themselves. It could probably be cleaner and improved some, but really, anything to get rid of those checkboxes.…/CopyDialog.jpg

  93. Deo Domuique says:

    Really great that extra panel which helps on many things, I guess… Like at the Copy process we saw in previous topic.


    The truly amazing thing I see, is the flat and totally squared design… I honestly hope you'll eventually get rid of the ugly, boring curved border-radius! Believe it or not, as a home-user it's gonna be my reason no 1 to get the newer Windows!

  94. gawicks says:

    "If you select both version the copied file will have a number added to it's name"

    I suggest this to be removed completely . As you said the user intuitively checks both boxes if he wants both files .

    The wording in this sentence is confusing and add to the complexity of the copy dialog.

    First of all this points out something trivial and has been given too much emphasis on the dialog

    The user will pay attention to it unnecessarily.

    "Gee do I have to type in a number as well!? How do I do that?

    Will it add automatically?   etc;


  95. looking forward to see more windows 8 features on building windows 8 blog..

  96. gil dotan says:

    i think that file attribuites should be added to the dialog.

    in case of pictures resolution should be added.

    in case of video length should be added.

  97. yalexopoulos says:

    Is this design touch friendly?

  98. Tihiy says:

    Concepts are so much better than the implementation.

    So much checkboxes is just a mess!!!

  99. Maybe it would be possibe to Edit the file name in the File collision  dialog window. to have not always Beach (2).jpg and so on, when i have different pics with the same name. Otherwise i must go to the folder and rename it. (Win7)

  100. Angelo Chiello says:

    It is a great job.

    I like the concept of "Lager"/"Newer" but I think your conclusions are right.

  101. The option should be added to always show the detailed view by default when conflicts arise. Power users appreciate being able to avoid always clicking "more details" in any dialog where it appears.

  102. Raffaele Rialdi says:

    +1 for comparing either the hases or the content.

    I often use "fc" from cmd or some of the very popular tools to compare files.

    Comparing must be native in the shell, imho

  103. Chris89 says:

    I really like that you guys are looking for an open dialog 🙂

    I don't know, if it is of any use for you at this stage, because it looks like everything is decided and tested and we are only getting informed about it. However, I wanna contribute a bit as well:

    I agree with most of the guys above.

    A definitive must have is, that filename collisions may not interrupt the whole copy process. Make it continue in the background for all non-conflicting files.

    In addition to that it would be perfect, if Windows would check for conflicting files before starting the whole copy process (at least for larger files, which take a while to copy) so that you can leave your PC alone and you can be sure that once you come back, it's done (or just seconds because some small files are missing)

    By the way: what happens if the two pictures are obviously identical (same file size, last date of change…) ?

    I think you're doing a great job overall, however, I don't like the idea of checkboxes at all. Why don't you do it in kind of a way like this:

    What you can see:

    All files are presented in the detailed dialog. You can choose between three instead of two solutions: keep file 1, keep both, keep file 2

    Once you choose one solution, the affected line is fading and shrinking out (basically just get rid of it)

    By doing that, items, which you already decided on don't draw attention anymore, the remaining items can take the space, there is no need to scroll in this window and the checkboxes are removed, which gives a cleaner look.

    In addition to that I added green color instead of just bold letters for the interesting points of the file, cause I think it is easier to catch…

    What do you guys think of the whole solution?

  104. I have the same questions like  "Chris89".


  105. aaceesh says:

    really with good usability.

  106. Foodstuff says:

    I'd be great if we could disable the ugly checkbox…

  107. Stan says:

    Can the checkbox be aligned at the center next to the file tile? I feel like that conveys more appropriate targeting when a user looks at the dialog at first glance.

  108. Stan says:

    On second thought… Not a checkbox. The circle button-tick thing is better. The checkbox in web apps means you can pick more than one (multiple) options.

    The circle thing means you can only pick one of the presented choices.

    Is that sound reasoning on my part?

  109. Chris89 says:

    @Stan actually it doesn't, because users are supposed to select one of them OR BOTH!

  110. Mary Branscombe says:

    What's the broader philosophy on options and settings this time around? I ask because the Bigger/Newer adjectives you like are just what I'd prefer myself in the dialog; it's fascinating that so many testers disagree but I wonder about the value of offering those kind of things as an option in the settings dialog. Does it just increase the test matrix too much? What's the cost of that versus the value of allowing a minority of users to be happier with the end result?

  111. Mary Branscombe says:

    Another thought 😉 In Vista having checkboxes next to file names in Explorer is on by default, in 7 you have to enable it from settings – if checkboxes are useful for the file name collision scenario, are they also useful for general file selection? (I find them invaluable myself)

  112. dstran1 says:

    I think the argument of using checkboxes are not strong enough. I think making the clickable area bigger is not fixing the problem but just a patch. Why not use a gray outline button similar to the recent clean changes to gmail. Maybe have a custom button where clicking on the button will add a green check mark on the upper top left corner of the button. This indicates the item is selected. Selecting it again will remove the check mark. This serves two purposes:

    1) Buttons affords clickability and gives a perception that selecting an item doesn't require fine point entry (especially going toward touch interface).

    2) Adding a green check mark at the upper top left corner of the button won't clutter the interface and show the item is selected (as opposed to just changing the outline color of the button to indicate selection).

    What do you think?

  113. Cantoris says:

    Would some form of faint frame around the thumbnails and linked to the checkbox make it clearer that the thumbnail can be clicked as well as just the checkbox?

    What happens if you click Continue and a file has neither checkbox ticked?

    One suggestion, on the Conflict Resolution box, how about a button to auto-select "Newest Versions" as surely that's the most common type of resolution?  It could tick all the relevant boxes for you and then you either click Continue as before or scroll through to review or change the selections.

  114. Howdy folks,

    Thanks again for all the feedback and suggestions.

    We definitely never guessed that the use of checkboxes would generate such a rich conversation! Over the coming months we'll be continuing to refine this design and will keep the feedback from all of you in mind as we do so (along with additional usability testing, dogfooding, etc.)



  115. Gerardo says:

    There should be no more checkboxes, there are no touch friendly :S

  116. Please elaborate when UAC says "This program wants to modify your computer settings". Can you precisely explain what exactly modifications will be carried out.

  117. Tiago says:

    The checkboxes make it ugly, so my suggestion is to make it customizable, we could choose between having or not the checkboxes. And we could also choose between those 2 windows to proceed, or with one window were there could be the button to "Replace all" "skip all" and the grid were we could choose what to do with multiple files, it would ease some tasks and faster usability for the users.

    Keep up the good work.

  118. Name says:

    I think that conflicts are not a real problem and already good.

    You have to do is to reduce errors during the copy and reduce warnings blockers in order to save time.

    The first design (metro) to two levels is the best. Because it offers three options for each file and is easy to understand and is much more consistent.

    Thank you. Good job.

  119. What will happen when the destination drive will become full, how will you tackle that??

  120. Anon says:

    Does not anybody think that the choice of words is bad. Very bad. What does Replace mean? It should say Replace All. And what does Choose Options mean? It should say Choose Files. And what does Skip mean? It should say Do Not Replace. What do you think? Also one should get the dialog immediately upon initiating the copy and not at the end. Files should start copying in the background while the dialog is being interacted with. I don't want to have to wait for several minutes, possibly leaving by computer on all night, to find out suddenly in the morning that some files couldn't be copied and have to deal with a dialog and then wait even more. Let me choose straight up front and then go to sleep peacefully leaving the computer do the job.

  121. Davinci Junior says:

    I got some suggestions ,

    1.I would like to have some more advanced windows firewall,for incoming and out going monitoring, program blocking features etc

    2.Need a virtual function to test applications before executing it., sandbox

    3.Only need advanced windows media player , not so many media functions, like media center

    4.Please make some more improved in build windows burner, also an ISO image editor.

    5.Please improve the copying, deleting speed of files and fast browsing  through IE

    6.Make a light weight OS, so that it can run easily like XP in older machines

    7.Am expecting much more features, i think its good to have more in build windows software for various functions , i think it is easier for everyone.

    I will write more suggestions soon , thanks

  122. BlindUser says:

    I have a problem with the company usually not following their own UI guidelines. For example, the guidelines say that in a split-button's menu, the default button's action should also be included. Office has read the guidelines evidently and they do this. But Windows they do not. Shutdown for example is a split-button. But when you activate the associated menu, the Shutdown action in not in the list of options. Only Restart, Sleep, etc. Either revise the guidelines so that all products do not include the default action in the associated menu or include the shutdown option in the Shutdown menu as well. Blind users care about such so called details. I want to have a consistent model of usage in my head for how things work. Also activating the associated menu of a split-button is confusing. Sometimes you have to press down arrow, sometimes right arrow for the Shutdown button, etc. This coupled with the fact that Windows toolbars are navigated using the cursor keys and you see the problem. A cursor press intented to navigate to another button on the command bar activates a split-button's menu instead. Please think more carefully about these things. Which brings me to this dialog. Pleae make sure that shortcuts work. If they require alt then be consistent. Also CTRL+c should copy the contents of the dialog box for technical support uses. Say I want to help a blind person through e-mail, it would be hard for them to hear what the dialog says and then type it in an e-mail, whilst copy/pasting is faster. Some dialogs already do this but not all allow you to, it is inconsistent which show a lack of testing for blind or keyboard users in general.

  123. DavidN says:

    I find the use of different verbs like 'replace' versus 'keep' takes a little more thought to understand than a verb and its negative, e.g. 'Copy' versus 'Don't copy'.

  124. Mike says:

    It would be awesome if you could send both files to a program like Beyond Compare (to see the diff between both files), from the context menu.

  125. fede says:

    Please add the queuing by default on multiple copy, that would be a great enancement!

  126. fede says:

    Please add the queuing by default on multiple copy, that would be a great enancement!

  127. nnsun says:

    This looks really good so far. I think that many people still don't know that the classic Windows shell is integrated in Windows 8…it would be great if you reiterated that fact 🙂

  128. Marcel says:

    Sound like a great new feature in Windows 8

  129. Marcel says:

    Sound like a great new feature in Windows 8

  130. That's great, how about adding 'keep both files and add a number to file name automatically' as one of the option in the left window in the last image of this blog post?  Sometimes I just want to keep both without choose, but as I see for now, you have to tick both boxes to do that.  In Windows 7, only tick one box 'do this for the other x conflicts then click 'keep both files' can do the job.  How come you have to do more steps in Windows 8?

    Thanks so much!

  131. freelancer says:

    @DavidN: Had the exact same thought. "Copy" and "Don't copy" is more intuitive than "Copy" and "Keep".

    @Tiago: That's a very good suggestion! Add a checkbox where we can choose if we want checkboxes or not.[/irony] 🙂

    I don't have any problems with checkboxes and don't see them as something outdated, as they appear in nearly every dialog of Windows somewhere. In my opinion, it is a good compromise to have a big hit-testing area and the checkbox that make it clear you can select the items. So the argument "checkboxes are touch unfriendly" does not hold.

  132. DevPlus says:

    Please we want informations about Direct UI ( WPF and Silverlight )

  133. Square shaped windows and new min/max/start button aren't enough for a fresher feel of dating aero style because the style of the button and other elements like scrollbar, tab bar, check box, tooltip, mouse cursor with Aero rotating circle are left behind with old heavy-gray glass look since windows vista. I saw the first screenshot of this post quite interesting because on "Replace or skip file" part. one of three options which in hovering state have simple, less gray, more gradient feel. That's what I hope UI team will do with the rest of Aero visual style. Just like painting a house giving it a fresher… doesn't have to be fancy because simple is the best. Oh I also think the hovering state of the option I mention above should be integrated into the check box target area issue because it will help user identify which is clickable.

  134. asdf says:

    2 suggestions:

    1. Can you use KiB and MiB instead of KB and MB already?

    2. Can you put the number of bytes in parenthesis so I can get the exact bytecount?

  135. Instead of using checkbox, try to make the items clickable, and when selected, the white check mark with will appear indicating that the said item was selected.

  136. gawicks says:

    I agree with xpclient ;he has a few good points. Also is it true that you have removed the folder conflict prompt ? I would like to have it back . I don't want windows to merge folders without asking me! Could you detail  the new folder conflict behaviour in windows 8.


  137. Karl says:

    I agree withSuperJaycee13 since it will be more touch efficient.

  138. Chris89 says:

    @SuperJaycee13 I like your GUI. Looks nice 🙂 We could combine it with my approach at…/designing-the-windows-8-file-name-collision-experience.aspx ( which you obviously already did by using my pic… ^^ )

    Btw: did you guys realize how much time this dialog is saving you versus the current MS approach? And that's what it's all about, isn't it? Get your task done fast.

    And it's a lot cleaner due to the needlessness of checkboxes, the continue button and the scroll bar, too…

  139. Chris89 says:

    Sorry for the double-post, but unfortunately there is no option to amend my previous one:

    Furthermore, you could integrate defaults again, because there is no need of scrolling anymore and hence no confusion 😉

  140. DanglingPointer says:

    Great job! Please introduce the features like duplicate file finder, batch file rename and grouping files by custom criteria using colors.

  141. thinking that most users might get confused with 3 columns and knowing that "Windows 8" will be optimized for touch, MS can still use their core design less those check boxes and instead make the images clickable to make it more touch-friendly.

  142. Name says:

    This is the best and similar to the proposed Chris89:…/6758.Figure_2D00_6_2D002D002D00_First_2D00_two_2D00_tier_5F00_24F34B45.png

    Prevents accidental changes if only the selected line can be changed. Even if the details should be aligned horizontal below the thumbnails.

  143. Name says:

    @SuperJaycee13 @Chris89 Great job!

    But if the list is very long I think it's useful to include an agreement to prevent accidental changes of the choices.

  144. I love the idea of Chris89's auto collapsing of the line upon selection and SuperJaycee13's 2 column image, it looks nice and simple.

    Collapsing of the line upon selection makes process a lot faster and looks cool. One suggestion I'd make is that each line (conflict) does not collapse until the selection is made on another line (conflict.) This will prevent the user making an accidental selection and line being disappearing before he/she can correct the mistake.

  145. Alireza Noori says:

    The problem with auto collapsing is that sometimes I may want to change my selection and that means extra work!! Scrollbar is better in my idea.

  146. Alireza Noori says:

    What @SuperJaycee13 posted is what I have in mind. 2 tooltips, one for thumbnail that says "open file" and the other for the entire rectangle that says "select". Clicking on thumbnail should open the file for comparison. And when the mouse hovers the rectangle, a dotted rectangle with a lower contrast should inform the user of what it's going to happen. Something like this:

  147. Chris89 says:

    @Jung H. Lee & Alireza Noori: Don't you think about what you're clicking before you do so? 😛

    Just kidding. What about a little button at the bottom of the window which says something like "correct previous selections"? If clicked, just expand all of the files again (previous choices already marked) to give the user the opportunity to correct it… (shouldn't happen too often though)

    Concerning the 2 column design: I like it cause it's even cleaner, however it takes 2 clicks instead of one for each file, where you wanna keep both copies, which in turn means that it's less efficient and furthermore it's impossible to collapse the files…

  148. Stefan says:

    This looks better and better. I still prefer that old classic, but this is really getting better ! 🙂 Thumbs up !

  149. What time we can get the Beta ver. for windows 8?

  150. Kyle R says:

    Please, please, please reconsider performing a hash on the files so you can give users confidence that a file is in fact identical.

    Regarding the check boxes, I understand that user testing showed there was some confusion initially, but honestly they would only have to figure it out one time. This is the kind of thing that keeps windows from feeling fresh. I think that Apple has proven that if you give users a new clean simple design they can figure it out. I promise you that now is the time to start breaking with the past a bit.

  151. I would still like a keep, but rename(add (1) next to it ) option available. It helps for quickly making backups of small parts of data

  152. Chris McGrath says:

    I'm disappointed the issue of Column order wasn't touched on. Even looking at the 3.1 dlg, the text is

    Do you want to replace ORIGINAL with NEW?

    And to be honest, I think most people found that dlg much faster to use than Win7's.

    The way you have it is just wrong, look at any diff viewer, the original text is on the left and the new text on the right. This is logical. Please do some testing on this, I'm confident you'll find it tests much better.

  153. Dean says:

    The only reason you came up with the new dialog box with the pictures letting you choose which ones to keep are because they are pictures. Or photos to use another word. It only works with photos. What else are you going to compare ? Word 2007 icons ? But people don't just copy photos. For any other type of file the old "Yes", "Yes to All", "No", "No to All" dialog box has a lot of usefulness. Give people a choice. Put the user in control.

  154. Dean says:

    I also hope that just because you have moved on to a new posting you don't stop reading the comments for the old postings. Some people come late to the party.

  155. @Dean — most of us have the RSS feed for all comments (…/rsscomments.aspx) and so we don't miss any that are added against any of the posts.  –Steven

  156. Mikael Rodriguez says:

    I agree with BEF and Blai PLEASE:

    continue the non-conflicting copy/move operations in the BACKGROUND.

    (So when I'm moving 5GB OR 20GB of files, I don't come back 30 minutes later to find 4.9GB OR 19GB on hold while I wait for 2 conflicting text files.)

    That's point it's very very very important, so PLEASE fix it.

    Thanks for readme Team 🙂

  157. Is there a way of minimizing the thumbnails when a massive number of photos are throwing up conficts? I can just see myself banging the table when I have to keep scrolling and scrolling endlessly.

    Also i totally second what @Dean said: Please show us your method for handling non image files in this dialog! And what happens when theres mixed content?

  158. Dario D. says:

    Suggestion: In case you aren't already aware of this (no idea), just remember that, when testing UI's, the winning concept shouldn't be the one that proves IMMEDIATELY more productive, when users first get their hands on it. Usually, you'll want to see which one is most productive AFTER people get used to it, because that's the state in which the UI will be used the most. (See, when people are BRAND new to a UI, their speeds are temporarily skewed by the learning. Testing like that would be like seeing which bikes are better by having untrained kids ride them with training wheels. It likely wouldn't tell you much.)

    From a development point of view, the cool thing about this kind of testing is that it only has to be done ONCE, then you know what works (until the next "big idea" comes along). Hopefully, you also start recognizing patterns, like "X method seems to always work really well," or "Y always looks good on paper, but never performs."

    Also, if you want to sell an idea to upper management, never show drawings or sketches. Get someone who knows Photoshop to make something that looks convincing, because that, by far, carries the most rich, accurate mental payload… Drawings/sketches are good for coming up with stuff, but can easily not convey the actual feel and understanding to another person. (it's an envisioning thing. Poor material (can) fail to inspire good envisioning, and then someone might not "get it".) Photoshop PSD files are also great, because, if you're using layers, someone else can EASILY take them and rearrange them, to try something new. (even someone who isn't familiar with Photoshop) I think everyone on a design team should be capable with Photoshop. (watch those YouTube tutorials!) Executives too, if conveying visual ideas is an important thing to them.

    Final note:

    Sometimes, you just have to use your head, because, for one, it's not always the *faster* UI that wins. Example: the fastest file-replace dialog you could do would be a mere "Okay" message, with no functionality at all. With that in mind, note that the ability to just *simplify* something is always a surefire way to increase short-term speed… but at the cost of long-term productivity. See, it's not about how long it takes you to get the dialog out of your face… What about your dealings with the files AFTER that… or whatever objective you were trying to accomplish in the first place? (Example: an iPhone is about as simple as you can get, but could you imagine trying to manage a project on one, with files all over the place? Its insane speed with short-term dialogs (such as not HAVING any) sacrifices long-term productivity. Something to think about…)

    You kind of have to just look at the whole picture, and weigh this with that. Every factor has some value… just takes a wee bit of initial thought, then you're on your way. 🙂

  159. David says:

    One thing I dislike about the Win-7 copy box is the fact that the option "do this for all conflicts …" is put at the bottom of the dialogue box as a last option to take, where in fact it should be the first action. Why, because if you happen to hit one of the earlier options, (by mistake, say), the file copy takes place and you then don't get the option to "do this for all conflicts".

  160. David says:

    While viewing OLD vs NEW – sometimes viewing the icon (say a word icon) and a bit of size/date data isnt enough to be able to identify which file I want to keep… The UI should allow us to right click on either file and open it – without disrupting the file copy. When I have identified the file I wish to keep I can then make the correct selection.

    So, making each side right clickable with options to preview, open, open with options would be fantastic.

  161. @Sentinel24 and @Dean — You see the thumbnail as you would see in Explorer or you see an icon for that file type if there is no preview.  One thing to consider is that this user interface reuses lots of existing control types and renderings–so there are other places you can find these elements.  –Steven

  162. xpclient says:

    @David, yes you can double-click the thumbnail to open the file; and users can also right-click to get at file properties / etc as Jordi Mola explained in the earlier blog post. 🙂

  163. Jon says:

    More details on the next UI for desktop please, just a few things for example – don’t the designers understand that the ‘thick black’ shadow is wrong (too harsh, the profile of the shadow is wrong also) and black border color on Windows, you need to do better! Also these Window controls have the wrong vertical alignment again, your design team either has the wrong type of designers or you are letting programmers make decisions again, it’s time to step up to the plate in regards to making Windows the most beautiful OS, I am really concerned here, I would like to see Windows beat the competition hands down on UI and you keep failing because of silly things, why don’t you put some of the huge resource to work on getting some world class designer talents to scrutinise the UI in details, pixel by pixel.

  164. Drewfus says:

    Old engineering adage: If a part is giving you trouble, get rid of it.

    If these dialog boxes are so difficult to design, perhaps it is because the underlying assumption is false; namely that in the case of a collision you *have to* start asking the user questions. Here is an alternative:

    Remove the collision dialogs completely, have the OS go ahead and copy all the files specified by the user, but add existing files to the previous versions list of the overwriting files. Now, simply add a column in Explorer listing the previous version date, or '<date>,…', or 'many…' if there are now multiple previous versions.

    The user will soon learn from experience to check for existing files when copying, but, thanks to previous versions technology, not the hard way. They will also have the opportunity to learn about a feature of Windows they were probably unaware of. Lose the dialogs!

  165. Sumit Kumar says:

    This description is quite good. It cleared many doubts about the naming collisions. I would also like to know more about the "Copy Folder" options available in Windows 8. In Windows 7, when we try to copy a folder with the same name, it merges the existing folder with the new one but there is no option to completely replace the existing folder with new one. Is there any feature for that in Windows 8??

  166. @Drewfus Totally, disagree with your idea. Conflict dialog boxes are aids to help users identify those files that has conflict/s. Removing such will be a total disaster. In copy there will be no problem. What if you replace a file which is very important and without the dialog box, the system will automatically replace it. What will happen next? you lose your file? So you will work on it again. Not user-friendly. Microsoft wants their users to decide on what they want to do making them in full control.

    "Doing right things, the first time ,all the time and avoid reworks" that's what a conflict dialog box is all about.

  167. Flo says:

    Wow – never thought there is so much research going into a single dialog… GREAT WORK!

  168. Shomy says:

    >>Please, spare some time to read this. <<


    Hello, everyone. Nice to see all this attention being put into Windows 8 but, as always, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Main issue  are the check boxes. They really need to go away, no matter what. One simple solution is to transform the thumbnails into giant check boxes.

    Here's a mockup that builds upon your last iteration of UX and refines it. It's clean, fluid and intuitive. And I've tried to keep it both touch and mouse friendly.  Please, take a look.

    Thumbnails act as check boxes, "ALL"s toggle their corresponding columns on and off and "leave", "replace" and "keep both" labels change dynamically according to your actions. Inspiration came from Zune, Photoshop CS5, Metro UI and Windows 8, of course. Really hope you'll see this and find it useful. All feedback is welcome.


  169. @SuperJayce13

    Sorry both novice users and pros should be supported.  Some of us manage file systems with 10k thousands of files and we have to use better tools because of how poor the current ones are.

    A number of features should be added to the file system; Auto Checksum dupe handling, Global Command Queueing with multiplexing on high IO drives, Before and After file reports, Do copy/move with Recovery,  Auto Profile copying (using rule list), File Tagging etc.

    For most users they still don't understand what the dialog boxes mean even with lots of extra info added they just want some files copied to certain place that they probably wont remember a few weeks from now.  

    With real transaction reports, administrators could go to the user and say hey you overwrote the file last week at 5:32PM.  Fortunately, I have recovery bit set domain wide and we can easily recover the file.

    Also important to note, the interface is archaic hasn't changed in ages, we shouldn't still be using itty bitty buttons with OK  YES NO and CANCEL anymore but that requires actual interface and philosophy change.

  170. Sathya says:


    Your idea is cool, but more deviation from traditional check boxes may be difficult to new users or users who really are not interested in UI aesthetics. The learning curve is just now started for new UI transition.

    Still your idea is awesome. Can be expected to replace Checkbox in vNext or higher.

  171. DanglingPointer says:

    WinTeam, (a little off-topic but) can you guys extend the idea of graphical progress bar of WindOS8's file transfer dialog to IE10's download manager along with the ability to create downloads:…/create-download-in-ie-download-manager

  172. Mayur Prayag From India says:

    Sir, Steven Sinofsky ,

    As you said that "Windows 8 is as revolutionary as Windows 95".If I am not wrong,then in year 1995 Windows

    95 came with COM technology[Replacing OLE 2 in Win3.1  ]  (i.e. making DLL object oriented,language independent ).(COM is nothing but better C++). And I think ,this is the real revolution in W95.

    Today Orbit or Corba uses COM specification.(OLE32.dll,OLEaut32.dll,advapi.dll)

    Above 55 words are wrote to make you prepare for my question that " If Windows 8 is as revolutionary as 95 then , are you heading towards something new app developing paradigm & will bring some new  revolution as like COM(To run app on all platforms PC,Mobile,Tablet) ?

    I knew that COM is one of the Microsoft's greatest achievement till date because IE,MS Office,DirectX,Explorer,SAPI,TAPI etc All ravishing things are in COM itself instead of in .NET(Wrapper).

    I am awaiting for your reply sir …

    Thank You.

  173. I love how you're working to simplify this more and make it faster and easier for us. Thank you!

  174. xyz_1981 says:

    Sorry to say, but don't see anything revolutionary in this.

  175. Name says:

    When you make the tail for copying files to establish a mechanism of autosuspend tasks that require a lot of time so that they do not block the execution of the tasks smaller and faster for far too long. Actually it would be better to give priority to the less demanding tasks by pausing the other. This would make the system more responsive to the eyes of a copy of the user and others, we would be grateful not seeing his work slowed down.

  176. Very nice! I like the new File Name Collision in Windows 8, great work and thank you! It helps to simplify the file management task.

    I like also to suggest about grouping the files by its type, it would be easier for my opinion to check files by its type, there will be option if others don't prefer it. I love to use incorporating WP7 jump boxes(The Letter squares on the list) in Windows 8. It can also save time from a long list i think.

    We are concerning about the touch friendliness of the UI, well we know that this is not final but we hope to see changes since Windows 8 should be way more touch-friendly. The links for example, how will we able to "tap" it using our fingers. Tablet-pen, Stylus, Mouse has no problem with this, but what about Touch.

    I like to see also some advance comparison between files like MD5.

    I think some confirmation dialog for the files being uncheck, I don't see this a problem personally but maybe to some other people.

    Maybe a bit bigger thumbnails for better comparing at glance.

    I wonder if you will support "Track changes" features of Microsoft Office when we preview the docx,doc file.

    I hope you would consider these features on Windows 8.

    More power to the Windows team! I'm excited to see in Build 😀

  177. Mem Maina says:

    This is what we've been waiting for

  178. Laura T. says:

    I find the detail dialog quite confusing.

    Starting from the title "Which files do you want to *keep*?"

    The keyword is keep. If I am copying, already this seems confusing to me,

    as I see the source file there too. Do I want to keep my source file?

    What did I do, a copy or move? Cancel and let's do it again.

    Having a checkbox (action) on the destination file makes more

    confusion. I am acting on the source file, so first, let my destination files alone.

    Now, I  "add","replace" or "skip" the operation (can find better names)

    of the source, not a "keep" operation on the destination.. keep is making

    it ambiguous. I keep my destination file, but can I add my source too?

    If so, I must "keep"my source too.. confusing


  179. LongARM says:

    I hope you make a new AERO very beautiful. I tried a program that like new Metro Start Panel, it was good but not really for laptop – but suprised it doesn't so bad for it.

    Some of these pictures are great. Are these originals or just concepts (I mean not true just drawed eg.: Ms Paint)? I just say I hope you will show more information before sept 1 😀

    – For copy: Could you make the copy-windows like in internet explorer where we can combine websites?

    – And please make that when we pause a copy and take out pen-drive then we put in it continues copy when we click the button?

    Sorry if it isn't too understanable but I'm not english and I'm learning the language 😀

  180. When are you writing a post about application switching and management?

  181. Jan Kučera says:

    Great work.

    I think green/yellow/red colors are perfectly okay and consistent with the current experience in Windows 7.

    However, the centered dialog boxes captions are really … at least unnatural for current Microsoft users.

  182. Colin says:

    I really appreciate the work that goes into making a clean and useable UI.

    But thinking about this problem in relation to OS X Lion's built in file versioning system, it's interesting to think about how this changes if files carry their whole version history with them. Hybridizing this dialogue with typical SVN or Git conflict resolution options on merge… Might be a headache. Good luck in Windows 9 😉

  183. SatoMew says:

    (Sorry if this is a double post but since my previous one is not being shown, I consider that its upload was not successful.)

    Steven, it is a pleasure to see Microsoft's research and efforts for improving the mechanisms and user tasks in Windows. I believe the new interface will help everyone with their file operations and there's no doubt of that there is room for further improvement. Much like others, I'd like for Windows to have a built-in function for checking file hashes (particularly MD5, CRC32, SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashes) in the file operation interfaces but also extending that to the file properties themselves. Especially if it gaves us the ability to verify if a given hash matched that of the file in question. It would surely make the installation of HashTab superfluous and unnecessary.

    I'd like to ask you something not exactly related to the file operation mechanisms but rather to Windows as a whole. How is Microsoft dealing with the inconsistencies in the GUI that users encounter due to either old and legacy interfaces that give an outside look to the GUI or new interfaces that don't respect the established guidelines completely? Since Windows 8 is being touted as the most revolutionary release since Windows 95, how is the work being done regarding those outdated elements that date back to it or even prior to it? I'm not asking for removal of apparently legacy features, I'm talking about the exposure they have to the user, the same exposure that feels exterior to the modern experience because it hasn't received a facelift yet, whether that facelift is partial or complete? Is the feedback on sites such as the Aero Taskforce and the Windows 7 Taskforce being taken in account? Are those reports of visual inconsistencies and of improvements for current functionality part of the whole feedback Microsoft takes in consideration for their future products?

    Regarding the new features that are to come in Windows 8, rumors have spurred about a redesigned Disk Cleanup utility, a new Language explorer, disc image mounting, built-in SmartScreen filter, built-in PDF reader, Aero Basic theme replacement, etc. What does the Windows team have to say about that? And while I'm at it, can we get built-in disc image creation? Since we can create zip files, why not for disc image files as well?

  184. Jon says:

    Like the previous person mentioned I would like some file comparison functions so I don't have to goto a cmd prompt and use fc.exe to check if the files are the same.

  185. ***@developers***

    sir, other way  to solve conflicting files is by  a)suffix increment to copy (or) b)affix current date  — providing these as preselected options.

    2.You should also limit the max no of simultaneous operations carried out because  it leads to excessive head movements of hard disk causing it wear down

    3.Option to not display progress dialog for advanced users

    4.Show summary report on completion (optional)

    5. Create a log

  186. Guy who likes to keep both files says:

    I primarly see the conflict resolution dialogue when transferring pictures to my PC, and I almost always choose "keep both files" in Windows 7.  It looks like this option has gone away with Windows 8.  I don't see it in either the simplified or the detailed dialogues.  Is this option really gone?

  187. Thanks for sharing the process, it gives a good insight to why and how the UI is as such and how it has evolved.

    And I may have missed it, but curious to know: the usability study groups – so it is a mix of users trying the UI prototypes with various input methods(mouse, touchscreen, tablet, wacom tablet etc) or it is one group dedicated to a input method and so on?

    Would be interesting to know how the usability varies(if at all) and the observations between the various methods and user groups!

    Thanks for the sharing the build process, love it!!!

    – goks

  188. Mr. Name says:

    Funny how you keep on comparing Windows 8 to Windows 3.1…

  189. MS PLEASE get this right. I'm begging you. You started off by showing a very "Metro" UI like screen captures only to say you're settling with something that looks very Windows 7ISH. Ive also seen the Ribbon blog and love it from a functional perspective but again, the look of it is very Windows 7ish and does NOT gel well with the touch first UI. Keep Ribbon yes, but replace the classic Windows Ribbon icons with those from WP7's "app bar". As of now the flatness and solid color of Metro clashes way too much with the colorful pictures and shadows you get from the current ribbon UI.

    Please drop the chrome from explorer and go more with the Zune Software look of the windows which are border less and uses the solid color circle with the icon placed in the middle and the name underneath as your replacements from the icons (WP7 also shares this look).

    I understand that the cost to totally change the look of Windows is not cheap, but a simple icon change would go a long way. Please go with the windows without glassy progress bars and shadows, the non Win7 screens above look beautiful and would really help to sell both UIs in Windows 8 as one complete OS.

  190. Eig says:

    It would be great if you provide "keep only newer files" button.

  191. Gpower2 says:

    Indeed really good job!

    It's nice to know that user feedback is taken into consideration for the new features and for the refining of existing ones.

    For this particular screen, I believe it would be nice to have the extra button "Keep all files", since it was really useful with Windows 7 screen and it belongs in the first simple screen.

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

  192. Rose Vines says:

    What I'd really like to see is an "All skipped files" list, so that after I've finished a copy operation, I can quickly see all the files that were not copied. For example, I recently copied all my music files from one computer to another across a network. Several of those files had filenames which were too long to be accommodated, so I skipped copying each of those files. It'd be really useful to be able to click a button after a copy or move operation, and see a list of all the skipped or "exception" files, and their current locations.

    BTW, the new dialogs are looking good. Thanks for your work.

  193. Dralok says:

    These changes are great, but what about a more comprehensive "keep both" option.  Right now it looks like Windows will just assign a numeric value to the end of the filename.  Why couldn't we just have the ability to rename one of the files inside the dialog?  The number just means that the user has to find and rename that file manually afterwards.

  194. RichardDeeming says:

    Looking good. I think the checkboxes are probably the best idea, since you can select none, one or both.

    As others have said:

    * Continue copying/moving non-conflicting files in the background while the user selects the files to keep;

    * Don't let an error copying/moving one file abort the whole operation;

    * Consistent thumbnail display is essential – Win7 usually only displays the thumbnail of the target file;

    * Detecting exact duplicates via MD5 hashes would be nice, especially if we had an option to overwrite duplicates on move and ignore duplicates on copy;

    * How will the system handle conflicting folders? Will we get one dialog per folder, or a combined view of all conflicts?

  195. Can I add to the strength of feeling started by 'BEF' to continue the copy or move process in the background whenever a 'Replace or Skip Files' dialogue box appears.  

    It is one of the most annoying things to walk away from a large copy process involving several thousand files and Gigabytes in size only to come back and discover that only a few files have completed and one little 'desktop.ini' file conflict stands in the way urrrrh!!  

    Following on from that, if the background process continues the copy/move operation and there is an outstanding conflict dialogue box unresolved, I would like the same dialogue box to continue to update with any subsequent conflicts, avoiding a queue of pending dialogue boxes.

  196. david says:

    Que tenga 100% con aero por favor!

    O que se vea como office 2010

  197. Adam says:

    I know a lot of people misses a batch file rename function from their Win OS, We'd be very glad if you would add this function to Windows 8!

    Keep up the good work!

  198. Steve says:

    You've had a STUPID file system since day 1 and never dealt with it! Try copying all of a user's stuff from the "Documents and Settings" folder. Wait for the inevitable "file in use" error that aborts the process, leaving you with some stuff copied and some stuff not. now go back and do the whole thing again in parts. Ridiculous! For gods sake offer an option to log a list of problem (not copied) files, rather than aborting the whole process!

  199. Arne S says:

    I know that you already put a lot of effort into the design of the dialog.

    However, I never could make my decision just based on a file's alteration date and size.

    There are a lot of great tools around for file comparison and there is even a native support for comparison of two documents in Word. Why do you not just include an option to diff the two files, the user has to choose between?

    Also it would be nice to have an option to just select all the newer files.

    Without altering the current layout too much and confusing inexperienced user, one could include these options with a link "More Options", together maybe with a hash-comparison (?).

  200. Git says:

    What about directories, subdirectories and so on? Are they managed as if they were just files? Can you pick files inside them?

    And, what about other media files as video, audio or local webpages? Can you see a preview?

  201. Noam says:

    What about adding simple copy with "force".

    What I mean is to give power users the ability to configure quick forceful copy that will not "prepare to copy" anything and just copy quickly without any warning and default to overwrite everything. Like the way you might configure a "XCOPY" command

  202. Virgil says:

    "Keeping" a file is confusing terminology. When you start a copy operation, you don't think this initiates a deletion of both source and destination, such that you have to choose which of either to keep. "Keeping" is a mischaracterisation. It makes me feel like everything is in jeopardy.

    Instead, copying is characterised typically as either creating a copy, creating a copy on top of another file, or skipping that copy. It's a left to right movement only. The source is not at risk!

    The checkboxes in the conflict resolution dialogue should be for "do continue to copy" (checked) or "skip" (unchecked), and only present by the source files.

  203. Sylvain says:

    Like xpclient says, why not adding two new buttons on the detailed window : "Keep newer files" and "Keep larger files" ?

    When you click on these buttons it will select the appropriate files and let you customize if you need

    About the dialog box for folder conflict, I hope it will be possible to display it if the user wants to

  204. what about the file name problem that's been in Windows since inception?

    the 32 or something charateer limit, you can extract stuff to the desktp just fine, but you have to rename it to delete, when is the 255 name limit gonna come to windows?

  205. SteveT says:

    Well, I really liked the 'Newer' and 'Larger' prompts, as they are much quicker to read and interpret than the date, time and file size.

    One more BIG thing: those checkboxes look SO crappy and old.  Like using a web-based form.  Can't you use something else to indicate selection?  I feel it's REALLY important that you revisit this decision.

  206. MarcX says:

    Only one file conflict should be presented at a time. A bigger choice will overhelm weaker users. I like these options in addition: skip all, overwrite all, overwrite older files.

  207. My personal view:

    The two checkboxes above, shown as "From Stuff(C:)" and "From Work(F:)", confused me.

    In contrast, two buttons with captions "copy/keep all these files" make me clear.

    If you think checkboxes are essential, the captions "copy/keep all these files" can be used here with checkboxes.

  208. Senzune says:

    What about the continuity of the copying experience?

    This new windows pops up, asking what to do. Nice, but, will the data be written in the background, waiting for a filename to be created for that data, or will the data writing only continue after a choice is made? I sometimes leave the pc when it's copying, only to be frustrated by the dialog that pops up and thus having to wait even longer before the copying is complete, because it stopped writing data. It slows down the pc significantly, too, and every bit of performance gain is nice, isn't it?

  209. Nima says:

    Its so awesome work on this menu… but how about an option to change it to a list view with less info (just 2 boxes that indicate whether the files is newer or larger) its useful for better & faster batch processing large amount of files. & three options of select all, select none & invert selction for the two columns. I'll try to make a screenshot of my idea in photoshop & postin it in here to say what I mean.

    Keep up good work…!!!

  210. Nima says:

    sorry for misunderstanding in my last comment… there are ofcourse select all & select none buttons in your designs… but invertselection might become handy sometimes…

  211. Gandalf50 says:

    When comparing office docs or other types of collisions, the smal thumbnail is fine, but when dealing with images I still would like to see larger thumbnail preview when hovering over a thumbnail. Image files can often have very subtle changes which are difficult to spot in small thumbnails.

  212. Drewfus says:

    @SuperJaycee13 "What will happen next?"

    Next … you can read the remainder of my comment.

  213. personreadingthis says:

    This brings to mind the eventual need for some kind of data de-duplication services, the flip side of the process of creating duplicate but maybe slightly different files. If you analyze the decision process for segregating out duplicates (or rather how those duplicates were arrived at in the first place), maybe some nice de-duplication scheme suggests itself.

  214. Drewfus says:

    @ personreadingthis — Yes, agreed. My preferred option regarding auto-generated-on-overwrite previous versions is this;

    Delete the duplicate (previous ver), after the default version goes through an open-close-open cycle. To expand;

    1. The user copies files from A to B. Some files in destination B are overwritten by files in source A. The user is not bothered by annoying dialog boxes.

    2. Overwritten files become the most recent previous version of overwriting files.

    3. The user later opens a file in B that was overwritten by file of same name from A. If user decides that previous version is preferable, they can 'retrieve' this version using Explorer.

    4. If instead user eventually closes the file (from A that replaced file @B), then reopens the same version, the previous version is deleted (by the system), since the user has implied that file from A is preferred.

    The benefit of this is that instead of *always* interupting the user with dialog boxes, the user is only required to do something extra when *they* decide this is necessary. The user is otherwise left alone. The system and the hardware bare the responsibility of unburdening the user from distractions by the shell. The system does the work, not the user – that's what computers are for, right?

  215. gmj says:

    One of the issues I deal with that didn't make your usability testing:  When I have a name conflict, I often want to keep both files but adjust the name of one or both.  E.g., "Draft1-with gmj comments.docx" and "Draft1-as circulated.docx".  It would be great to have the option to adjust the filenames at the time I'm making the decision which file(s) to keep.  Else I need to go back after the bulk copy has completed, find the duplicate files, re-examine the duplicate files, rethink/remember the logic of my decision, and do the renaming at that point.  If, for example, you had a "power user option" such as right-clicking on the object in the "Choose Files" window to rename one or both files, that would address my issue.  P.S.  Didn't read through all the comments so perhaps someone came up with this before me.

  216. Bruno Ferreira says:

    Well the last image looks very good, i prefer an actual DATE over "OLDER&NEWER" tags, and i really think images, should have the Resolution described, and not "BIGGER&SMALLER" tags. It's more usefull, that way bigger images don't always mean better, plus what is BIGGER? if you have 1200×1000 and you have another with 3000×200, what will it say?

    One other thing i would like to know, is Renaming a bundle of files at the same time, does it still act the same has SEVEN did?

  217. Andrew Macaulay says:

    I agree with the comment about identifying identical files. Obviously this is a challenge to do up front, but once you are on the dialog box and the user is selecting what to do, you could have a background thread doing the comparison of any files that look to be the same based on name, size and date/time info.

  218. @marknca says:

    The "Skip Files" icon is the same or very similar to "Undo" in other areas of the OS. You may want to consider changing it.

  219. James says:

    Where did the "continue and keep BOTH copies" option go???

  220. pkn2011 says:

    Great to see all these enhancements for Windows 8! keep on keepin' on. 🙂

  221. commongenius says:

    I would just like to say THANK YOU for this post! I have been wishing for years for more insight into the design process for highly visible features and how the final design came about. It goes such a long way toward suppressing the "what were you thinking? don't you know anything about UX design? didn't you bother to test this in front of users?" knee-jerk reaction of people who think that their ideal version is obviously better. It also gives some substance to the ephemeral "we got a lot of feedback about this" defense often used by Microsoft when confronted with vocal user dissatisfaction. And the best part is, by showing the design process before the design is finalized, there is still a chance to incorporate user feedback from the very large community that will be following this blog (although of course there is the risk that if there are no significant changes in the final design, users will complain that Microsoft has yet again ignored their feedback; hopefully that does not happen).

    Please give us more posts like this!

  222. dunno says:

    Great work. I do really like these improvements but I think that pictures' dimensions should also be shown when these kind of conflicts happens. Thank You.

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