Windows 8 tip: Restore the merge-folders option

Windows 8 insists on automatically merging the contents of like-named folders. Here's how to restore the options you had in Windows 7.

By Rick Broida, PC World |  Windows, windows 8

Recently I told you how to take advantage of Windows 8's cool new file-copy feature. What I didn't mention was a small, but potentially significant, change in the way Windows 8 handles certain folder-copy functions.

Specifically, when you copy a folder to a drive or other destination that already has a folder with the same name, Windows 8 will automatically merge their contents.

That's a change from the way Windows 7 handled things, which was to alert you to the duplicate folder with a dialog box offering options: Yes (to go ahead and merge), Skip (to skip the folder being copied), and Cancel.

As noted by Lifehacker, automatically merging the contents of two like-named folders is probably fine in most instances, but it could cause unintended problems. You might end up overwriting old files with newer ones, or merging two folders you'd wanted to keep separate.

Thankfully, there's an easy fix:

1. Open File Explorer, then click the View tab.

2. On the far right side of the Ribbon, click the Options button.

3. In that window, click the View tab, then uncheck the box next to Hide folder merge conflicts.

4, Click OK to exit and apply the change.

Presto! Now, if you copy a folder to a destination that has the same name, you'll see the old Windows 7-style "Confirm Folder Replace" dialog box.

I'm confused by this change, as I don't see a single benefit to the user. Microsoft works in mysterious ways, no?

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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