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Microsoft Previews Copy Feature in Windows 8

In a demo video posted on its "Building Windows 8" blog on Wednesday, Microsoft showed off a new Windows 8 feature for copying files.

The feature lets users manage "copy jobs" via a single dialog box, which is capable of displaying information on multiple copy operations at once. The dialog box shows data regarding copy progress, bandwidth and time-to-completion details.

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

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Windows 8 copy dialog box.

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

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

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

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

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About the Author

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

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