Guest post from Full Circle Magazine Issue 56. Written by: Ronnie Tucker (KDE), Jan Mussche (Gnome), Elizabeth Krumbach (XFCE), Mark Boyajian (LXDE), David Tigue (Unity)
Closing Windows Part 3: Move, Copy, Rename
This month, we’ll discuss the moving, copying, and renaming of files. We’ll also take a quick look at how to delete a file, and (should a mistake occur) undeleting (or restoring) a deleted file.
Moving / Copying A File
First, a quick distinction: moving a file will physically shift that file/folder to another place. Copying will place a copy of the file/folder in another place, but keep the original where it is.
You can move/copy a file in several different ways. The first is by selecting (left-clicking) on the file/folder and choosing ‘Move To…’ or ‘Copy To…’ from the Edit menu in the main menu bar. To put the file somewhere, you navigate to the location using the “Move Items” or “Copy Items” window, and click the ‘Move’ or ‘Copy’ button, respectively. Kubuntu does this in a similar way.
Right-clicking a file(s) or folder(s) reveals a pop-up menu with all file-handling options.
You can also move/copy a file by dragging and dropping it from window to window. Windows XP requires you to hold down the Control-key while you release the left button to move a file/folder. Simply dragging a file/folder to another location will copy the file. Kubuntu does this too, but it also has a unique feature in that, when you drop the file with no keys pressed, a menu will pop up asking you if you want to move/copy the file.
In Gnome, things are more or less the same as in Windows and Kubuntu. The Nautilus file manager
uses a menu, available with the right mouse-click, with items like cut and copy. It’s also possible to just drag and drop files/folders to their new locations. Whether the file/folder is moved or copied depends on the use of the Shift or Control-key, or on the source and destination locations:
- If the source and destination is on the same disk-partition, then dragging and dropping a file/folder will move it, the original file/folder is no longer in its original location.
- If they are on two different partitions, or disks, then a copy will be made. This is visible by means of a little plus sign on the hand that drags the file/folder.
Ubuntu has based Unity on Gnome Shell – Gnome 3.x is the base system – so things are done in much the same manner. Unity, like Gnome Shell, uses Nautilus as the file manager, so, to move a file, you
can right-click on the file and select ‘Cut’. Now navigate to the location you want to place the file, and right-click in the white-space of the folder and select ‘Paste’. To copy a file, use the same method as before, but, instead, click ‘Copy’ on the original file. You can also use the drag/drop method. As in Gnome Shell, you should remember that if the file/folder is located on the same partition, the file will be moved by default, and, if it is on different partitions, it will be copied.
Lubuntu is similar, but with some minor differences. When you select a file(s) or folder(s) and then right-click, a context menu is revealed with the “usual” file handling options, though there is no “Move” option in this menu.
To “Move” a file/folder using this menu, you first have to “Cut” the file, then navigate to the
destination and “Paste” it; however, the File Manager Edit menu does provide “Move To…” and “Copy To…” options which function as described above for MS Windows.
In Xubuntu, when you click on a file and drag it to another Thunar File Manager window, it will move the file, and holding down “Shift” when you click and drag the file will do the same. If you wish to copy the file, you can right click on the filename and select “Copy”, and in the new directory you’ll right click, and select “Paste” to paste the copied file.
Renaming A File
In all variants, this is done by right-clicking the file you want to rename, and choosing ‘Rename’. Gnome, KDE, and LXDE all have a nice renaming feature, which is, that after right-clicking the file and choosing ‘Rename’, only the file-name is selected, you’ll see that the file-extension (if present) is not selected. So, when you want to rename a picture from your camera (IMG_0001.JPG) into House-on-the-beach.JPG, you can just start typing without worrying about accidentally changing the file-extension as it will not be deleted or renamed: a JPG will still be a JPG. This is different from Windows where you have to be careful not to erase the file extension.
Deleting A File
A file that is deleted is not gone forever – it’s sitting in a special place where the file can be
restored. The only time a deleted file can not be restored is when the Waste-bin (or equivalent) is emptied. After the Waste-bin is emptied the file is gone forever.
Deleting a file is, like renaming, done using the right-click menu mentioned earlier. Or, you can drag a file/folder to the ‘Trash Can’ icon that’s on your XP desktop.
Kubuntu has no desktop icon for its ‘Waste-bin.’ However, there is a Trash Can directory that is displayed by default in the File Manager, and any file(s)/folder(s) can be dragged to it for “disposal”. Likewise, any files/folders that are deleted (either from the menu or by pressing the Delete key on the keyboard) are placed in the Trash Can by default, but you can still right-click a file to choose Delete, or use the ‘Add Widget’ item (by right-clicking on the desktop/taskbar) to add a Waste-bin icon.
Gnome-Shell has a Waste-bin, called Trash, on the right side of the lower panel. All the normal ways of deleting a file work here: Del on keyboard, right-click and select Move to Trash, dragging the file to the Trash-bin.
Another option (similar to the Unity notes below re adding Delete to the right-click menu) is the key combination Shift-Delete. This bypasses the Trash, and, once confirmed, the file will be gone for ever. So be very careful using this.
In Unity, there is a Trash icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the dock. You can delete files in a couple of different ways. In the file manager, there is a Trash folder on the left-hand side. You can click a file and drag it in to the Trash folder, or drag it to the ‘Trash’ icon on the dock. Also, you can right-click on it and select ‘Move to Trash’. You may also want to look in the preferences in the file manager (Nautilus), you can select Edit >Preferences, and, under the the ‘Behavior’ tab at the very bottom is a check-mark to add a ‘Delete’ option to the right click menu that will remove the file completely – bypassing the Trash. You will not be able to recover this file by restoring it from the Trash, so be very careful if using this option.
Lubuntu also has no “Trash Can” icon on the desktop; but has a Trash folder that is always visible in the File Manager. Right-clicking the Trash folder opens one menu option: “Empty Trash”. You can also select specific files/folders in the Trash and permanently delete them—by showing the pop-up menu (right-click) and selecting Delete.
Xubuntu also has a Waste-bin called Trash; it is located on the Desktop and also in the right-hand side of the bottom panel by default.
In Gnome you can do the same as in KDE, or, after selecting the file(s)/folder(s) you want to
restore, click the button “Restore selected items” on top of the frame.
Unity works in the same way as Gnome Shell and KDE. Open the Trash, right-click on the file, and
click ‘Restore’, or you can click the ‘Restore Selected Items’ button.
You can either drag and drop the file back to somewhere, or right-click it and choose to ‘Restore’ it.
In Xubuntu, you do the same as in Kubuntu, a “Restore” option is in the right-click menu.