Another, Sometimes More Convenient Way to Copy and Move Files

Adama asked the Windows forum about copying and moving files via a dialog box rather than drag and drop. Ideally, when you right-click a file or folder and select one of these options, a dialog box would allow you to select the destination.

You couldn't find a more intuitive way to copy or move files than the old standard: dragging them from one folder to another. But that's only handy if the destination folder is already visible onscreen.

Fortunately, Windows offers alternatives that are more convenient when the destination isn't visible: Dialog boxes that ask you where you want the file.

But you won't find those options in the context menu (as I show above) until you put them there. So where will you find them?

In Windows Explorer, select the file(s) or folder(s) you wish to copy or move. If you're using XP, from the top menu select Edit, then either Copy to folder or Move to folder. If you're using Vista or Windows 7, tap and release the ALT key to bring up that menu, then select Edit> Copy to folder or Edit>Move to folder.

Of course, it would make a lot more sense to put these features in the file context menu, so you can access them by right-clicking the file(s). You can do this with a couple of simple Registry tweaks. Or better yet, you can have the tweaks done automatically:

Download and open You'll find two .reg files inside. Run copyto.reg, and confirm (multiple times) that you want the changes made. Repeat with moveto.reg.

After that, when you right-click a file or folder, you'll find the Copy To Folder and Move To Folder options.

My thanks to for offering these files, and Flashorn for pointing me to them in the original forum discussion.

Added a few hours after the article went live: And my thanks to Karl Mueller for pointing out a typo that I have since corrected.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum. Follow Lincoln on Twitter, or subscribe to the Answer Line newsletter, e-mailed weekly.

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