How to simulate “No to all” when copying in Windows XP

April 14, 2008 – 5:41 PM

Ever had to copy a bunch of files from one location on your local hard drive to another place with a lot of files with the same name? Well there are really only two options that you have when there are files with the same name: either replace the destination files or leave the destination files as they are and only copy the new files.

By default, when you are copying files and there is a name conflict, Windows gives you the option to replace all of the destination files with the “Yes to All” button in the Confirm File Replace dialog box.

No to All

That’s a nice feature because clicking Yes to All will not bring up the Confirm File Replace dialog box again for any other name conflicts. However, you may have noticed that there is no “No to All” button listed! Maybe I want to only copy the new files and not overwrite the current files in the destination location.

As of right now, I would have to sit there and press No each time there was a file name conflict. This would be a royal pain if I had hundreds or thousands of files to replace. So can anything be done?

Luckily, there is still a stealthy way to tell Windows not to overwrite all the files with name conflicts and thereby skip them over. You can create this “No to All” functionality by simply pressing and holding the SHIFT key when you click the No button in the Confirm File Replace dialog box.

That’s it! Now you will only be asked once to not overwrite the destination files instead of each time. I believe that this issue is not a problem in Windows Vista since it gives you more advanced options when copying files, but it’s a great trick to know in Windows XP!

Source: Online Tech Tips

  1. 3 Responses to “How to simulate “No to all” when copying in Windows XP”

  2. This is an old question I guess, but I figured I would see if I get a reply.

    Holding SHIFT and click on NO worked fine in Win2kpro. But on this XP machine, it does not seem to work – it still prompts every time to replace a file.

    Any thoughts?

    By Seth on Apr 17, 2009

  3. Seth,

    I haven’t been on Windows XP for quite some time now so I thought maybe a patch or something came along and might have broke this functionality. I loaded one of my XP virtual machines and this does still work on a fully patched SP3 machine. I checked it with both a copy and a move. Worked every time.

    Blindly, I would say that your machine has some kind of odd-ball setting or program running that affects this. Are you running any kind of third party file managers or windows explorer type applications?

    By manunkind on Apr 18, 2009

  4. I tried to copy some photogrpahs from an iPhone to an external hard-drive on another pc on my network using this shortcut and it didn’t work (despite holding shift the options popup continued to appear for each file) I copied the files to the desktop on my local machine and tried the copy again and it worked fine.


    By Dave P on Nov 8, 2012

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