Visual Clues when Copying or Moving Files in Vista

By Lowell Heddings on January 9th, 2007

I can never remember which key to hold down to copy or move a file when I drag a file from one location to another. Vista comes to the rescue with visual clues when you drag a file.

For example, when you drag a file to the desktop normally, you’ll see this (note that the mouse pointer was hidden by the screenshot utility)

Here’s the recap of the drag and drop commands:

Drag file = Move File

Ctrl + drag file = Copy File

Alt + drag file = Create Shortcut to File

Note that dragging a file only moves the file if the destination is on the same drive. If you drag a file to a second drive it will be copied instead.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/9/07
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