How can I select a group of files in Microsoft Windows XP?
I know how to move files around on my computer and copy them to/from a disk by dragging and dropping, but it's a pain that I always have to open two windows and line them up side by side to drag and drop from one location to another. Plus, sometimes I'd like to select a group of files to copy or move, but they aren't arranged in order so I can't select a group of them by dragging a dotted-line rectangle around them. What's an easier way to do all of this?
Most people are familiar with "cut", "copy" and "paste" actions from using them to manipulate text in a word processing program like Microsoft Word. You select a line of text, go to the "Edit" menu and pick "Copy" (or hit Ctrl-C), then put the cursor where you want to paste the text and pick "Edit -> Paste" (or hit Ctrl-V). What many users don't realize is that you can do the same thing to move or copy files, which is often easier than using drag-and-drop.
First, find a file that you want to move or copy, click on the file using the left mouse button to select the file, then right-click on it to bring up the right-click menu which includes "Cut" and "Copy":
(Instead of right-clicking to pick "Cut" or "Copy", you can also hit Ctrl-X or Ctrl-C, just as you can to cut or copy text in a word processor.)
If you pick "Cut", the file that you selected will turn a ghostly pale, indicating that after you "Paste" it somewhere else, it will disappear from its current location:
As you might expect, after you choose to "Cut" or "Copy" a file, you will be able to "Paste" the file into a different folder; if you chose "Cut", then the file will be moved out of its original location and into that new folder, but if you chose "Copy", then a copy of the file will be placed in the destination folder.
To finish the process of moving or copying a file, browse to the destination folder, then right-click in the empty space inside that folder and pick "Paste" (which wasn't on the right-click menu before, because you didn't have anything to "paste" yet):
To experienced users, this is often easier than opening the folder containing the file on the left side of the screen, opening the destination folder on the right side of the screen, and dragging the file from the left folder to the right folder, or something similar.
What if you want to move or copy a group of files? The first method that most people learn for selecting a group of files, is to hold the mouse button down and draw a rectangle around the files you want to select:
But what if you want to select a group of files that are not arranged consecutively -- for example, if you only want to copy the first, third, fourth, and sixth photo in a group? To do this, click to select the first photo that you want to include in your selection. Then hold down the Ctrl key, and click on the third, fourth, and sixth photo. Each time you click on a new file, the files that you've already selected, will stay selected:
You can then right-click on your group of selected file, and copy and paste them just as you would copy and paste a single selected file.
Bennett Haselton is a technology and political blogger who will talk your ear off about how to bypass Websense if you let him.
More Useful Windows PC Help Articles:
✔ What's the easiest way to speed up my Windows PC laptop?
My Dell Windows 7 laptop is starting to drive me crazy. It's so darn slow! I've had it a few years and I...✔ Can I force a Windows 7 OS system update?
Every so often Windows 7 pops up a window and tells me that there are updates. That's nice, but how can I force...✔ Fix Google Drive (Gdrive) no longer supported (out of date)?
I'm a big Google fan and have been using Google Drive for quite a while as a cloud storage device. It's a breeze,...✔ How do I open or unpack a RAR archive on my Windows PC?
I have some ".rar" files on my Windows 8 PC and am curious how to unpack them to see what's inside. From a...✔ How can I shrink my Windows 8 Desktop file icons?
I've figured out most things in the new Windows 8 interface, except I can't see how to easily reduce or shrink the file...
Let's stay in touch!
Sign up for my weekly AskDaveTaylor Newsletter and you'll receive even more tech and gadget help right to your inbox, along with exclusive news and industry updates. It's good stuff. I promise!
I do have a comment, now that you mention it!
Check This Out Too...
Look for Answers
All Our Categories
Apple iPad Help
Articles and Reviews
Auctions and Online Shopping
Blogs and Blogging
Building Web Site Traffic
Business and Management
Computer and Internet Basics
d) None of the Above
Google Gmail Help
Google Plus Help
Industry News and Trade Shows
iPhone and Cell Phone Help
iPod, Sony PSP and MP3 Player Help
Kindle Fire Help
Mac OS X Help
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Shell Script Programming
Tech Support Video Help
The Writing Business
Twitter, LinkedIn and Social Network Help
Unix and Linux Help
Video Game Tips and Help
Windows PC Help
Find Me on Google+
ADT on G+