Have you ever selected a bunch of files, started dragging them, and then only to accidentally drop them on the desktop, making a load of duplicates cluttering your desktop which you have to clean up later? No? Just me?
Luckily for me (and me only), Windows Vista bring a some minor but powerful enhancement to the drag and drop interface. Vista actually provides visual feedback about what actions will be applied to the files you have selected. It might sound simple if not stupid at first, but sometimes you really don’t know what’s going to happen and its good to have some reassurance you’re not making 500 duplicates of the same files.
If you’ve ever used Windows Vista, then you might have seen these little icons on the side of your cursor when you move your sensitive documents around the hard-drive. There are 8 different types in total, collect them all to unlock hidden Ultimate Extras! Find the secret 9th type to win a trip to space!
This feature as described in the patent “Rich drag drop user interface“, attempts to solve this simple problem, “when performing a drag/drop operation, it is not always clear to the user what action is going to be taken upon completion of the drag/drop operation. It can be even more confusing when multiple files for dragging/dropping have been selected together.”
So the inventors have created a table of all the possible actions you might want to do with files and folders depending on where you drag them to, and provide appropriate visual feedback on the actions performed if the files are to be dropped.
Like me, if you don’t want to refer to this table every time you want to drag and drop some files, just remember to look for those little icons next to your cursor before you release your folders of Tux Penguinography on an unsuspecting icon.