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Problem: Many of my friends are moving to OS X and are frustrated that, unlike Windows and *NIX systems, copying/moving a folder (with sub-folders) deletes the destination folder if a folder of the same name already exists at the destination.

Question: Is there a way to hack the system (or install a plugin?) so that it by default copy/move operations merge the source and destinations instead of outright wiping out the destination and everything inside (with no option for recovery)?

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possible duplicate of Why does copy replace stuff instead of merging it? – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 8 '10 at 15:58
Exact duplicate of that question :-) – Josh Dec 8 '10 at 19:45
There is no "system hack", you'll need to install third party software or use unix tools. – Josh Dec 9 '10 at 19:38
@glenneroo: regardless, if there is, it would show up as an answer to the other, duplicate of this question :) – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 10 '10 at 15:10
@glenneroo: There's nothing built in to the OS that supports this. Sure, I could be wrong, but I am 99.99% sure that you'll need third party software for this. A good portion of "system hacks" are actually properties which can be enabled with the default command, and there's nothing under there that does what you want. :-( – Josh Dec 10 '10 at 17:03

EDIT: Based on your clarification, you're looking to merge two directories. See this question for more information. There's no built-in way to do that using the OS X Finder.

As an alternative, you could try using standard unix tools like rsync, which are available via the command line. But this is not a very "Mac like" solution.

I'm not sure what you're asking, because when you copy a folder from one place to the other, nothing is deleted at all. I assume you're talking about copying a folder from one location to another where a folder of the same name already exists at the destination? If so, The Mac OS X Finder will show you a warning, it won't delete anything without your permission.


If that's not what you're asking, please edit your question to clarify, and comment on this answer asking me to update my answer. Thanks!

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I added clarification :) Yes it warns you, but merging is what i'm after here. In Windows you also get a warning (and a warning for every file/sub-folder) before you over-write something. OSX outright deletes EVERYTHING at the destination. – glenneroo Dec 8 '10 at 15:47

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