In Lion, whenever I drag and drop a file to or from an external drive to the local drive it always moves the file. If I'm not mistaken the default behavior is to copy the file right? Does anyone know why it might be doing this or know of a preference anywhere that I can set it to explicitly copy the files?

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    AFAIK, the default behavior hasn't changed. There's something unique to your environment if dragging a file to or from an external volume moves it. Any chance your Option key is stuck down? – jaberg Jan 29 '12 at 18:27
  • hmm.. The option key works fine. This is a new MBA i bought about two months back and I could recall that this worked properly when I first got it. – Jay Dropout Jan 30 '12 at 3:45
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    Not that I think it was the issue here, but the command key would force a move rather than a copy, not the option key. – Ken Aug 10 '12 at 21:06

To copy files instead of move them, you can use menu items in the Edit menu, or their associated keyboard shortcuts. I am running Lion, and I have an external usb drive. If I select a file on this external drive and open the Finder's "Edit" menu, there's a "Copy" menu item with the shortcut Cmd-C.

Choosing that menu item, then selecting a folder on my internal hard drive, gives a menu item of "Paste" (again in the "Edit" menu) with the shortcut Cmd-V.

Also, dragging and dropping with the option key held down will copy a file rather than move it.

  • Thanks, but another issue is that MY default behaviour is to drag and drop files :D But I will keep this in mind! – Jay Dropout Jan 30 '12 at 3:44

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