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How to merge two folders on Windows 10

Copying and moving files on Windows 10 has changed. The change is subtle but exceptionally useful. You’ll notice it when you’re copying a file or folders with the same name to a new destination.

When you move a file to a location that has another file with the same name and extension already present, Windows 10 will ask if you want to replace the file in the destination or keep it. If you choose to keep it, the file will not be moved. 

Trying to do the same for a folder will yield different results if the contents of the folder are different but the names aren’t.

Merge folders on Windows 10

Windows 10 can automatically merge the contents of two folders that have the same name when you copy the folder from one location to another.

  1. Locate the two folders you want to merge. If they do not have the same name, rename them so that the names are identical.
  2. Select one of the two folders, and tap Ctrl+C.
  3. Navigate to the second folder’s location.
  4. Tap the Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut.
  5. The two folders will be merged automatically. The destination folder will have files from both.
  6. If you see a prompt telling you the destination folder has files with the same name you can replace them, or skip over them. In either case, the first folder’s contents will be merged with the second.

Replace folder on Windows 10

Windows used to replace the folder when it was copied to a destination that already had a folder of the same name. It now merges folders by default. To replace a folder, follow these steps.

  1. Locate the folder you want to replace.
  2. Select it, and tap the Delete key on the keyboard to delete the folder.
  3. Once the folder has been deleted, you can copy and paste the folder to its new destination.

The replace function has been removed so the only way to replace a folder is to delete the conflict, or rename it to something else.

Conclusion

It is annoying that the replace feature has been removed but the new merge method for moving folders comes with a slight advantage; you won’t accidentally overwrite or delete files. When files or folders are replaced, recovering them is almost impossible. Merging may result in a larger folder but you won’t lose your files unless you manually delete a folder. Even in that case, you can normally recover it from the recycle bin.

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