Moving Pictures

Dear Computer Lady,

I have a question about photos. I save my digital photos on my computer in folders.

When I transfer them to another place, for example WalMart to order photos they copy themselves into the folder. If I move the pictures one at a time they don’t do that. But if I use ctrl to move more than one picture they recopy themselves. Sometimes I end up with 10 copies of every picture in the folder.

Help!!!! Pam

Dear Pam,

Thank you for your question! I have received variations of this question from time to time, but not been able to figure out what was going on. Thankfully, you have given me enough information to figure it out.

The key part of your question for me is the fact that you are using the ctrl key when moving multiple files, and when you only move them one at a time (thus not using the ctrl key) you don’t have the problem. Here is what I think is happening to you and many others.

When you use the Ctrl key to select more than one file, you need to release the Ctrl key before you drag them to your new destination.

Why is this important? Because even if you are moving only one file, holding down the Ctrl key while dragging the file causes you to make a copy of the file instead of moving it. Go ahead and give it a try with just one file and you will see what I mean.

In the future, when you want to move several files at once, follow these steps.

1. Click once on the first file you want to move.
2. Hold down the Ctrl key and click on the additional files you want to move.
3. Release the Ctrl key and drag the selected files to their new location.


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    • MardiK
    • December 30, 2011


    Actually, when it comes to the “Moving Pictures” question from Pam, I think you misunderstood the question. When selecting multiple pictures or files using the “pick and choose” method by holding down the Ctrl key, all is well unless you slightly move the cursor on the highlighted item. When you have selected an item or items and you move the cursor, it tells Windows that you want a copy and it instantly makes copies of all that you have highlighted up to that point. Irritating. To avoid having this happen, hold down the Ctrl key and just do your “picking” a little more slowly so that your cursor doesn’t move the highlighted item. Fast clicking seems to always result in the movement that produces the unwanted copies. In the event that you DO happen to create unwanted copies, all is not lost. Just continue to hold down the Ctrl key and touch the letter Z. Windows will ask you if you are sure you want to delete these copies. You click yes and continue to “pick” more pictures until you have selected all the ones you want. Then release the Ctrl key and cut, copy, attach, or upload your highlighted selections.

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