Windows: How do I delete a folder, without deleting the contents?

Let’s say I have “My Documents” Inside that folder I have an additional folder called “Additional Documents.” I want the contents in the subfolder to simply reside in “My Documents” without an additional level. How do I do that? In the past, I would just copy the contents, then delete the folder (or ‘cut’ as opposed to copy), but is there a way to just delete the folder and have the contents just “rise up?”

You select the files, move them up a level, and delete the folder. I’d be surprised if there was a one step solution that wasn’t just created by someone with a special need for that operation.

You can create a registry key that provides an option in the context menu. When you right click on the folder the option would show in the list. the registry key will point to a batch file. Do some research on batch file scripts and the context menu in Windows.

I don’t think there can be a single step version of the process, because two distinct things are happening in the file system ; a change to the hierarchy and a deletion.

The files themselves probably never move (in terms of their physical position on the platters), but two different things are happening to the allocation table/catalog/whatever

Ok, thanks. So it’s not any option that I’ve simply overlooked. I don’t feel quite so dumb, now. :smiley:

When you drag & drop a folder or file to a new location (but still on the same drive) the default action is ‘Move’. If they are on two different drives the default action is 'Copy". If they’re on the same drive and you want to do a copy instead of a move hold down the **CTRL **key while dragging & dropping. If on different drives and you want to do a move instead hold down **SHIFT **while doing it.

You could also conquer a small country, enslave it’s population to build a space program, use it to scour the universe for friendly aliens, and then ask the aliens to move it for you, but both of these options seem like overkill.

It would only seem that much overkill to a complete dolt.

yours has better spinoff benefits.

Or Right Click Drag for the context menu.

With keyboard:
[li]Open inside folder[/li][li]Ctrl+A[/li][li]Ctrl+X[/li][li]Backspace[/li][li]Ctrl+V[/li][li]Select now empty folder, hit Delete[/li][/ol]

LOL I can remember in the DOS days that you couldn’t delete a folder unless it was empty first. Basically it took two steps. 1. delete or move the files 2 remove the folder

I’m pretty sure Windows lets you delete a folder and the files all in one step. With a “are you sure” confirmation.

I still do it the old way as a safety. I look at the files, select them, and delete if they aren’t needed. Then remove the folder.

Back in the days when Real Men used Real Computers and did everything with command lines on text-based terminals instead of new-fangled GUIs, it would have been more obvious what’s really happening behind the scenes. :wink: Which is that the process of moving files from one directory to another on the same logical drive (including popping files up one directory level as per the OP’s request) is actually a “rename” function. No files are actually moved, all that happens is that file pointers get changed, so that files automagically appear in the desired new folder. The same way that a rename can change a file’s name, a rename can also change its pointers and hence its parent directory.

This becomes a bit more obfuscated when using a GUI, but Windows is smart enough to know that a cut-and-paste from one folder to another in the same partition is actually just a rename, which is why it’s virtually instantaneous no matter how big the file(s). So the way to pop files up into the higher-level directory is a cut-and-paste, either explicitly or via drag-and-drop if you prefer, and then delete the empty directory. I always do an explicit cut-and-paste just out of habit.

As people are saying, move the files from the sub-folder to the parent folder, then delete the sub-folder.

You can do this en masse but selecting ALL the files in the sub-folder and moving the whole lot of them at once. One easy way to select ALL files is with Control-A.

This is also why these things used to be called “directories”, instead of “folders”: A directory doesn’t actually contain any files; it just contains a list of filenames and their addresses, plus maybe a little more information about them. Saying that a folder contains files is sort of like saying that you live inside the phone book.

Yes, AFAIK the term “folder” was a Microsoft invention. Apparently Microsoft thought the word “directory” had too many syllables for their typical user. :stuck_out_tongue: And now that they routinely use several instances of directory aliases, where “folders” with different names are all actually the same directory, they’ve managed to confuse the hell of just about everybody!

Uh, I think it was Apple that first came up with folders instead of the term directory. MS-DOS still used the dir command for years as I remember. Of course it is just terminology, all the popular operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, etc) use a directory structure. Not sure about iOS though. That one is just strange…
And I know the very first Mac OS didn’t use a directory structure even though it had folders-the 128K floppy disks didn’t hold enough to make it worthwhile. That was soon fixed in one of the early OS upgrades. I believe MS-DOS went through similar stages, but am not sure.

Actually if you want to be pedantic, the term “folder” was probably first used by the Xerox Star. MS-DOS undoubtedly used “DIR” because virtually all its precursor OS’s did – CP/M, minicomputer OS’s of the day*, and the most popular timesharing systems – and I’m pretty sure that this was also consistent with MS-DOS actually referring to the structures as directories back then. Microsoft was arguably the first to push the term “folder” into true mainstream use, but that came later; due to incipient dementia I’m not sure if that first came about in Windows 3.x or Windows 95, but I suppose it might have been earlier.

*Like all the popular PDP series from DEC; the glaring exception to this of course being UNIX where none of the commands made any mnemonic sense whatsoever. :wink: But even there, directories were called directories.

According to Wiki, the term folder originated with Xerox:

Reference four is a youtubevideo showing the old Xerox Star interface, from 1981/1982.

Apple’s Lisa came in around that same time period, but I couldn’t find a good reference to discuss the file system nomenclature.
ETA: shakes fist at wolfpup also, Unix commands make perfect sense. Some of them are terrible puns, but they make sense…

Starting with MS-DOS 6/Win 9x you could use thedeltree command which would delete a directory (folder) and its files at the same time (after a Y/N confirmation). Windows NT (Win 2000, XP and newer) had the **rd **command (for remove directory).

Yeah, but he was answering a question that had not been asked.