Asked whether or not to replace files when copying to an empty destination?

This has happened to me so many times and in each one of them I had no idea why on earth this would happen.

When I copy / move / extract files to an empty folder, the process pauses on some file, claiming it already exists and asks me if I want to replace it or not.

It happens to me on Windows, in various versions.

My only explanations to this would be:

1 – A failure that left a partial file.

2 – Inefficient copying process that tries to copy some files twice.

Why would that happen?

Extra information:

  • No hidden files nor system hidden files exist in the destination folder, I said it was empty.
  • The names of the files I’m prompted to replace aren’t always the same.
  • It’s probably not a virus, it happened to me on multiple computers, in different locations and time frames, sometimes right after reformatting Windows I just got curious why this would happen.
    Also, sometimes it happens when extracting files from RAR/ZIP archives.

Answer

One plausible cause: Transferring files from a system where capitalization of filenames makes them distinct (separate).

Example:

~/Projects/z$ pwd
/home/hannu/Projects/z

~/Projects/z$ uname -srp
Linux 3.16.0-46-generic x86_64

~/Projects/z$ mount | grep home
/dev/sdb1 on /home type ext4 (rw,noatime,nodiratime,errors=remount-ro)

~/Projects/z$ dir

~/Projects/z$ echo 1 >File && echo 2 >file && dir
file  File

~/Projects/z$ for f in * ;do echo -e "n--- $f ---" ; cat $f ;done

--- file ---
2

--- File ---
1

~/Projects/z$

Second plausible cause:
Copying files from a filsystem (e.g. NTFS) which retains long filenames, to a filesystem that has more restricted length on filenames (e.g. FAT12 and others of similar age).