[Update: Somehow this post has been linked on Macsurfer.com, hence the unusually large number of comments. I know I've offended some Mac lovers and I expected the Mac OS to be more intuitive than Windows in most things.
Long-time Mac users are surprised that I would have expected anything more than a replacement of files from one folder to another. After using Windows for most of my life, and using FTP programs which also add on but do not delete files, I thought it was a natural process.
Anyway, I publicised this so that other Windows users who have switched to Mac will not make the same mistake as I did.
One thing I have experimented with, is locking files and folders and enabling read-only access. When I simulate a folder replacement I am then prompted for my password. We should do this to all our important files.
Thanks to other Mac users who have sent me lots of tips on file recovery programs. I'm currently searching for my documents... ]
Windows is better at one thing than Mac - file preservation.
I lost my bank statements (PDF) on my new Mac, because the folder holding these files was overwritten by another (emptier) folder of the same name, which I was transferring from my iPod.
I was prompted that there were two identical folders, and should I 'keep' or 'stop' the action. However, since Windows has usually been smart enough NOT to erase my files during a transfer, I assumed Apple's operating system would be smart enough to do likewise. I expected it to keep existing files and add on the new files. So I proceeded with the folder replacement.
Then I realised I could have tried an 'undo' but it was too late - I had already performed too many additional actions in my Finder for its amazingly short 1-step memory to undo my mistake.
Now it's going to be so expensive - $15 per document lost for the last year. It may not be worth it. I'm also miffed that the bank cannot send me soft copies of the files I lost. It's quite demoralising.
But just in case any of you have an idea how to restore my lost PDF files, I'm leaving my Mac on for a day. The files did not appear in my Recycle Bin, so I'm feeling pretty helpless now.
Apple - your file transfers suck.
Update: I found a post that confirms my suspicions: "This behavior has never been a native thing in any Mac OS. I guess we longtime (or exclusive) Mac users just take this for granted. So if you're a switcher, this is one thing that you will have to get used to being different and find a 3rd party application to do what you want."
A third party application just to make sure the files in one folder, don't get deleted during a transfer?! Windows users who are switching to Mac OS X - beware!