Renaming a local file--even in the Files Panel--will not automatically update/change the file's name on the remote server. The server will regard the file as a new file. But because it will take with it all the appropriate links when you upload it, once you have uploaded the renamed file you can delete the old-named file from the server.
I use a similar technique or aspect of this feature when I create TEST versions of pages. So that they won't be accessed by web users, but still be reviewable by client, I am apt to create a clone of the index, for instance, that I call indexTEST.html. Then when the file is approved, I can rename it locally, upload it under its proper name...index.html...and delete the indexTEST.html from the server. I typically do not leave them "up" longer than a day or so in their TEST states.
I also use the "Synchronize Files" feature all the time...to help identify which files differ on my local site from my remote site. There is an aspect that I don't use in Synchronize, which is "Delete remote files not on local drive". That check-box appears on the Synchronize Files dialog box. But it seems as if it will do the function I mentioned on the first paragraph above, and...in a sense...meet the needs you speak of.
Thanks for the tips.
However, deleting the files with the old name from the remote server and re-uploading the same file just because it has a new name, is not the most handy thing to do when you deal with very large files, such as videos, that take forever to upload.
I'm going to blame the victim here.
You're on too slow a connection for professional web work if videos take that long to upload.
But there is another way.
All Unix commands are usable remotely. It's pretty much why the Internet was developed, so that people could operate very, very expensive room-filling computers remotely. File renaming has been around for a long time.
In your situation, I'd go oldSkool. make sure you have copies of all of your files on your local computer. I keep my graphics and videos in subfolders in my /sites folder but I keep working copies of just about everything in another folder with an alias on my desktop. (an alias is Macintosh for "shortcut" in Windows). That is where all of the .PSD files from Photoshop, all of the logos from Adobe Illustrator, the videos that are not sized appropriately for streaming and such go. So I essentially have two copies of everything, one copy higher resolution than anything I would put on the Internet.
In Dreamweaver, rename the file locally. Dreamweaver will ask you if you want to update all links to it. Tell it "yes."
In Dreamweaver, flip to your Remote View.
Right-click on the filename and type in the new one.
You'll rename the file remotely.
Upload all pages with links to the renamed file, but don't let Dreamweaver "put dependant files."
Check your work.
Renaming files on the FTP is exactly what I'm doing now. However I wish it could be automatic, renaming files locally would trigger the same renaming remotely. I guess that's not possible with the current version of Dreamweaver. Perhaps there is a "feature request" board or form?
why not delete all your server-files. After that you are free to send all your website-files to your server, as you did it the first time?
And if you do as mhollis said: "I keep my graphics and videos in subfolders" you can do that without a great effort.