A quick remedy to speed up / resume your file copy process in Windows

The default file copy method in Windows (any given version) is severely handicapped. First and foremost – it’s SLOW. The probably the worst part of it is that there’s no way to resume on error. Supposing your file copy operation throws up an error (say, due to some problems while reading the source) – you don’t have any method at your disposal to get rid of the problematic files/folders and resume with the rest. On most occasions the error will cause the entire source file list to be deselected and you’ve to start right from scratch !!

This gets particularly nasty when you’re copying a particularly complex selection of files and folders. Upon aborting it’s invariably that same Ctrl / Shift + Click routine all over again. This is where two nice little freeware utilities can help you go a long way. Both the tools create hooks onto the default copy operation of Windows and automatically takes charge whenever you’re copying or moving files.

The first one is TeraCopy – a freely downloadable tool from Code Sector. I came to know about this tool while discussing about CubicExplorer. Now that I’ve brought it up, CubicExplorer is this awesome , feature-rich tabbed file explorer that I’ve been using for a long while now. It can do about a hundred different things that you’ve always wished in the default Windows Explorer but never got. This brings to light a very important question – has MS entirely stopped on furthering the development of their file explorer?? Through all these versions of Windows I never saw a single change except for the eye-candy! Anyway, more on CubicExplorer later – as it deserves it’s own post. Back to the topic.

TeraCopy Compact View
TeraCopy – Compact View

TeraCopy Expanded View
TeraCopy – Expanded View

Here’s what TeraCopy can do for you…

  • Copy files faster. TeraCopy uses dynamically adjusted buffers to reduce seek times. Asynchronous copy speeds up file transfer between two physical hard drives.
  • Pause and resume file transfers. Pause copy process at any time to free up system resources and continue with a single click.
  • Error recovery. In case of copy error, TeraCopy will try several times and in the worse case just skips the file, not terminating the entire transfer.
  • Interactive file list. TeraCopy shows failed file transfers and lets you fix the problem and recopy only problem files.
  • Shell integration. TeraCopy can completely replace Explorer copy and move functions, allowing you work with files as usual.
  • Full Unicode support.

None of the features, I believe, require any further explanation. Code Sector has a Pro version of the same too – available for a nominal licensing fee – but with a horde of extra features.

Point to be noted here. While TeraCopy does significantly boost the file copy speeds – this is applicable only to the larger files and folders. There’s this added overhead of firing up TeraCopy’s engine (everytime you copy/move a file), which actually degrades performance for smaller files and folders. At least that’s how it behaved on my system.

Now comes the other contender – Copy Handler, the free and open source sibling of TeraCopy. I came across this much later although it came as a very pleasant surprise. It can do everything that TeraCopy does, PLUS MORE. It’s simply packed to the core with tonnes of features and tweaks.

Copy Handler - Small View
Copy Handler – Small View

Copy Handler - Full View
Copy Handler – Full View

And here’s a list of the main features…

  • Copying data at rates up to 6-7 times faster than standard MS Windows copying (when copying data from one partition to another on the same physical hard disk).
  • Allows full-control over the copying/moving process by pause, resume, restart and cancel features.
  • Fully customizable – over 60 detailed options – from setting language (multiple languages) through auto-resume on error, shutting down system after copying finished to very detailed and technical (customizing copy/move thread – buffer sizes, thread priority, …) ending on sounds on specific events.
  • Multi-lingual support – with more new languages appearing everyday, since the translation process is quite easy.
  • Provides detailed information about copy/move process (current file, buffer sizes, priority, progress by size and visual bar, status, current and average speed, time elapsed/left etc.)
  • Can automatically resume all unfinished operations when system restarts.
  • Limits the number of simultaneously processing tasks (copies/moves) thus reducing system overhead. Instead, tasks are set into a queue and are processed in order it was inserted into queue.
  • Integration with system – adds additional commands to context menus of folders and drag & drop menus.

Phew! That’s quite a list of features. I wonder what the creator(s) haven’t thought of including yet! I used these tools for a week each and my conclusion is that Copy Handler does perform a lot better than TeraCopy – both for small and large files. And with all the tweaks you can make it turbo-charged – which isn’t really possible with TeraCopy.

Why don’t you give both TeraCopy and Copy Handler a try – and share your views with us?

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