The Faster Way To Copy Files

Last week saw the 30th anniversary of the launch of Windows.  I actually remember it well.  I was working for Epson at the time, in their UK-based R&D centre, on something called Taxi.  If things had worked out differently, Taxi would have been the GUI that conquered the world.  Instead, Windows rapidly overtook us and Epson's product was quickly consigned to history.
While Windows has undoubtedly come a long way in 3 decades, one aspect continues to disappoint.  Copy files from one drive to another, or even within the same disk drive, seems to get slower in every release of the operating system.  I've no idea what's going on under the hood, but surely it can't be that difficult for an OS to copy files quickly.  At least as quickly as the previous version did.  
Ironically, not only is Windows very poor at copying files quickly, it makes no effort to hide just how poor it is.  Windows 10, for example, gives you a constant graphical indication of the current speed, and while it starts off quickly it tends to go up and down in huge increments.  You can see in the screen shot that the speed during my experiments frequently dropped to a quarter of the initial measurement.
If you regularly need to copy files, and especially if those files are large, then there's a host of alternatives to the built-in Windows facility.  Probably the best-known is a program called Teracopy, which is currently at version 2.3 although 3.0 is currently available in an alpha test version.
I tested Teracopy 2.3 with a 4.5 GB file, multiple times, on my PC running Windows 10.  I restarted the PC after each try, in order to remove any fragments of the file that Windows might have cached in memory in order to save reading the disk each time.  On every occasion, Teracopy was around 30% faster than Windows.  Which is significant if, say, you have a large bunch of files that you need to copy.  Perhaps your folder of videos or photos.
Teracopy is free for non-commercial use and is the place to download it from.  It's a 2.5 MB download and the program is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust.  You can choose at install time whether to go for installed or portable mode.  If you opt for the portable version, as I did, you may have to go hunting in C:\Program Files\Teracopy for the application file in order to create a shortcut, but it's only a few seconds' work.

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I've also had problems with TeraCopy. I've not noticed that it's ever actually missed files, but whenever I've left it alone for several hours to complete a large copying job, it has invariably frozen mid-task.

I like the W8 copier and speed hasn't been an issue for me, but I would very much like to see a verify option. I use FastCopy when I want an alternative.

All visitors to this page (and the editor) should closely read shannf and ludoviclalo's comments re terracopy. It is a wonderful program for SIMPLE, SMALL copy jobs, unfortunately it errors on anything else. I say this as a user for many years.

Like ludoviclalo I found my backups weren't true and correct. As ludoviclalo says terracopy simply cannot handle copying anything with a full path longer than 255 characters (note the path is just not the immediate directory or sub directory it is the full location detail after drive letter:/ for eg E:/wombles/widgets/woebegone/ whatnext/etc etc etc). I did find it would detail those files it was unable to copy at the end of the job BUT there was no way to sort that file list of done/not done that you receive and when you were copying thousands of files it becomes a needle in a haystack to find all the errors. I also wholely agree with shannf, Terracopy cannot handle a huge job of many files and a large GB size. It will crash more often than not.

Reemphasise, I really like(d) terracopy but it is simply not a viable 100% every time copying program and should not be the number one pick.

I ended up using fastcopy and also a Microsoft free utility called robocopy. Note with the latter the Microsoft program involves using the command prompt. There are 3rd party addons that promise a GUI.

Unfortunately it is a while since I did my last major copy job so I can't be specific but I do remember both Fastcopy and robocopy were not as friendly to use as terracopy. Would suggest doublechecking any big job using either program to make sure they have copied "the lot".

There is a lot to be said for cloning LOL.

The problem with many online reviews and recommendations is that they are superficial and do not highlight important facets. I used Teracopy as my default many years ago after reading MANY glowing recommendations such as this--until one day I needed a file that I had copied and discovered that the file was missing. Further investigation revealed many of my files had not copied over. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of cost basis information and taught me to place my faith in paper and not a hard drive.

After doing additional research using the Internet, I finally discovered that Windows has a 255 character file path limit (this means that the name of a file with the entire directory path included cannot be more than these many alphanumeric characters) and that Teracopy did not copy my files that were longer than this. I received no error messages from Teracopy that files were not copied. After reading up on Teracopy some more, I then discovered that it can copy files longer than 255 characters, but that I needed to select that option since it was not a default option.

Needless to say, I dropped Teracopy like a sack and after doing a lot more research (namely reading more reviews and posting hypothetical searches about issues with copying files in general), I switched to Fastcopy. Fastcopy has 255+ enabled by default and has a file verification option. I have not used Teracopy in years, but it was unclear to me whether it verifies the files copies are the same as the original files. I spent a week testing Fastcopy and basically went file-by-file through each copied folder and file to ensure everything was copied. I then discovered hashes and also started doing hash comparisons between the original and copied data, and the Fastcopy copies hash always matched. I still test Fastcopy from time-to-time given my prior data loss, and it still works.

I do not know if Teracopy now enables 255+ by default or does hash comparisons of original-copied files, but when someone reviews an application, they should things like the 255 character limitation and not just concentrate on speed, but data integrity. What good is an application that copies fast, but not accurately?

This might be off topic, but can anybody recommend a non-hash file verification application? For example, if I copy 1 folder with 10 files and each of the files varies in size, is there an application that will compare the original and copy, and actually say 1 folder copied, 10 files copied, file 1 is 1G in size, file 2 is 1.75G in size, etc.? I have come across a couple of applications that purport to do this, but the folder/file sizes are never 1:1--so what's missing?

Thanks. Sorry for the long post. My data loss of years ago is still very raw.

If God visited earth briefly, and granted me one wish, it would be -
Everyone in the world would want to know which programs (Copying, Imaging, etc) are the most rugged / reliable
And they would not care too much about which is fastest.

Up until now my prayers have not been answered,

If you want reliability, I can only speak for what I use. Get Teracopy and after installing go to it's Preferences and check "Always test after copy." It will make the whole thing slower, but at least you will know your files on both locations are exactly the same.

I just checked and it was not ticked.
It is now ticked.

Thanks for the heads up,
PS Shirley everyone should have that ticked ?

Speed over anything else probably. Considering Windows copy lacks that by default (not sure about windows 10), I guess no copier thinks it is needed either XD They probably prefer to let the program be as speedy as possible, and let users use that as an extra option, rather than have users call the software slow, not caring that this happens because it makes sure the files are safely copied.


I too have been using TeraCopy for years, since I first found out about it on Hiren's Boot CD, which was used for the Mini Windows XP it had integrated. I have tried other copiers, with this being the best for me. Ultracopier is the second I used the most and even if it indeed copy large files faster or does large quantity of files a bit faster than TeraCopy, it crashed with me in the couple of months I used it more times that TeraCopy has crashed for all the years I have been using it. What's worse, which was the worst part about it for me, is that when it would initiate, it would take a while before start moving files. I am guessing it somehow prepares so the copy becomes faster, but if you do a lot of small moves, that delay can become annoying, or at least it became for me.

Considering I want a copier that totally replaces the Windows one and is not just good for whenever I move large quantity of GBs, I decided to remain with TeraCopy. Just to clarify, I do not use v3. v3 gave me a hard time by crashing a lot and not working right. v2 is the one I have been using and still use.

TeraCopy, exclusively, for me over the past four-or-so years. I like that it plays nicely with [commercial software edited out], replaces Windows native copy and can be set to verify copy-jobs when it succeeds or tell me precisely how and with what files it fails, if it does. Now, starting with version 3.0 Alpha, it even will retry problem files and, if finally unsuccessful, will skip the files, continue with the job and produce a nice summary, useful for further action within the interface. Its new super-minimalistic interface is not as attractive and functional as previous versions, IMO.

[Moderator's note: commercial software edited out. Reference to discount on commercial version edited out.]

Teracopy can be set as the default handler for move and/or copy operations in FreeCommander. I find this a very useful combination. I haven't tried Fastcopy but as it is FreeCommander that lets you specify an external handler of your choice, I see no reason why FC shouldn't work in the same way.

I've spent hours investigating free copy programmes that copy quickly and verify the copy. Both Teracopy and Fastcopy are fast and can be set to automatically verify. Teracopy has the advantage that it integrates into Windows and can be used as the default for all copy/move operations with verify on or off - BUT it hangs when hundreds of files are copied (Google "Teracopy stops"). Fastcopy is not as easy to use (read the detailed instructions), but it is very reliable and has never just stopped even with very large copy jobs - it can also be used with or without verify. I use Teracopy as my usual copy utility, and Fastcopy for large jobs.

I just moved my files from a 6 terabyte server to a 10 terabyte Synology Server. I used Roadkil's Unstoppable Copier which uses numerous threads to copy faster. It worked very well.

I admit up front I did on purpose(!) not read any instructions for Teracopy or Fastcopy.

Silly me thinks copying on Windows should be just as simple and intuitive as MS has us doing it. If these guys can do it faster then more power to them.

Well, it happens that I have a folder with about 1600 JPGs, MP4s and a few files in other document formats that I rescued from a Samsung S4 phone that produced errors trying to read it's own SD card.

Knowing very well that YMMV here are my impressions about these two programs:

Fastcopy's GUI is VERY minimalistic, does not allow resolving a shortcut and, in it's default settings DID NOT COPY, it moved the files! Plus I am not willing to re-learn a less than Win95-like UI. IMHO trash even if otherwise it works.

Teracopy's GUI is almost as minimalistic as Fastcopy's and, again, I refuse to step that far back into by now common "second nature" file handling customs.

Before the flaming begins please consider that at age 76 I reserve the right to be somewhat inflexible and stubborn and thus I write this as a potential warning to others.

You don't need to learn the GUI. When shell extension is enabled, you just need to do your usual Ctrl+C and Ctrl+X for Copy/Move and right click->Paste(FastCopy)

Utility type tools generally have a very basic GUI or interface. Teracopy can be integrated into your context menu and was no less intuitive than the MS default in my experience. Over 60 myself so I have no problem with those who are youthfully challenged being inflexible or stubborn. Ignoring instructions is probably a habit to avoid though....particularly if your taking meds.

I'm currently in the process of converting my video library with the Wonderfox software recently offered here (it works well btw) and an alternative to the slower Windows copying method would certainly help with this project. I will take a look at both Teracopy and Fastcopy.
P.S. Epson may not have become a major developer of operating systems but they did gain notoriety in the printer market.

Use Fastcopy, as well.

Just set up 2 new laptops and a new desktop, centralized all my files on a 2 bay network storage device, Fastcopy worked flawlessly, it was quick and never lost a single file.

I usually use Fastcopy which you can download from MajorGeeks