Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

TeraCopy beefs up Windows file copy operations

TeraCopy is an inexpensive solution for those looking for more functionality from the file copy interface with Windows Explorer.

Serdar Yegulalp

The default file copying and file moving interface in Microsoft Windows Explorer, even in Windows Vista, is quite limited. It doesn't give you much more than a single progress bar and some (typically inaccurate) estimates about the time needed for the whole operation. Fortunately, if you are looking for a bit more functionality and information for and about file copy and move operations, there is a useful shell add-on called TeraCopy that is worth checking out.

When installed, you can set TeraCopy to optionally take over as the default handler for file copy and move operations. For example, if you right click on a file and drag it somewhere, you'll receive "TeraCopy here" and "TeraMove here" as available actions. Note that the original copy and move actions handled by Explorer itself are still available in the file context menus, so if you ever need to fall back to those you won't have to change any program settings.

Attention sys admins! Looking for more tool ideas?

Check out our systems management tools and utilities topical resource center

After you start a copy or move operation through TeraCopy, you'll see a list of all the files being processed by the program in a pop-up window, along with per-file and total-operation progress bars. If a given file can't be copied, it won't hang up the whole operation; you can retry it or skip it as need be. Failed files can also be retried after the rest of the files have already been copied over.

One of TeraCopy's biggest claims to fame is its use of dynamically-adjusted memory buffers to speed up copying operations. The size of the buffer can be set manually by the user anywhere from 64K to 20 MB. The default appears to vary depending on how much memory is installed on the system, but this can be changed during a copy operation. Larger buffers cause the GUI to respond slightly less often (although not to the point that the program ever becomes unusable).

The gains in performance you'll get from TeraCopy may vary between machines and editions of Windows. For instance, I tested TeraCopy on a Windows Vista machine that had been patched with some recently released fixes to repair a number of widely reported file copying issues. I found that while TeraCopy performed only marginally better on that machine, the TeraCopy dialog still listed much more detailed information about the file copying process than the one in Vista.

The basic version of TeraCopy is free for personal use. The professional version -- listed at $19.95 per license -- can automatically perform checksum testing on the copied files to ensure they have copied correctly. It also has more flexible file selection options and allows for better interactivity with the copying queue.


Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of experience working with Windows, and contributes regularly to and other TechTarget sites.


Dig Deeper on Windows legacy operating systems

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.