Copying large amounts of data painlessly

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Doing a simple back up of my files to an external hard drive, and knowing the problems that may ensue, lead me to find a solution for this. If you’re here, no doubt you’re aware of the disaster that copying large amounts of data over several hours can be. Having it halt, for whatever reason, wastes time, but also you better hope you don’t need to shut down or restart your computer, or else you’ll lose where you’re up to and have no way of knowing where to continue from and have to start all over again. Also if you know anything about computers, and Windows, you’ll know that from Windows 3.1 right through to the current Windows 7, attempting to start another copy operation while one is already going, causes it to try to do both at the same time, which sends the hard drive into a fragmentation mess, slowing it down when those files need to be accessed in the future and necessitating a “defrag” of your hard drive.

There are a lot of third party solutions, but Copy Handleris the best for Windows 7. Copying is as straight forward as usual – right-click drag your files to their location, and when you let go, choose “CH copy” instead of “Copy”. Every file you copy is added to a queue, and only one file is copied at a time, avoiding the fragmentation problem mentioned earlier.  You can pause and resume – even if your computer has been turned off in the meantime! You can clear the queue any time, and review a log file of each process to see any errors.

Some important tweaks to change in the options (right click in system tray icon, options);

  • In the first section “Program”, set “Run program with system” to Yes; this means run on startup.
  • In the “Shell” section, set “No” to any options at the bottom called “Intercept”, eg. “Intercept”, eg. “Intercept drag and drop operations”.  Reason being, you know that box that pops up and says “You need administrator privileges to perform this action” and you click “Continue”? Copy Handler doesn’t deal with these, and the box never appears and the copy never happens.  So you need to be allowed to do a normal “Windows” copy/move.  With these options disabled, whenever you want to do a Copy Handler operation, just drag the files with right-click, and choose one of the CH options that pops up.

Update: Finally, fucking finally, they are addressing this in Windows 8, and are looking at all these 3rd party copying programs such as Copy Handler as inspiration. FINALLY.


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