File Copying Gone Crazy

File Copying Gone CrazyIn today's world of computerizing everything, we all find ourselves with lots of files on our computers. Everything from instruction manuals, to music, to financial software is ending up on our hard drives. Inevitably we find out that some of those files ended up in a location we really don't want them. Maybe a hard drive is full and you need to move files to a new larger hard drive. Maybe you need to move old items to an external drive for archiving. Moving files from one location to another is fairly easy in small amounts, but the larger the number of files involved, the longer the process takes, and the trickier it gets.

Naturally, the more files you need to copy, and the larger the total size, the longer it will take to copy them. Sometimes a file might be in use and can't be copied, halting a copy job in the middle, leaving you lost as to what's been copied and what hasn't. Also, the more files you have, the longer it takes to copy them; what if you need to edit one while you are copying them? Microsoft's built in file copying utility doesn't address these issues, and they long ago recognized they needed a utitlity with a little more umph to it. After a couple of rounds of trial and error, one of Microsoft's techs came up with "Rich Copy".

Rich Copy is available as a free download from this link to Microsoft's website. For some reason it is labeled "HoffmanUtilitySpotlight", so you will see the program referred to as this cryptic name once in a while. After you download and install it, you're ready to start copying massive amounts of files.

Below the menu's, you will see three entry boxes. You can graphically browse to the location you want to files from and to, in order to fill in the first two boxes. These selections will include all files and folders below the selected location. The third box, Options", can be filled in by clicking on the button on the far right-side. Before getting overwhelmed by the many checkboxes, the default options work in 90% of situations, so you can leave almost everything as it is in most situations. The major factor in speeding up the copies and taking full advantage of the program is to adjust the "Thread number".

"Threads" in computers refers to the number of actions a program can handle at the same time, in this case it means the number of files that can be copied. For reference, a standard file copy is single threaded and copies one file at a time. RichCopy is multi-threaded and can be configured to handle 3, 5, 10 or even more file copies at a time. The only limit will be how fast your computer process information. The three thread options detail how many different folders/directories to scan for files to copy, how many directories to copy from at the same time, and how many files to copy at the same time. Even more significant, if you have separate folders, you can open Rich Copy a second (third, fourth, …) time to copy those files and folders at the same time. Keep in mind that the more files you ask your computer to copy, the more work you are asking your computer to do.

As an added bonus, this software can remember what files it has copied from one location to another. If you go back and ask it to repeat a file copy, it is configured to scan for what files are already in the destination location and only copy those that don't exist or haven't changed. This is great if you get interrupted in the middle of a copy, or want to update an archive every few weeks.

In terms of power, the only limit to this software is the speed of the computer you are running. Once you are familiar with the basics, you can start working with some of the methods RichCopy uses for comparing files that have changed, and how it handles the results of those scans while it is copying. If you are going to be repeating a folder copy several times, you can even write scripts that will allow you to run a folder copy without having to reconfigure RichCopy each time.

If you have any questions about where and how to use this utility, you can always contacts through InfoStream's website.



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