Best Free File Copy Utility

 
Introduction

Hard drives are becoming larger with each advance made in the hardware industry. With the increase in storage size available the amount of files the average user keeps on their computer has also greatly expanded.  But when you want to backup those files safely to either another partition or an external hard drive you need a copy utility that will not run into problems. I used my own music collection at 21.7GB and used several free copy utility programs to see which of them was the fastest, most reliable, and easy to use.

 
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Discussion

FastCopyFastCopy is my choice for the best file copy manager. When it comes to stability and speed, FastCopy gave me consistent results and beat every other manager in the running by several seconds. I also noted that during the transfer, even with the 64MB cache that it used, I was still not seeing a significant jump in resource usage. My RAM usage stayed consistently low throughout the entire transfer. The program is excellent which made it my top choice of the file managers I tested.

It also includes shell integration with the program and x64 capabilities. The program can also be run without being installed which is a very nice touch if you only need it for certain tasks. It also includes an installer for shell integration and for use as your default copier. It will not override your Windows file copier even when installed.

There are a lot of great things about this program but I cannot give this program a 10/10 for the following reasons. First, the uninstalling utility would probably be confusing for the average user since you have to enter the C:\Program Files\FastCopy folder in order to run setup again and choose to uninstall the program. With that said it did not show up in the "Uninstall Program" section of Windows 7 Control Panel which would be the optimal place for the program to be uninstalled. Secondly, shell integration must be configured via the "Options" menu and in order to choose what FastCopy options you would like added to the right-click menu since it does not automatically override your Windows copier. 

These to me are minor gripes as the shell extensions added manually are excellent and you can even choose to hide the transfer window in the system tray and hover your mouse over to see the transfer speeds. Also, built into the program is a file wiping utility that performs up to three passes over the file it is deleting for those wanting secure deletion of their files. A big thank you to the commenters for bringing this program, and its benchmarks, to my attention.

 

UltraCopierUltraCopier has some pretty exciting features including an excellent file resume option, which allows for resuming of a file transfer from a disconnected USB key. So, for those of you playing at home, if you're in the middle of a file transfer from a USB key and it somehow becomes disconnected, when you plug it in again all you have to do is to hit resume and it will pick up where you left off! A great innovation, especially if you have a finicky Windows install that randomly disconnects your drive.

It has also other useful options such as speed limitation and searching through the copy list. And as far as looks go, UltraCopier is a much more visually attractive copier replacement. It's open source, runs on multi-platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux.

All of the software I reviewed here is excellent and it is up to the user to try these out and decide which one they prefer. For now, I'll be using FastCopy for large transfers and UltraCopier for daily transfers side by side.

 

Unstoppable CopierThe next program that I tested was Unstoppable Copier. This one wins hands down in the reliability category. Not only does it transfer faster than the normal Windows copier, it is also able to recover partial files from damaged media or corrupt areas of a hard disk drive. This program is not a miracle worker but I gave it several scratched DVDs that were denied by my Windows copier and it was able to get me a complete backup of the files on the disk. I am very impressed by the software and its uses.

I do not believe it is the intention of the project to do so, but I think this could be an even better program if it was able to be used in place of the Windows copier. It is portable and installable but both versions must be launched in order to do file transfers. The output of the program is outstanding and gives you a very good idea of which files have copied successfully and which files will be re-attempted. With its unique ability to recover damaged files, this copying program is the most reliable of the programs I tested.

 

TeraCopyI recently used the 2.22 version of TeraCopy. I've seen a lot of complaints about stability with this program and so I decided to push it to the limits. Full on 21.7GB transfer of small files, pausing and resuming of said files, follow-up verification of the total transfer, and killing and re-starting of the same transfer. I will say that these features worked as intended on my setup which is Windows 7 x64 Home Premium.

While this program is a beta, the features I tested performed as they should on my setup. My results are as individual as they come because obviously I cannot account for every variation but the method I used involved TeraCopy as the only program running. Even when I wasn't 'harassing' it by pausing and resuming, my setup is RAID 0, I tried copying small files and one ridiculously large file several times. Each time it did exactly what I asked it to do. The file verification also reassured me that everything transferred correctly even if I did manually verify later.

I personally switch file copiers because I want something faster and more reliable than the Windows copier. In this respect as a Windows copier replacement TeraCopy still shines. I will have some people I know test this program and see if they run into any problems that perhaps I could not. But I still have to say that this is the most actively developed and impressively integrated file copier out right now.

The fact that they have a freeware version that works with Windows 8 x64 (seriously, look at their page) and smooth total integration still makes this one of the best file copiers I've used to date. Which is why it remains a contender for the top spot. If a new release ends up equalling FastCopy on speed, resource usage and stability, then you all will be seeing a new top spot recommendation from me.

 
Other File Copiers

Besides the recommended file copy utilities, I'd also mention SuperCopier and KillCopy since both are stable and reliable. Both are faster than the built-in Windows copier. They run from the system tray and are light on resources. KillCopy is quite a bit faster on transfers and has a plethora of options for the advanced user. It gets a hard time for its looks but it has many skins available on its webpage if you do decide to go that route. None that make it as attractive as UltraCopier, in my opinion, but it does help.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

UltraCopier
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Start and resume the copy process | Speed limitation | Search through the copy list | Cross-platforms.
1.0.1.13
5.9 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows, Mac, Linux
FastCopy
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Fastest of all utilities tested | Light on system resources | Auto-selects settings for copying | Works without installation
Must be uninstalled from original installer | Manual shell integration | Does not override Windows Copier
2.11
372 KB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 98 - Windows 7

To use this program as a portable version, run the executable "fastcopy.exe". No shell extension in this case.

Unstoppable Copier
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Good transfer speeds | Recovery of damaged files | Can rebuild files even if not completely copied from source
Lacks Windows integration | Not recommended for single file transfer
5.2
427 KB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 95-Windows 7, Linux

Non-English languages supported: Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish

TeraCopy
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Seamless Windows integration | Easy install and usage | Simple and elegant GUI and design
Transfer speeds | Resource usage
2.3
2.5 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000 - Windows 7

This program can be installed as a portable version.

 
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Tags

copy files, fast copy files, best free copy software, free file copy software.

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Comments

by Epsilon on 6. May 2013 - 12:42  (107492)

I'm confused about your info re creating a log file. Do you mean the data it displays on the screen while the copy is being performed? Is this info saved to a log file somewhere on your HDD and it stores info about every file you have ever copied?

I looked for a log file under the TeraCopy installation folder but could not find one.

A little later....

I found a file called Transfer.log in the Application Data\TeraCopy folder and while it shows operational data and target folder it doesn't list the files copied.

I imagine the "Transfer.log" file could be deleted and maybe a new empty folder by that name created or all the data inside the existing log file could be deleted if a user so chooses.

by francofil (not verified) on 18. June 2012 - 5:59  (95040)

I visited their website: As of May 289th, Ultracopier 0.3beta is out. I haven't tested it yet by myself. Has anybody else here gained already some experience ?

by fausty (not verified) on 15. May 2012 - 6:24  (93476)

A major selling point for FastCopy over TeraCopy is that TeraCopy doesn't understand Junctions and treats them as if they are regular directories, which means you end up getting tons of duplicate files. FastCopy has an option that allows you specify how to handle junctions.

FastCopy also understands hard links, whereas TeraCopy does not.

by Bill Baldwin (not verified) on 30. April 2012 - 2:44  (92789)

Amazingly, not a single one of those copiers lets me do what I want. Namely, I want to a) Not copy a file if it has a duplicate in the target directory, and b) Copy and rename a file if a file with that name but different size/date/time exists in the target directory. I don't want (in this case) to automatically overwrite older files. And I don't want to copy and rename a few hundred gigabytes of files just so I can comb through the copies and delete the dupes.

How hard would it be to give me menu options that say "If files are identical, then X" and "If files are different, then Y"? Right now, that simple, easily programmed feature is worth more to me than speed or recovery capabilities. Am I missing an obvious solution?

by Jim Carter (not verified) on 19. August 2012 - 3:51  (97943)

I had a similar complaint. It looks like Copy Handler has more options/filters than the rest.

by fausty (not verified) on 15. May 2012 - 5:48  (93473)

Look into robocopy and/or richcopy. They should both do what you're looking for.

by Robin (not verified) on 5. April 2012 - 20:04  (91688)

I'm a self-employed IT technician and my main use for a file copy utility is to recover whatever I can from a known faulty hard drive which has bad sectors but is still mechanically fuctional; a hard drive which fails to boot but can still be mounted and browsed on another system.

The utility I favour is Unstoppable Copier as it has the option to very quickly ignore corrupt or unreadable files and move on to the next one. This is a lifesaver and can be the difference between me sitting in a customer's home for half an hour or several hours. Until I found this utility I would always have to bring a hard drive back to base and let the data copy overnight, then make another site visit to deliver the data. With Unstoppable Copier I can do it all onsite.

Just so yer know. :)

by Alkaliv2 on 2. April 2012 - 15:05  (91574)

So I've been stocking up on HDD goodies in anticipation for the release of TeraCopy 2.3 stable edition. I've seen the comments and the file copy transactions I'm completing just are not big enough to see the issues that you all are having moving 200GB+ to another source. Well I'm going to try moving 200 something GB myself when it releases and update my review with my impressions of the revision. The features being added and items being fixed can be found at the link below.

http://blog.codesector.com/2012/01/30/teracopy-2-3-beta/

by Not enough sleep (not verified) on 1. April 2012 - 15:20  (91538)

I test a lot of free software, and often use your site for recommendations. My system is admittedly not a typical one, as I multi-boot 32 bit XP, 64 bit Windows 7, and several Linux distros. On all but the 2 Windows partitions I use Linux EXT3 file systems instead of NTFS, using different drivers under the
2 Windows installations to read and write to the ext file systems.

Recently I read about TeraCopy in some magazine, then came and read the review here and tried it but found that I get a lot errors where some of the files are not copied. It's frustrating because the interface is great, IMO.

My main want in a copy utility is that the original folder dates are transferred to the folder copy. The utility that I found would do this, and seemingly reliably was FastCopy under XP. Then I tried the 64 bit version under Windows 7 and WOW... what a mess that made. I have never seen another piece of software behave this way, but apparently whenever there was a problem in copying, FastCopy 64 bit would instead mess with the SYSTEM FILES in the Windows\System32 folder. First I thought it was copying them and that was bad enough, and then I found it was renamed them to jibberish in the same way the utility does when you use the delete function for files and it fails to delete them.

So a mess was made of my Windows 7 installation, and that is
a whole other story but I never could make it right again. It was that bad.

AFTER all this a found a posting from the program's author (on a portable apps site... there is no such warning at the page linked to in your review), warning that the 64 bit version might ruin the system it is installed on. So I thought I'd post and say that at this point I would not recommend anyone install the 64 bit version of FastCopy on a system you care about!. I'm not sure if I want to try the 32 bit version on the 64 bit Windows, so I guess my search is still on for a copy utility that saves folder dates and time, and has a decent interface.

by Alkaliv2 on 2. April 2012 - 14:42  (91572)

I can definitively say that this has never occurred on my system. As I stated in my reviews I am just one guy with a few computers, but both x64 and 32 bit versions of Windows 7, FastCopy installed properly and functioned as intended on all 3 of my systems. One is my main desktop that I have given specs for in the comments below (Windows x64), an older HP Netbook 2010 (Windows 7 32-bit), and my newest addition to the family, an HP Dv6 running Windows 7 x64. I run Arch linux dual boot on my newest laptop with JFS as my main filesystem but I have no drivers allowing Windows to interface with Linux, only Linux to Windows. I am unable to make your setup and test this mostly because there are far too many variables and also because I can't get the Ext3 library driver to function properly in my computer. I appreciate your comment warning those with this type of setup who may encounter this problem. It would also be good though to replicate it on a new install after fixing the files and get that information to the developer so he can patch it and prevent this type of issue in the future if he is still actively working on the project. It may end up helping a user who doesn't know what files were corrupted and why.

by George.J on 9. March 2012 - 2:27  (90106)

Why doesn't FastCopy warn about possible overwriting of a file when I copy from A to B

by Alkaliv2 on 2. April 2012 - 14:52  (91573)

It is because the default mode when started is based on the date and time the files were modified on the disk. To change this do the following.

When the main FastCopy window is open the option you want to choose is in a drop down menu on the right side of the box. The default option is

"Diff(Size/Date)"

which from the instructions on the main page means "Copy if size or date is different, or if it doesn't exist (in default)".

If you want to change this to not overwrite anything in the directory click the drop down menu and choose

"Diff(No Overwrite)"

Which from the website states "Copy if the same filename doesn't exist in destination."

Hope this helps!

by Peter35 (not verified) on 28. February 2012 - 19:44  (89659)

I just copied 108 GB with FastCopy - very good experience. It does not seem to have a problem with file/path names longer than 256 characters and it also retains the original time stamp of a file. When I double checked the number of files & folders in the source and target... it was identical!!! (116,552 files, 6,412 folders). It also gives you an Error Log... in my case there were 44 Copy Errors... but they all seemed to be some kind of hidden files which I didn't recognize or need.

As a comparison I restored my source from a Windows Back-up and there were files and folders missing... (115,752 files, 6,406 folders -> 800 files & 6 folders missing). Of course Windows Back-up does not tell you what has been cut out... all the important stuff seemed to be there, but still... makes you uneasy that some files & folders were just wiped out...

I am not a computer expert at all but it seems wired that Microsoft cannot come up with a Backup or Copy program that copies every single file... Lame!!

by Gazz (not verified) on 27. February 2012 - 11:01  (89568)

I LOVE TeraCopy. It can completely assume the role of the Windows standard Windows move/copy utility... with Marginal improvement over speed. The copy/conflict options are good.

I'm not sure what the benefit of it running in multiple drive mode, etc. actually are.. perhaps increased cache size for single drive, but it works... and it works well.

I use a portable version on my machine at work, and installed version at home.

On my XP machine it works a charm... and on my Windows 7 machine too... until it's been running for a few minutes, then it crashes.

So those that have not experienced this, I challenge you go move 300GB of various-size files.

Now my large move operations take part on an XP machine, but if I need verification... I'll still use it on my Windows 7 machine - just in smaller chunks.

Here's to hoping the instability is fixed soon....

by mrwire (not verified) on 30. January 2012 - 20:44  (88051)

I've used a number of file copiers. I have had to transfer GBs often and transferring TBs is not unusual here either.

My biggest disappointment has been with TeraCopy. Partly based on the number of people who consider it in high regards. That has never been the case with me. Over time I have used several versions of it. It has been a huge fail for me. It has been buggy and crashes.

Best results for me so far has been from KillCopy. Not a pretty face but it is a reliable performer and has the right amount of options to configure the right settings.

by Alkaliv2 on 29. January 2012 - 23:35  (88002)

Pretty interesting article written by the guys at How-to geek. The results they found surprised me and I was impressed to see Windows copier holding it's own against the other two. If you're coming here to find the best software I want everyone to be as informed as possible.

http://www.howtogeek.com/73887/battle-of-the-file-copiers-windows-teraco...

by Anupam on 30. January 2012 - 7:54  (88011)

Very interesting.

The default copy in Windows 7 performed quite well, and if a few seconds don't matter to someone, then its good idea to go with it.

by Epsilon on 7. January 2012 - 12:15  (86756)

TeraCopy trap for the unwary.

When copying files I consider it vital that all files are copied, even if doing so places files in a folder path that, along with the file name, has more than 255 characters.
By default, TeraCopy 2.27 does not do that. It does show that such files have been skipped and shows an error message as 'Target Open Error'. The problem can be solved by clicking on the 'Always Ask' text below the minimize/close buttons. Just click '255 chars limit' to toggle the limitation off.

by try again (not verified) on 10. February 2012 - 5:00  (88614)

At first, I found Teracopy too slow compared to Fastcopy. Then I started getting errors with Fastcopy when copying 200 Gb or more of files. Still don't know what the problem was with Fastcopy. Gave Teracopy another try after reading your post and while it's still slow, at least it displays checksums. This gives makes me feel more confident in the program. I also checked the file copies with CDCheck. So far, Teracopy has not failed or crashed. My conclusion is that the extra time used by Teracopy is well worth it. Totally secure backups of files it more important than speed in my view.

by Jimmi (not verified) on 2. January 2012 - 10:06  (86395)

Im looking for a program that allows the user to queue files to be moved by batch selecting files then selecting destination foler (on another hardrive), while that running batch select files again for a diffent folder, which subsequently queues these for when the last transfer is complete. Does a program that does this exist? Thanks

by Alkaliv2 on 3. January 2012 - 16:20  (86478)

I'm going to attempt to sum up, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. You want to mass select files into a copy queue, copy them, and then set up subsequent queues to start after the first batch is done? Or are you trying to run multiple instances of the copy utility simultaneously?

by Alkaliv2 on 20. November 2011 - 23:01  (83611)

TeraCopy 2.27 is out now. I just finished testing 2.22 so I'm kind of interested to see if this one improves in the areas I have as cons. Let me know if this new version sorts out bugs you all saw in the last revision.

by Anonymous - anon (not verified) on 18. November 2011 - 20:01  (83503)

I was hoping to find something that was able mostly to:

1)pause and re-start copy functions
2)offered the option to verify all files transferred
correctly with hash checking

and a little less important to me is this:

3)offers optional shell integration
4)offers some GUI options like TeraCopy

and least important/unimportant is:

5) copy speed

i tried TeraCopy but it made errors and/or froze several times so it appears unreliable to me at this point.

would be great if the editor of this article could consider that some of us are just looking for an improvement on day to day file copy and transfer and may not need to deal with huge files.

Thanks.

by Alkaliv2 on 20. November 2011 - 20:35  (83608)

Well if you're still looking for it, at the bottom I mention that I also use SuperCopier beta and it does allow for pausing and resuming of file transfers. Its unrelated/related cousin UltraCopier allows for pausing and resuming of file transfers as well if you're looking for something semi-actively developed. It's 0.2.16 version works well and so does SuperCopier even though it is a beta version. As for a file copier that offers MD5 hash checking built in I came up with nothing. If you do find a program that offers that, let me know and I'll take a look at it and add it to the website since it's something people want. Or if you really need it, feel free to build it and then after you've made it free and usable to everyone, let me know and I'll be happy to review it for you. No rush, I'll be here.

by Alkaliv2 on 13. November 2011 - 4:14  (83173)

Sorry about being an absentee reviewer. I'm coming to the end of my school semester and currently decrypting my HDD because like an idiot I wiped the free space and the system didn't boot. So needless to say it's been decrypting for days...I did a small performance test with Teracopy 2.22 before my computer didn't boot and saw similar copy times as I had in the previous iteration. It was faster on my system by a few seconds and completely stable. I won't be able to go with my tried and true test of moving my music until decryption finishes but I will get on that. Keep the suggestions coming, I am not done testing and benchmarking yet!

by TekServer (not verified) on 9. November 2011 - 22:36  (83022)

I've been using AllwaySync (http://allwaysync.com) for years. However, I've never really benchmarked AllwaySync - except when I accidentally crashed a server with several parallel copy operations totaling about 350GB - and I've never even heard of most of the products mentioned here, so I was wondering if anyone had any side-by-side comparison data between AllwaySync and the top contenders here regarding speed, resource usage, features, etc.

Thanks in advance!

[Moderator's note : Link and mention of shareware program removed]

by MidnightCowboy on 10. November 2011 - 5:11  (83034)

The freeware version of Allway Sync is restricted. Full details, including the number of files which may be processed in a given period, are in the EULA on their website.

by Anupam on 10. November 2011 - 5:17  (83035)

In addition to what MC says, Allway Sync is mainly a synchronization program and cannot be considered as a file copy utility, which is what this article is about.

by TekServer (not verified) on 11. November 2011 - 20:02  (83122)

Ah, I see. I should have been looking here: http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-folder-synchronization-utility.htm

;)

by yvee (not verified) on 9. November 2011 - 1:50  (82944)

For automation, neither fastcopy or teracopy work, the latter brings up the gui, the former doesn't exit the process on Win7 and hangs. It could be a configuration issue, but I can't find where. I find Robocopy is an excellent solution in this case.

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