Fast Copy: Best and fastest copier for Windows?

People sure have strong feelings on their Windows copy utilities. Each of the command line utilities has their own strengths and weaknesses. But when it comes to copying with the GUI, a lot of times we just settle for Windows Explorer. Fast Copy is a utility that provides GUI ease of use with the power of the command line utilities. I think it might be the best file copier for Windows.

How I discovered Fast Copy

best file copier for Windows
Fast Copy balances power with ease of use, providing lots of features in a forgiving and straightforward GUI.

I had about 120 gigs of data that I wanted to back up to a USB flash drive. So I dragged the files over to the drive icon like I’ve been doing since the mid-90s, and Windows Explorer told me it would take an hour and a half to copy all of it. And every time I came back an hour and a half later, guess how much time it said it had remaining? About an hour and a half. But hour and a half long copy that I started at noon finally finished sometime around 4:30.

The same copy using Fast Copy took more like an hour and 45 minutes. When I checked the box in the GUI to get a time estimate, the time estimate jumped around a lot just like everyone else’s progress bars do, but it did stabilize once two or three files finished, and even though the early estimates were all over the place, it did a surprisingly good job of estimating the total time necessary to finish the operation.

Pros and cons of Fast Copy for Windows

Fast Copy is faster than Windows Explorer, doesn’t have any cutesy animations, and its estimates reflect a better grip on reality.

One of the reasons it’s fast is because it doesn’t rely on Windows’s disk cache. Instead, it allocates its own buffer to use for the file copy operation. And you can specify how large of a to buffer use, although I find the default works well. As long as your system isn’t starved for memory, this reduces the amount of contention Fast Copy has with anything else your system has going on. And if your system is starved for memory, just use a smaller buffer. It’s nice to have the option.

Like the more powerful command line file copiers like Xxcopy or Robocopy, it has the option to skip files that are already present, and it gives a couple of different options for doing so. You can pick from the file name matching, or a combination of file name, file size, and date.

It gives more power than Windows Explorer has, but omits the options the command line utilities have that can sometimes get you into trouble. I think it does a good job of finding a safe middle ground.

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