Windows 8 Promises Better File Copy Experience

Windows 8 Promises Better File Copy Experience

One task Windows traditionally hasn’t handled so well is copying very large files, or very large numbers of files. Many Lifehacker readers use Windows Explorer alternatives to avoid those issues, but Windows 8 looks like it will make the process a little simpler.

A post on the Windows 8 blog details how file management dialogs are being improved and streamlined in the forthcoming release (which still doesn’t have an official launch date, before you ask). The two things I particularly like are the creation of a unified file copy dialogue, which shows all active file jobs and includes the ability to pause and resume individual copying tasks. This also offers more information about what’s being copied, which helps make up for the generally inaccurate time estimates Windows offers:

The other useful improvement is a change to the file conflict dialog which pops up if you try to copy a file into a directory where a file of the same name already exists. The new dialog keeps source files on the right and destination files on the left, which is a major improvement:

Windows 8 Promises Better File Copy Experience

Hit the full post for more details of what’s changing. One interesting scrap of information: just 0.45% of users use an alternative file copy manager, based on Microsoft’s own automatically-collected data. We definitely welcome improvements to the standard experience, but we still recommend using one of the products in our Hive Five of alternative file copiers if you’re regularly moving large files around.

Improving our file management basics: copy, move, rename, and delete [Building Windows 8]


  • Reading the title I hoped they were talking about under-the-hood improvements rather than just visual.

    I don’t use teracopy because it looks nicer, I use it because it’s more reliable and robust.

  • At home I have a USB with videos on it that I use on my PS3. If delete the old files, then copy new ones over, does it in 2 minutes. If I delete AND copy new ones over, it takes up to 30 times longer (I’m not kidding; from two minutes to almost an hour).

    Same goes for times when I copy files from one folder to my USB, then open another separate folder and copy files onto the same USB.

    I hope the new version of Windows fixes this issue, as an operation that takes two minutes doing it the “slow” way shouldn’t take an hour doing it the “smart” way.

    But I’ll check out these file copiers. This may be what I need to speed up emptying of my CF cards when I’m done shooting!

  • Probably a moot pooint, but with just 0.45% of people using other apps, its probably because the people that would use other app’s, wouldn’t bother sending information to MS in the first place.
    I move some big files around and after reading the above posts, I’m keen for a change 🙂

  • I really like the new ideas they have in the works for Windows 8 but I think they’ve dropped the ball on the second feature.

    Normally, it should be Source > Destination. Having it Destination > Source is a tad confusing. Also, that window is overall confusing…the File dialog that is present in Windows 7 is perfect IMO – there wasn’t any need to change it.

  • I don’t care about the dialogs, just make it go faster!

    How is that 3rd party developers can implement faster (and more reliable) file copying than the people making the operating system?! It’s not like MS haven’t had time to practice

    • More importantly why do we have to wait for windows 8 for a change like this. This is something that has been broken in windows for a while, not a new design feature that we should be expected to fork out for. Come on MS earn some loyalty and patch.

  • I also liked the terms “newer” and “larger” that were appended next to the appropriate file in the old conflict dialog.

    Windows – its my OS of choice, but… why do they do some things SOOOOOO badly? (including color and icons -yecch!)

  • One thing it needs is a MERGE option when 2 files conflict.
    If you are copying 500 files and 10 of them already exist, it should save them to the end, then offer the options:
    overwrite, keep both, merge. The merge option should popup a winmerge-esque window showing the changes and allow you to merge them one by one. Also some applications have an automerge or smartmerge option that would be useful if you know the changes are smart-mergeable.

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  • I’m finding a bigger issue with file copying on Windows 8 to a NAS drive – the issue is that if you copy a folder only the empty folder gets created not the contents and sub folders also don’ t get copied. Has anyone else seen this?

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