Windows Ranks Third in File Transfer Tests

By on January 4th, 2011 18:21 GMT
FastCopy and TeraCopy are two popular tools designed to speed up file copy/move operations under Windows. We have opposed them in a series of tests in order to determine which runs the job at a faster pace.

Relying on the option available in Windows operating system is the default choice for most computer users, especially if the file copy/move job involves a small number of items that do not weigh too much. In this case, using a third party solution would not make too much of a difference as the transfer speed gap is not significant.

Things are a bit different, though, when we’re dealing with large folders containing thousands of small files. We prepared a directory containing 78,125 files spread across 19,530 folders (1.35GB).

A smaller batch of just 278MB, containing 15,625 items scattered in 3,905, was also used during testing as a verification of the accuracy of the results. For large files, we employed an item of 1.09GB.

Although the goal for which they’ve been created is the same, these two file handlers come with a fairly different set of features and options available. One aspect setting them apart is blending into the operating system.

TeraCopy does a better job at this as it can substitute the default solution in Windows altogether. It also creates an entry in the file and folder context menu allowing for easier access to transfer operation. Right-click access is available in FastCopy, too, but by doing this you will have to give up its portability.FastCopy's ace up the sleeve though is that it offers multiple file transfer functions; it can be used not only for copy/move tasks, but also for synchronization of data in two locations as well as file destruction beyond recovery.

Moreover, configuration settings weigh heavy for FastCopy, as they allow you to tweak the buffer and I/O size as well as adjust the transfer speed.

After several tests using the aforementioned sets of file batches the results were clear as day. FastCopy dominated all challenges as it pushed the files from one location to another on the same hard disk at amazing rates. TeraCopy followed at a safe distance in almost all tests.

However, in order to determine the efficiency of the runner-up we also put Windows’ tool to the test. As expected, it came in last, but not a shameful third place though, as it was quite close to TeraCopy’s results and it even dealt better with the copying of larger chunks.

Using the largest set of data (78,125 files in 19,530 folders amounting 1.35GB), FastCopy managed to transfer the items in 5’23’’, which was more than one minute quicker than what TeraCopy accomplished (6’48’’). Windows Explorer was not too shabby on this one as it finished the task in exactly 7 minutes.

We noticed that TeraCopy spent plenty of time reading the data before starting the actual process (averaged at 40 seconds). But even when only the copy process was taken into consideration, it didn’t beat FastCopy’s worst time.

Changing the operation mode to moving the items from one volume to another did not alter the ranking; on the contrary, it consolidated FastCopy’s position as leader.

However, when it came to copying and moving the 1.09GB file, things changed a bit as TeraCopy fell on the third spot totaling 32’’. The difference between FastCopy and the default solution in Windows was set by a very thin line, the former averaging 27.6’’ while Microsoft’s tool clocked in 29’’. The results for move operation were fairly the same and did not affect the ranking for this sort of data.

Moving the tests to the smaller batch of files (15,625 items in 3,905 folders), the initial conclusion was not altered at all. FastCopy maintained its leading position by copying the 278MB in 39’’, followed by TeraCopy which completed the task a second over one minute; Windows Explorer remained the slowest of the bunch managing to process the data in 1’18’’, double the speed of the leader.Conclusion:

Both FastCopy and TeraCopy have been created as alternatives to faster copying moving files than what Microsoft bundles in Windows. And it looks like they both succeed in doing their job, recording faster times for completing file copy/move jobs than Windows Explorer as long as no large chunks are involved.

During our tests FastCopy placed itself at a very safe distance from the runner-up and managed to take the lead in all challenges, even if sometimes this was by a whisker. TeraCopy also showed skills when copying small bits spread across multiple folders, but lost the battle against large files in favor of Windows Explorer.

Feature-wise FastCopy dominates the contest offering by far more choices to the average user than TeraCopy. However, one clear advantage the latter has over the former is integration in the operating system by becoming the default file copy/move service.

By contrast, FastCopy is limited to placing shell extensions in the context menu and the operation is not completed as seamlessly as in the case of TeraCopy.

Regarding transfer speed, FastCopy is definitely the choice regardless of the type of files you choose to copy from one place to another.
Chart shows how each tested tool fared
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   Chart shows how each tested tool fared

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