15 Free File Copy Tools Tested for the Fastest Transfer Speeds

Most of us know that it is possible to perform folder and file copy or move operations in Windows by either using your mouse to copy and paste, drag and drop or by using a number of keyboard shortcuts. Obviously the single biggest factor affecting the speed of any transfer is what medium you’re copying from or to such as hard drives, SSD’s, USB sticks, network etc. Another factor is how Windows itself deals with these operations, and all versions of Windows have never been quite as efficient at it as they could be.

Windows 8 Copy Dialog Box

With this in mind, it is entirely possible to shorten the duration of any copying or moving of files if you use a piece of third party software to take over operations instead of relying on the Windows built-in function. Not only can this help the speed of transfers, but you can also get other benefits like better information, queuing copies, pausing, skipping, and dealing with problematic files far better than what Windows does. We were curious to find out just how fast some of these programs actually are when copying and moving files around in Windows, so have gathered together 15 freeware tools to have a closer look. A few simple tests were carried out to try and determine which file copying tools are the fastest at performing file transfers in a few different real world scenarios. To try and cover some common file copy operations, 3 tests were conducted;

Test 1: Copy a number of small to medium files from one HDD to another.

4GB totaling 24,185 files / 6193 folders with sizes of a few bytes to 320MB.

Test 2: Copy 2 large files using the same source and destination as test 1.

2x Windows 8 ISO’s (x86 and x64) totaling 5.8GB.

Test 3: Copy over a 10/100 LAN network to the same destination as tests 1 and 2.

450MB totaling 5665 files / 723 folders with sizes of a few bytes to 320MB.

The source drive was a 10,000 RPM WD Raptor and the destination was a standard 7200 RPM SATA drive, both defragged. All the 3rd party software was run using their default transfer settings on a clean and fully updated install of Windows 7 64-bit. Each test was run twice and an average of the times was taken.

If you want to jump straight to the results table and a summary of the findings about who performed best and worst, they can be found on page 2.

1. Copy Handler 1.32

Copy Handler is a tool that while it sits in your system tray, can take over the file copying operations from Windows or monitor the clipboard for files. During a copy a small and simple window will appear with basic details, double clicking will give you the full window with a wealth of stats and past / present operations. There’s a number of pause and resume buttons, context menu entries can be added and an options window to configure most areas of the program.

Copy Handler

Multiple file copy test 1: 154 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 141 seconds
Network copy test 3: 98 seconds

Download Copy Handler


2. ExtremeCopy Standard 2.1.0

There are 2 different version of ExtremeCopy, the standard free one and the full shareware version. Functions such as copy or collision options, window position, failed file recovery and the buffer size are disabled in the free version, but you can still integrate it into Explorer to take over the standard Windows file copy functions. Pause, skip and verify are also present. A small options window pops out from the copy dialog using the arrow in the top left. For the USB stick a slightly older portable version is also available.

ExtremeCopy

Multiple file copy test 1: 111 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 86 seconds
Network copy test 3: 262 seconds

Download ExtremeCopy Standard


3. FastCopy 2.11

FastCopy is a tool that’s been recommended by a lot of people over the years because it’s a simple and yet incredibly fast file copier. There are a number of buffer options to tweak the performance even further, basic or advanced file filters, an NSA method wipe and delete option, verify and copy / sync / differential / overwrite copy modes. It also has several options for adding context menu entries and extensive command line options, although something missing is a pause or skip button. Watch out for the weird uninstaller where you have to rerun the setup exe.

FastCopy

Multiple file copy test 1: 110 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 86 seconds
Network copy test 3: 79 seconds

Download FastCopy


4. FF Copy 1.0

FF Copy is relatively simple copying tool where you select or drag and drop multiple selections of files and folders onto the window and they will be copied or moved to the destination you select from the button or drop down. There are no other options to speak of and this tool probably functions best when you want to quickly send files from multiple locations to several different folders and then let it process them.

FF Copy

Multiple file copy test 1: 163 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 86 seconds
Network copy test 3: Refused to copy the folder, gave an error every time.

Download FF Copy


5. KillCopy 2.85

KillCopy is a copy tool that doesn’t look too great out of the box and the theme below called “Standart” was about the best built into the program. There are some downloadable themes from the website but they aren’t that great either. The program itself has several useful features such auto resuming after a system crash, parallel copy mode and several boosting and buffer settings to try and eek out that extra few MB/s. KillCopy can place copy and move entries onto the context menu and can also be setup to be the default copy handler replacing Explorer.

KillCopy

Multiple file copy test 1: 131 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 88 seconds
Network copy test 3: 78 seconds

Download KillCopy


6. Mini Copier 0.5

This copying tool is a little different than the others here because it was written in Java meaning there are different versions for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX, although this does make for a hefty 20MB installer. The program is similar in looks to SuperCopier but adding files and folders is done entirely by dropping them onto the red basket in the program’s window. When you’re ready to copy, drop the destination folder onto the right icon and the process will begin. Standard pause and skip buttons are available.

MiniCopier

Multiple file copy test 1: 166 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 89 seconds
Network copy test 3: 130 seconds

Download Mini Copier


7. NiceCopier 12.10.31

NiceCopier does actually live up to its name and is quite a nice looking tool and will show you either a small progress window in a corner of the desktop or expand to a full dialog window where you can alter the transfer speed and edit the files list including any ignore / replace / rename options that need to be configured. NiceCopier will take over Windows file operations while it’s running in the system tray and while there’s a lot of information in the dialog windows, it’s all relevant and well laid out. A large window will alert you to any file collisions etc.

NiceCopier

Multiple file copy test 1: 147 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 87 seconds
Network copy test 3: 129 seconds

Download Nice Copier


8. PerigeeCopy 1.6

PerigeeCopy has several useful functions built in such as replacing Explorer for default file operations, using or ignoring the recycle bin when deleting files, leaving errors until the end of the copy process and 6 different overwrite options. The main copy dialog is quite informative but there are no extra features like pause, queue or skip for that extra bit of control.

PerigeeCopy

Multiple file copy test 1: 186 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 89 seconds
Network copy test 3: 101 seconds

Download PerigeeCopy

File copy tools 9 – 15 and the results/summary are on page 2.

9. RichCopy 4

RichCopy is actually a tool developed at Microsoft and was used internally by them to copy files for several years before being made available to download. It’s a multi threaded program allowing many files to be copied in parallel and has several of the functions you might want from a 3rd party copy program such as pause, resume, verify, profiles, file / directory filtering, multiple sources at once and full command line support.

RichCopy

Multiple file copy test 1: 223 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 233 seconds
Network copy test 3: 64 seconds

Download RichCopy


10. SuperCopier 2.3

SuperCopier is an open source transfer utility and is quite similar in looks and functionality to UltraCopier apart from this tool seems to be more stable. Most actions are accessed from the system tray including adding a new copy task and it has the standard pause / resume / skip buttons in addition to the copy list and several options to deal with errors or file collisions. Buffer size and Transfer speed can also be controlled from the Configuration window.

SuperCopier

Multiple file copy test 1: 187 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 92 seconds
Network copy test 3: 98 seconds

Download SuperCopier


11. TeraCopy 2.27

TeraCopy is one of the most popular tools around because it can completely replace Windows Explorer as the default copy handler and also adds itself to the context menu. It can also pause, skip and verify copied files using CRC32 in addition to dragging and dropping files onto the copy queue. A portable version is made available using the installer and users of Total Commander and Directory Opus have options to integrate TeraCopy into those file managers.

TeraCopy

Multiple file copy test 1: 147 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 110 seconds
Network copy test 3: 102 seconds

Download Teracopy


12. UltraCopier 0.3.1

We had a few problems with the latest version of UltraCopier 0.4 as it kept throwing up errors during transfers and then crashing. The earlier 0.3.1 did work well enough to test though, so bear that in mind. The program will replace Explorer by default while it’s running in the system tray and one odd thing is it keeps expanding the copy dialog window to fit in long file names. Standard functions such as pause and skip are available as well as a copy queue and several options on what to do for file collisions or issues.

UltraCopier

Multiple file copy test 1: 184 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 86 seconds
Network copy test 3: 92 seconds

Download UltraCopier


13. Unstoppable Copier 5.2

Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier has been around a while and is a popular tool for copying as much data as possible from corrupted or damaged discs and drives. The program does have a number of useful features including a batch mode which you can run from the command line, logging, a right click context menu entry and several options on how to treat potentially corrupted or damaged files. A portable version is also available.

Unstoppable Copier

Multiple file copy test 1: 435 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 96 seconds
Network copy test 3: 175 seconds

Download Unstoppable Copier 5.2


14. WinMend File Copy 1.4.2.0

WinMend would certainly win a prize for its nice looking interface and is certainly a more novice friendly tool because it has no options to speak of apart from a buffer slider and the ability to overwrite or skip matching files at the destination. The copy process can be paused and resumed, but other than that, WinMend File Copy is pretty much standard.

WinMend File Copy

Multiple file copy test 1: 213 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 195 seconds
Network copy test 3: 118 seconds

Download WinMend File Copy


15. WinRoboCopy 1.2

WinRoboCopy is simply a GUI interface for the built in Robocopy command line utility present in Windows Vista and above. It’s not for the novice because a lot of the buttons and tick boxes are the command line switches. It does however have a built in scheduler, drag and drop onto the window, a simple before and after script editor and a settings (or Robojob) saver for different copy profiles.

RoboCopy

Multiple file copy test 1: 162 seconds
ISO copy test 2: 90 seconds
Network copy test 3: Wouldn’t copy over the network.

Download WinRoboCopy

We tested 4 other file copy tools and they weren’t included for various reasons; LD Move was in the top 4 or 5 in the ISO copy test but constantly crashed in tests 1 and 3. A similar tool called QCopy, also completed the ISO copy fine, but after 20 minutes of copying the smaller files, we gave up because it reported there was still several hours to finish, even with the network copying which it was designed for. After 20 minutes SchizoCopy and Bit Copier both progressed at less then 1% per minute which meant they would have taken over an hour an a half to finish a test others were completing in under 2 minutes.


The Results and Findings

Here’s a table summary of all the results from each software in the 3 tests performed. To add a baseline and for curiosity, Windows XP, 7 and 8 (both 64-bit) were also included to see how their default Windows transfer performs. Do note that the operating systems are clean and at stock settings with nothing turned off to help improve the results, including Windows Defender. Green is the fastest followed by yellow in 2nd. Red is the slowest and orange the 2nd slowest.

file copy test result

The Main Points:

  • In an equal test it was a surprise and disappointment to see Windows 8 perform so poorly after all the improvements Microsoft are supposed to have made to it. This is explained to a large degree though by the Security Essentials antivirus part of Windows Defender scanning every file and slowing everything down, so you get better security out of the box but slower transfer speeds. In a quick test with it turned off, the result was comparable to Windows 7.
  • Probably the most popular tool TeraCopy was really in the middle of the pack overall in terms of outright speed. The multiple file copy test 1 result was quite good but in both tests 2 and 3, it was distinctly average.
  • For pure copying speed you really can’t look past Fast Copy. It won both file copy tests and was a close 3rd in the network test.
  • If you don’t want to copy files over a network, Extreme Copy is also a very fast tool and a close second or equal to Fast Copy in 2 of the 3 tests. But for network usage, Extreme Copy was consistently the slowest software to complete that test.
  • Although its disc to disc copying was awful, RichCopy was the clear winner in the network test and was designed with high latency or low bandwidth networks in mind. It’s something you might like to look at if you perform a lot of network transfers.
  • As it’s a popular tool we had to include Unstoppable Copier, but the results may seem a bit unkind because it was one of the slowest overall. The program is more of a corrupted file copier though and not really built for speed so it’s still a valuable tool to have around, especially the portable version.

What the test does show on the whole is that for copying large files between drives Windows keeps up with the 3rd party tools and you won’t get much of a speed boost. Where you do gain though, is in the extra functions like pause / resume, handling copy failures and queuing etc. For copying lots of smaller files many of these tools do make a great deal of sense with their improved caching and algorithms which really can make a sizable difference in transfer times.

Although this isn’t a definitive test it does at least show how well or badly Windows and several other tools perform in common scenarios most of us are likely to encounter quite often. These tests should give you a better idea what free copying tools may be more suited to your needs…

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