6 Ways to Copy Files Faster in Windows 10

By | May 12, 2022

While you may not think much of the copy dialog in Windows, it can be better in some ways. It’s not always fast when you copy a large number of files. And on Windows 7 and earlier, the whole process stops and waits for your input in case of conflicts or other errors.

Luckily, Windows 10 doesn’t have this problem. But you can still speed up copying files in Windows in other ways. Let’s look at some of them.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to work more efficiently in almost any software, and File Explorer is no exception. To copy and move basic files, you should get some common keyboard shortcuts under your belt.

The most important are the basic cut, copy and paste operations:

  • Press Ctrl + X to cut the file. This moves the file to your clipboard so you can paste it in another location. When pasted, the truncated file is removed from its original location.
  • Use Ctrl + C to copy. Copying is like cutting, except the original file remains after you paste the copy.
  • Ctrl + V is the shortcut for Paste. Use this to move the cut file or create a second instance of the copied file in a new location.

These aren’t the only File Explorer keyboard shortcuts you should know about. Use Ctrl + Shift + N to quickly create a new folder to include the files you copied. Alt + Left/Right will let you jump to the previous and next folder, respectively. Use Alt + Up to jump one level in your folder hierarchy.

For more details, Check out our great guide to Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts.

Know Mouse Shortcuts too

If you prefer to use a mouse, there aren’t enough tricks for easy copying and pasting. But you can use a few tricks.

Hold down Ctrl and click multiple files to select them all, no matter where they are on the page. To select multiple files on a line, click the first one, then hold down Shift while you click the last one. It lets you easily select a large number of files to copy or cut.

Usually, clicking and dragging a file with the left mouse button will move it to a new location (same as cutting and pasting). However, if you click and drag it with the right mouse button, you will see a small menu appear. This lets you choose to copy or move files; useful if you don’t want to use keyboard shortcuts for whatever reason.

Use Windows 10

We mentioned earlier that Windows 8 and Windows 10 feature a much better copy interface than Windows 7 and earlier. It’s faster and provides a graph showing the speed over time.

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Better yet, if you copy multiple files at once, it merges them all together so you don’t have as many windows floating around. You can also pause and resume individual processes, letting you prioritize one operation or stop a long transfer while you’re using your computer for something else.

And most importantly, the copy dialog in Windows 10 will not completely stop if there is a conflict in the operation. It continues and allows you to respond when you return. This is much better than walking away for a while, only to come back and find that the operation stopped ten seconds.

Microsoft will say goodbye to Windows 7 in 2020. If you are still using Windows 7, now is a great time to upgrade to Windows 10 and get all sorts of fixes like these.

Try TeraCopy

The above are all fairly simple ways to increase your copy speed in Windows 10. To go further, you will need to install a dedicated copying app. One of the most popular is the free TeraCopy.

This app goes a step further than what Windows has to offer. It uses a special algorithm to speed up the copying process. This app can verify the copied files to ensure that they are 100% identical. And if you often accidentally drag and drop files, you can activate a confirmation dialog to make sure you really mean it.

TeraCopy has a few other touches that make it even more subtle. If you like, you can integrate the app with File Explorer so that all copy/paste operations use TeraCopy by default. It also stores the original date and time information on the copied files.

Of course, the software also intelligently skips the problematic files and lets you check them later instead of freezing the whole operation. Overall, this is a great tool for anyone who copies files frequently.

Download: TeraCopy (Free, premium version available)

Get Geeky With Robocopy

If you don’t mind digging into the Command Prompt, you can try a built-in tool called Robocopy (short for Robust File Copy). While the average user need not worry about it, it offers more power for advanced users who need to perform complex file copy operations.

Using it makes running repetitive copy jobs a lot easier. Those who need a quick copy method over the network will find Robocopy important too.

To use Robocopy, open a Command Prompt or PowerShell window. The command starts with robocopy and takes a number of parameters based on what you want. Reviewing all of this is beyond the scope of this discussion; see Microsoft’s help page on Robocopy or type robocopy /? in Command Prompt for instructions.

If you need to run the same copy operations on a regular basis, consider creating a batch file that you can double-click to run. You can even set the script to run through the Task Scheduler so it doesn’t require any manual work from you.

Upgrade Your Drive to Speed ​​Up Copying Files

Although all of the above software is a change, we must mention that hardware plays a major role in how fast the data copies too.

As you probably know, older hard disk drives (HDDs) are much slower than solid-state drives (SSDs). Copying files on the HDD will take longer than the same operation on the SSD. If you don’t already have an SSD in your machine, consider upgrading to make moving and copying files much faster.

This is also a consideration when copying to or from an external drive. If you have an external hard drive or an older flash drive that uses USB 2.0, you will experience poor transfer speeds. For best results, use a modern USB 3.0 drive that supports much faster data transfers.

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