Tag: drives

Windows 8: Safely eject USB drive

If you are among the lucky to have upgraded to Windows 8 Developer Preview (released September 2011) despite naysayers bemoaning loss of the Start Orb and other Windows 7 and earlier functions, I’m sure you’ll agree there’s lots to love about this new operating system. But one of the things to hate is its USB handling. Although the Release Candidate fixes this glitch, for the rest of us here’s a super-simple fix: (more…)

Free RAM disk works on Windows 7

Back in September 2007, I mentioned a free RAM Disk software. This 32-bit application (as a device driver) served me well. Unfortunately it didn’t work on the 64-bit Windows 7 RC1 trial I installed on my home computer. And even though I continued to use a RAM disk at work, a TCP stack problem meant the rest of the office couldn’t see my computer nor I theirs!

There’s still a couple of months to go before the Windows 7 RC copies expire in early March 2010. Actually they will keep working until June 2010 but will shut down every hour. Which you will agree is annoying ūüôā Back on point, I’m using a RC so I can assess what software works on Windows 7 (64 bit) before I acquire a full licensed version.

Well if you do or plan using Windows 7 (32- or 64-bit) and want a RAM Disk. Then consider the free Dataram RAMDisk 3.5.130RC9. Compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista¬†, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 ¬†and Windows server 2008. The software (really a device driver) lets you¬†create up to 4 GB virtual disks without registration. Not that there’s a charge to register for even larger disk sizes.

Dataram’s product also lets you save your virtual disk contents¬†to an IMG file on system shutdown. It can later re-load this file¬†on system start-up. Which is handy for those times when a software install, uninstall or update reboots the system without asking for the user’s permission. You can also choose the disk format (FAT16, FAT32, other incl. NTFS). My 4 GB system supports a max disk size of 3412 MB and a minimum size of 40 MB.

TeraCopy for hi-speed file transfers

I recently downloaded and installed the free (for home/personal use) TeraCopy. I was looking for a high speed set and forget file copy utility that didn’t lockup up the host application. In Windows Explorer (XP, Vista, Windows 7) when you initiate a file copy or move, the source Explorer Window is locked. You need to open a second session that then leaches into available system resources: a key issue with all 32-bit Windows that only address 3.5 GB of RAM. Windows 64-bit versions are a bit better. But Explorer is still a memory hog. And even third-party replacements like TotalCommander with file management running as background processes aren’t exactly speed hounds.

I recently invested in a 500 GB portable drive. And had to clone an entire tapped-out 320 GB drive. While Windows 7 file transfer is much quicker than previous Windows versions. transferring 120 GB of archived mail files took nearly an hour. I then switched to TotalCommander with its expert mode Big File Copy option enabled. But transferring another 120 GB wasn’t much faster. And I had to keep (Explorer and) TotalCommander open until the transfers were completed.

TeraCopy done with CRC reportI then lucked into TeraCopy Portable Version 2.05. This is not the latest version (2.10) but I really like its ability to queue a long list of files using drag ‘n drop. Then set the destination drive folder. And click the copy button. Before TeraCopy begins a transfer it verifies that the destination has sufficient free space. And displays the total queued file size. You can also add more files to a transfer queue as long as they are being transferred to the same target folder. The Test option is great as it compares source and destination file CRCs eliminating copy errors. A situation that has lost me critical backups in the past when I deleted the source without testing the copy. The Close option closes TeraCopy on queue completion. And Shutdown shuts down the computer when a queue is complete. It would have been nice from within the app’s Options dialog to be able to change the shutdown option to Hibernate which is more work friendly.

TeraCopy also keeps trying to transfer files with errors several times before giving up and trying the next file. Explorer halts losing the queue. You can also pause a transfer mid-way (no such Explorer option). And even skip files (again no Explorer option). But you need to be careful when skipping files. As TeraCopy skips the file being transferred and not the file you highlight from the queue. Pausing a transfer to select files to be skipped causes the active transfer to be skipped and the next file transferred. To process skipped files later requires you first click the Skipped file(s) button (bottom of app window) to remove successful transfers and re-queue skipped files. You then can choose to change the destination folder (if you like) before deciding to Copy or Move these files.

When a transferring is complete you see visual status confirmation with number of errors (if any) encountered. This information can also (in the Portable Version) be written to a log file saved into the app folder.

The Portable Version is limited in that it doesn’t let you enable shell integration making the app either the default copy/move handler. Or add it as an option to Windows Explorer. But you can set it as an alternate file copy/move utility directly into TotalCommander or Directory Opus; a similar Explorer replacement. To enable the missing features you need to install the Standard version. Or the Pro version.

I now use TeraCopy for all transfers between hard drives. To and from portable disks including pen (USB) drives. Overall it seems to get better transfer speeds than Windows or TotalCommander. And my system has more free resources. I have also transferred complete folders. And even clone drives. I haven’t been able to test network copy because my Windows IP stack is corrupt and can’t see other Windows computers on the network. And our file servers run Linux supporting only FTP or SCP (for which I use the excellent WinSCP utility) connections.