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Utility Spotlight RichCopy

Joshua Hoffman

Code download available at: HoffmanUtilitySpotlight2009_04.exe(5,896 KB)

Back in the November 2006 issue of TechNet Magazine, I wrote about a handy little utility called Robocopy GUI (see "Utility Spotlight Robocopy GUI"). This simple tool was written by a Microsoft engineer named Derk Benisch, and all it really did was create a graphical interface for the very popular Robocopy command-line utility, which provided file copying capabilities far beyond what was built into Windows. Believe it or not, more than two years later, the Robocopy GUI article remains the single most popular piece of content we've ever published, having been viewed well over 220,000 times.

Needless to say, this speaks far more to the value of the tool than to the quality of my writing. Nevertheless, it also makes perfectly clear just how crucial certain simple tasks are in our day-to-day lives, and how staggering an impact even a small improvement in performing those critical tasks can make.

In this case, we're discussing the simplest of tasks: copying files. Except copying files is not always that simple. What if you're copying thousands of files across a slow connection? What happens if your network hiccups and interrupts the copy? What if you want to make sure that you preserve particular file attributes, such as a Last Modified date, but not other attributes, like security descriptors? What if you want to filter the files you're copying from source to destination based on filename or extension?

If any of these apply to you, the simple Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V combination probably won't cut it. And though Robocopy GUI certainly improves on that basic functionality, it still has some limitations in terms of granular control and usability. What you need is RichCopy.

RichCopy is a free utility that comes to us from Ken Tamaru of Microsoft. The tool was first developed in 2001 and has been updated regularly to keep pace with evolving needs. Trust me when I tell you, this is the answer to all your file copying needs. What you'll find most striking the first time you take RichCopy out for a spin is that it's a multithreaded copying tool. That means that rather than copying one file at a time in serial order, RichCopy can open multiple threads simultaneously, allowing many files to be copied in parallel and cutting the total time required to complete the operation several times over. You can also pause and resume file copy operations, so if you lose network connectivity at any point, you can just pick up where you left off.

Of course, these are really just the simplest features of RichCopy. As Figure 1 shows, you also get a vast array of granular controls that allow you to customize all of those fancy aspects of your file copying that I talked about earlier—filtering files, saving attributes, adjusting cache size, and so on. If you regularly copy lots of files over the network or between various storage devices, these features will significantly ease your daily life.


Figure 1 RichCopy offers a number of granular controls that allow you to tailor file copying to your needs

Remember, as with all of our free utilities, RichCopy is provided as-is, and it's not supported by Microsoft.

Joshua Hoffman is the Editor-in-Chief of TechNet Magazine.