Workarounds for Slow Copying of Large Files in Vista

Copying large files take an unreasonably long time in Windows Vista. Users facing this problem often have to resort to several tricks in order to speed up the copying process. Even Microsoft has published workarounds to improve the speed of large file transfers for Vista under the following scenarios:

  • You are copying files from a Windows Vista-based computer to/from a different machine via a network.
  • The other computer is either Windows XP or 2003.
  • Each files is of 100 MB or larger.
  • You are using Windows Explorer for the copying task.
  • The ‘slow copying’ issue arises only in particular hardware settings.
  • There is no problem while copying to/from a Vista based PC via the same network..

Provided that the above conditions fit with your situation, you can try the following four methods.

1. Disabling Navigation Pane

For this, open Windows Explorer (you can open Computer, or Documents, or any folder). Now, below the menu bar, to the left, click on the Organize button and got to Organize -> Layout -> Navigation Pane. Highlighting/un-highlighting this icon will turn the navigation on/off. In this case, un-highlight it.

2. Mapping a network drive

You can use two different approaches to carry out this workaround:

  • Via the graphical interface
  1. Open Windows Explorer (go to Start -> Computer).
  2. In the menu bar, go to Tools -> Map Network Drive.
  3. Select the drive in the Drive field.
  4. Type the network folder address in the Folder field. This typically has to be something like: \\name_of_computer\name_of_shared_folder
  5. Press Finish.
  • Via command prompt
  1. Start the command prompt (simply type in CMD at Start Search and hit enter).
  2. At the prompt, type in
    Net use A:\\name_of_computer\name_of_shared_folder,
    (Here, A: is the drive that you want to map the folder to.)
  3. Press ENTER.

3. Using Robocopy

Using Robocopy included in Vista to copy files can also reduce copy-time. It is a command line copying application. A sample syntax for a Robocopy file copying is something like:

Robocopy source_directory destination_directory name_of_file

For example, Robocopy C:\abc C:\def xyz.doc will copy the file xyz.doc from the folder abc to the folder def. To find out more on using Robocopy, simply type Robocopy /? after opening the command prompt, and press ENTER.

4. Disabling automatic adjustment of TCP window size

In this case too, you can use two different approaches.

  • Via Netsh command prompt
    • Open a command prompt with administrator privileges. [To do this go to Start -> All Programs -> Accecories -> Command Prompt. Right-click the command prompt and select Run as Administrator. [Click “Continue” on the User Access Control prompt.]
    • Type in netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled.
    • Press Enter.
  • Via Offload checksum enabling
    Offload checksumming can also effect the TCP window size. Howeve,r this is a bit involved – you can search how to enable offload checksum in a network, and get more information on the topic.


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