Tools I Can’t Live Without: CopyHandler

The first article in my series about tools I just [i]have[/i] to install right after Windows installation and use daily in my life is about a mostly unknown open source software called [url=]CopyHandler[/url]. Ever since I moved to Windows from DOS and got used to “multi tasking”, the standard Windows copy routine annoyed me. I guess we’ve all grown accustomed to its defects, because I don’t [i]ever[/i] hear people complaining about it.
Think again. Can you tell me why I have to live without a simple mechanism to pause/resume whenever I want (surviving shutdown and network loss), why it took Microsoft over 10 years to check if the destination has enough space [i]before[/i] it starts the transfer, and show me a reliable progress bar including transfer speeds? (Yes, Vista actually has it) Is it so hard to have an option for notification on completion, or when it stopped for some reason? Why does the Vista copy routine take [i]ages[/i] after I cancel it?
CopyHandler neatly integrates into Windows up to the point that it (optionally) intercepts your drag and drop transfers transparently and handles them, while you can still select the default copy/move from context menu. Let me give you a quick list of features and options:
[*]pause, resume, restart
[*]auto-resume on error, shutdown when done
[*]set priority
[*]detailed information about copy/move progess
[*]sounds on error/completion
[*]small or detailed status window, or none at all (tray icon)
By far the most important feature and the most annoying Windows defect (I actually started to write my own utility for that before I found this gem): You can configure a number of concurrent copy tasks [b]and all subsequent copy actions will be queued[/b]. No more ugly disk seeking when you move a number of files with separate selections!
Unfortunately, the author doesn’t seem to have much time to maintain the tool (last update was in October 2006). It works great, but has a few problems: After installation, make sure to select your language in the settings, or it will switch to some illegible character set next time. Also, don’t forget to register the shell extension (there’s a menu item for it), or it won’t integrate. More importantly, it does not support Unicode characters in file names (German umlauts are okay), so you will have to copy those with the default Windows copy routine. And I haven’t found a way to get it integrated into Vista 64bit yet because the shell extension is a 32bit DLL (other than that, it works on Vista too). The source is available, so maybe I’ll try compiling it for 64 bit some day. [i]Edit 25th March 2008: A new version of CopyHandler has been released today. It finally supports Unicode and Vista 64bit![/i]
I have prepared a short (one minute!) screencast as an introduction to CopyHandler, don’t miss it.