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Microsoft Windows Technology

Estimated Transfer Time Is No More In Windows 8 456

MrSeb writes "Ahh, the Windows Explorer progress dialog. For years it has been struggling to figure out how to calculate how long our copy and delete operations would take, sliding the progress bar back and forth in a seemingly random, haphazard way, the laws of time all but ceasing to exist — five seconds remaining one moment and 13 minutes the next. That's (almost) all going to change, with the arrival of a greatly improved file management experience in Windows 8. Copy, move, delete, rename, and conflict resolution are all being overhauled and it's about time!"
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Estimated Transfer Time Is No More In Windows 8

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  • Obligatory XKCD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supersloshy ( 1273442 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:08PM (#37194742)
    • XKCD612 was actually referenced in TFA. So, yes, I knew it was coming.

  • by kiehlster ( 844523 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:10PM (#37194766) Homepage
    1302481501461469 minutes until this feature is completed.
  • ... when it hits a locked / corrupted / moved file, as every version of windows has since year dot??/

    That alone would be a vast improvement and make all the file sync tools surplus...

    • by nstlgc ( 945418 )
      Didn't they fix that in Vista? Last time I can remember having a similar problem was in XP...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by SJHillman ( 1966756 )

        You can copy files in Vista? I've never had the system stable long enough to try that.

        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          You can copy files in Vista? I've never had the system stable long enough to try that.

          You can, but it takes so long that no-one has ever managed to copy a complete file.

    • This is the reason why I still don't use the explorer in windows, but a replacement. Try to copy/delete/move several files, if one of them is locked it will cancel the whole process.
  • by cyberchondriac ( 456626 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:10PM (#37194776) Journal
    It'll be replaced by a dialog box saying, "It's done when it's done"?
  • Teracopy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mehrotra.akash ( 1539473 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:10PM (#37194778)

    Perhaps they should just buy teracopy

    • by daern ( 526012 )

      Perhaps they should just buy teracopy

      Try Altap Salamander too - www.altap.cz. Cracking software, especially if you prefer to press keys rather than click buttons :-)

  • Finally catching up to ftp and kermit
  • by Godai ( 104143 ) * on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:14PM (#37194822)

    First, I've never seen the progress bar in a Windows file transfer progress bar slide 'back and forth in a seemingly random, haphazard way'. I've seen progress bars that do that, and but I've never seen a Windows file transfer dialog do that. The estimation can jump around like crazy at times, but the progress bar was always fine (since, I assume, it's simply based on # of files completed). Maybe Windows 98 did that? I don't remember it doing that, but its been a while. Certain XP, Vista & Windows 7 don't.

    Second, if you RTFA the estimated transfer time is currently still there; its just downplayed.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      "Second, if you RTFA the estimated transfer time is currently still there; its just downplayed."

      You read RTFA? Hand over you slashdot reader card!

    • The problem is that the progress dialog pre-Vista does not know how many files there are as it starts, so the progress bar may go quickly for a bit then slowly for another bit as it encounters folders with few small files and folders with many large files, respectively.
      • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        The bigger problem is that the first thing the GUI does when you want to copy the files is to go and see how many files there are and how large they are so it can estimate the amount of time it's going to take, and by the time it's done that it could just have copied the damn files in the first place unless they're enormous.

      • by greed ( 112493 )

        If the count isn't known, it shouldn't use a progress bar. What's the Windows version of the "barber pole" unknown-limits-but-not-crashed progress indicator?

        • by Godai ( 104143 ) *

          I know there is one, I just can't remember what it looks like. I have a vague sense that its a solid green bar (lighter in colour) with something bouncing back & forth, but I might be mixing it up with something else. I know it has one though, I've definitely seen it.

          And what's 0123456 was talking about is that I believe when its a large number of files it gives you the 'indeterminate' progress bar while it has some status like 'Calculating files to copy' or 'Preparing to copy'. But there are times when

    • It doesn't slide back and forth. What it does is jump from 0% to 99.9% complete in the first millisecond of copying, and then take 10 minutes to finish the last 0.1%.

  • by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:19PM (#37194904) Journal

    Wow, I guess I am out of touch with windows flaws. I quit running windows back at windows 3.1.

    Ill stick with Linux until windows is ready for the desktop. ;P

  • by eddy ( 18759 )

    I wish the transfer window created had a pause function, and was actually a queue so that I could queue up more files for the same action (copy/move).

    • I think that Gnome 2 did that. I use KDE and filed a feature request for it.

  • The real problem with incorrect reporting times is when you have a very large number of 10-100kB files to transfer. Windows spends a very long time starting up the transfer of a new file, and that is where I have seen the greatest slowdown and most inaccurate time estimates.

    Windows 7 performs better with smaller files, and provides a transfer rate indicator, but everyone already knows this.

    What a weird thing to take out...

    • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:39PM (#37195204) Homepage

      I think you meant to say "... performs better with larger files".

      You nailed it though. My big gripe with Windows it how it seems to spend more time fiddling with metadata / directory entries than the actual contents. On an SSD with 700mb/sec writes and 0.1 msec access times, I'd expect it to churn through a few thousand files per second at the very least. That's not even factoring the disk cache. All those MFT updates seem to drag it right back down to spinning-disk speeds when dealing with numerous small files. You know, like a source tree or a directory full of images.

      As sequential storage performance continues to improve, filesystem overhead is becoming the primary bottleneck.

      • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        Don't forget that Windows (at least XP) will also be busy swapping out the applications you're using so that it can cache the files you're copying in memory.

        Ah, the joy of moving 2GB files from one drive to another on an XP machine with 1GB of RAM and watching your web browser thrashing the disk as it desperately tries to swap itself back in while Windows is desperately trying to swap it out. I miss that so much.

  • Deleting folders with large numbers of files and sub-folders in Windows 7 takes inordinately long, far longer than rd /s. This is partly because it first scans the entire structure to count the files that will be deleted, so it can then try to estimate how long it will take for the delete to complete. The scan takes nearly as long as the delete itself! I hope they fix this in Windows 8.
  • in this version: the blue screen of death will now be a somber black screen
    federal agents need no longer work to violate your fourth amendment, the history vault and facial recognition make sure of that
    the windows app store is poised to offer features and products you never thought you needed. no really, please buy them
    cloud based roaming profiles put the shine on a classically bad idea
    and finally simple system reset means never having to bother with hard copies of the operating system you technically
  • Or at least *telling* the user that holding down shift key while clicking No accomplishes the same thing as a "No to All" button!

    • Have you ever tried telling a user to use a button to accomplish something? A small percentage of them will genuinely appreciate learning a useful new trick but majority's eyes will glaze over the moment they realize the keyboard is involved.

      • > Have you ever tried telling a user to use a button to accomplish something?

        The grand-parent is right. The way to do it is called a ToolTip or HoverBar over the Yes, or No button. (Of course, there needs to be an option in the Control Panel / System Preferences, to disable "UI Help".)

        It's not rocket science, just computer science. This is why computers -- namely the UI -- still suck ass. Because almost no one gives a shit about making the interface _friendly_ to people. The way we use computers is co

  • ... it looks like the new dialogs are going to include some useful diagnostic information in detailed view. Wondering why it went from 15 minutes to 2 hours? Oh, that's because the transfer rates dropped 90% around the time that I launched such-and-such a program. Maybe I shouldn't do that next time.

    Granted, my biggest criticism is that the copy process grinds to a halt every time Windows Explorer doesn't know what to do. They should either figure out the problem before the copy happens (which they can

    • They should either figure out the problem before the copy happens (which they can do in most of the cases where you want to merge folders or have identical file names) so that you don't have a half-botched job; or keep copying the files that can be copied in the background while you're waiting for input from the user on the troublesome cases. If Windows 8 fixes that problem, I'll be gleefully happy because I don't like babysitting copy operations.

      Other than cases where I'm cherry-picking files to copy, robocopy gets all my copying business.

      Microsoft could pretty much solve every file copying issue with Explorer by adding a shell extension that allowed you to right-mouse drag the files and choose "copy with robocopy".

  • Why does everything have to be an "experience" now? I'm not really looking for an experience from my workstation; what I have are a list of tasks that need to be completed. When I go on vacation is when I look for an experience. Why don't they concentrate on helping me get actual work done?
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Why don't they concentrate on helping me get actual work done?

      Because then why would you buy a new version of Windows when XP was perfectly fine for doing actual useful work?

    • there will be a special "professional" edition for people like you, and others who want to work with their computer.

      Ofc.. since it will be "professional" it will cost 2-3x the normal editions

  • Why not just go back to the file copy from XP ?

    It worked great until somone had the bright idea of rewriting it for the sake of it in Vista. It might say Windows 7 when it starts up, but it's still got big chunks of Vista underneath.
  • The MC folks should donate their progress bar code to MS. It's by far the most informative and accurate I've ever seen.

  • What about search? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CCarrot ( 1562079 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:56PM (#37195498)

    I'm still mad about the (basically) neutered search capability for desktop/LAN files in Windows 7.

    What used to be a consistent
    "right-click, choose 'Search', enter 'filename' OR 'phrase in file', tick off search parameters, optionally expand and enter detailed parameters, hit 'Search' button->Results"

    workflow has been 'simplified' to

    "enter your search string in this little text window and we'll search inside every goddamn file in this directory/subdirectory (oh, and across teh internets and rifling through your emails too, if you want!) for that search term, no matter how long it takes -> wait for freaking ever -> more results than you ever needed, or no results if it's a system file, not in an indexed location or Windows simply doesn't like it for some reason. Oh, you want additional search parameters? Good luck finding any besides filesize and date modified!"

    You used to be able to re-enable old-style search on Vista (somewhat), but I guess they thought it was too much of a dinosaur (or too useful, perhaps) to include in Win 7. Bah. Get off my lawn!

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter