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Rich Copy

by Alan German

Recently, I needed to copy a folder, with several hundred sub-folders, and many thousands of individual files, from one external USB drive to another. While I expected this process to take some time, even when using USB 3.0, what I didn't expect is that I wouldn't be able to get it started.

It seemed simple enough; grab the source folder, drag and drop it onto the target drive. However, when I did this – nothing! That's right – no files being copied, no error messages – nothing!

A little research on the Internet suggested that perhaps one or more of the files being transferred was corrupt and that, if this were to be the case, Windows wouldn't give any warnings. In fact, Windows wouldn't do anything, which was certainly my experience. I'm not sure if this is a feature or a bug. The issue was identified several years ago, but it hasn't been fixed. It must be a “feature”!

The suggested solution is to use Rich Copy. This little-known program is one of those hidden gems, created by a Microsoft employee (Ken Tamaru in this case), released to the public with no support, and (seemingly) subsequently abandoned.

Fortunately, an article on TechNet Magazine extolling the virtues of this software is still posted on the web (, as is a link to download the last release (see the Bottom Line below).



Rich Copy is simple to use. Specify the source path for the folder(s) to be copied, the destination path for the target drive, and press the green “Copy Now” icon. However, there are also a number of options that can be selected for the copy process.

In particular, Rich Copy is a multi-threaded application so selecting multiple threads for directory search, directory copy, and file copy can greatly reduce file transfer times. Other features include the ability to specify default folders, move files rather than copying, and copying based on security settings, file size, or date-time stamp.

The program certainly worked its magic in my particular case. Most of the files were transferred successfully, while a number of corrupt items were identified in an on-screen log. Running chkdsk fixed all the corruption issues, which were related to indexing rather than file content.

So, if Windows ever refuses to copy a folder, but won't tell you why, give Rich Copy a try.

Bottom Line:

Rich Copy (Freeware)
Ken Tamaru
Microsoft Corporation

Originally published: March, 2015

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