Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

While it's fast (less than 2 minutes) I hate having to copy files from PC #1 onto a USB stick, and then manually popping it in PC #2 to copy the files to PC #2.

Dropbox is too slow in uploading and then downloading 2GBs (synching), it could take hours.

Copying 2GBs over the network is also slow because we're dealing with 10,000 little files that totals 2GBs, and not just one, giant 2gb file. Not sure why, but dealing with 10,000 little files makes the copy process much longer.

Is there any other method that I'm missing? Any ideas? I'm using Win7 on both PCs.

Edit: These files change every single night.

share|improve this question
    
Is most of the transfer original data, or are you transferring a lot of redundant data that already exists on the target system? If the latter, then something like rsync or deltacopy would reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred and speed up the sync process. –  Lèse majesté Apr 8 '12 at 18:20
add comment

12 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Two thoughts:

1) Reconsider Dropbox. After installing it, check preferences and ensure that the checkbox for "Enable LAN Sync" is checked. It'll then go direct to the two machines.

2) If you don't mind a command line, robocopy /mir would be a fast and easy way to do this with a quick batch file. The /mir argument tells it to make the destination target look like the source -- it won't copy stuff that hasn't changed so can dramatically speed up those copies.

share|improve this answer
1  
With robocopy, the /mt flag will use multiple threads for copying, significantly lowering the copy time. At work, we regularly copy much, much larger sets of data with many more files, and robocopy is our tool of choice, especially with /mt. –  Greg Jackson Apr 5 '12 at 18:34
3  
It's not pretty but disabling the real time checking in your anti-virus will speed up file copying a lot. –  Richard Apr 5 '12 at 18:50
1  
It'll then go direct to the two machines --> this is partly wrong, afaik. Dropbox first uploads the file to their servers, and only when that's complete do other computers start getting it (by LAN sync if possible). So you won't be downloading 2GB from the internet, but you'll still be uploading it. On the other hand, Dropbox has pretty good binary diff support, so if the files don't change too much it might still be fast enough. –  houbysoft Apr 6 '12 at 1:15
1  
I think you're right houbysoft. Here's a link I found from a Dropbox moderator saying as much: forums.dropbox.com/topic.php?id=16070. So, uploading 2GB to Dropbox's server is still much slower than just using a USB stick. –  phan Apr 6 '12 at 13:17
    
Once. (10 chars) –  Chris_K Apr 6 '12 at 15:24
show 1 more comment

Many individual file accesses will be slower than accessing one (or a few) large file(s). USB flash drives often have horrible access times, which compounds the problem. Here are a couple possible solutions:

  1. If many of the files don't change, you could use a file sync tool such as Unison, SyncToy, Robocopy, SyncBack, etc.
  2. If you usually do have a lot of changed files, you could store all the files in a TrueCrypt volume, which is an encrypted file container that you mount as a disk. Then you'll only be copying a single large file to PC#2 (and these days, it only takes a few seconds to copy a single 2 GB file).

Copying over a gigabit or 10Gb LAN (local area network) will probably be the fastest and most convenient transfer method, aside from storing the files on an external drive on PC#1 and connecting the external drive to PC#2 for the file copy operation.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 But it should be pointed out that storing all the files in a TrueCrypt volume would generally work against using a sync utility for smart file copying (unless frequently none of the individual files changed). –  martineau Apr 5 '12 at 18:25
    
Actually they were two separate suggestions, but I guess I wasn't very clear on that. Thanks; I'll clarify it a little better :) –  rob Apr 5 '12 at 20:27
    
+1 For thinking of syncing. –  chapkom Apr 5 '12 at 20:40
    
With a lot of changed files, this is what tar was designed for. It should be faster than TrueCrypt, too. –  Bob Apr 6 '12 at 1:36
    
@Bob: If the disk accesses are what's slowing things down, tar won't speed that up. In terms of raw performance, copying a 2 GB file container (which already contains all 10,000 files) will be faster than creating a 2 GB tar archive from the same 10,000. –  rob Apr 6 '12 at 4:41
add comment

You don't specify if the PCs are on a wired or wireless network. If you're using wireless, plug them both into ethernet ports on your router.

If your router is inaccessible or doesn't have ethernet ports, buy a cheap ethernet hub or switch. Even if the switch isn't connected to your main network, you can configure the wired network adaptors your PCs on a different network than their wireless adaptors.

And then look again at Dropbox's "Enable LAN Sync" as suggested by Chris_K

share|improve this answer
add comment

You could check out Deltacopy which is an rsync implementation for Windows. It's automated and supports incremental backup.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Actually 2GB over a modern network should be quite fast. It's all the small files that is the problem.

I suggest you have an automated script that does this:

  1. compress all files into a single archive on PC #1
  2. Copy the archive over your network onto PC #2
  3. uncompressed archive on PC #2

Uncompressing archives should be plenty speedy on a moderate computer. For scripting purposes you can use a combination of batch files, folder monitors, etc.

Simple solution, but should work well.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I would look at something like Goodsync. If it's automated it's irrelevant if it's slow.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Use SyncToy 2.1 (it copies only files that have been modified) and schedule the task. The files must be manually synched before you use the first time; use 'echo.'

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=15155

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks! This is helpful! –  phan May 8 '12 at 20:37
add comment

Check out this comment to a related Lifehacker article that suggests using Windows' "Offline Files" feature to quickly sync multiple files between computers.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks this is helpful! –  phan May 8 '12 at 20:38
add comment

If both computers have bluetooth you could try pairing them

share|improve this answer
add comment

Download windows live mesh from windows live essentials installer . And create an window live id ,they will provide 25 gb free online space for sharing and storage called Skydrive . Now share the specific folder of your documents or files in to online storage .

And the other end you can use same login id ( you have to configure the settings to enable multiple login option in your account settings. ) And just turn on the Windows live mesh on both computers and login then start the synch process over night.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Use USB to USB data transfer cable , Its easy and faster then other method

share|improve this answer
add comment

No one has mentioned TeraCopy, so I will offer it here. It will read files into memory staying ahead of the curve for the write requirements. You can often reach peak performance if you're going to and from different disks. If you are copying over the network, your saturation will be based on the weakest link in the network and how much congestion and/or disk activity either drives have. If the two computers are left to perform this single task with no one on the network, you can typically reach maximum network throughput. There are similar copy programs around, but I find this to be the most polished: http://codesector.com/teracopy

share|improve this answer
1  
Your answer appears to be truncated, so can you complete it? Also, can you add a link to the TeraCopy website and provide a description of the program? –  DragonLord Oct 11 '12 at 5:18
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.