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I've recently noticed on my Windows Vista machine often when I copy/delete large files, the transfer will complete (0 bytes remaining or whatnot), yet the Windows Shell dialog box (displaying the file operation/progress/etc.) remains indefinitely. Cancelling does nothing except change that status to "Cancelling..." and the only solution is to kill explorer. This is a rather odd issue, which I'm pretty sure has occurred previously on another machine I used. Does anyone have any ideas what could be the cause here?

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i have long since given up on Vista file copy, even the patch didn't really fix the issue, i'm using TeraCopy instead: – Molly7244 Oct 2 '09 at 21:53

Issues like this are often caused by faulty security software such as antivirus/antispyware. Basically any software that installs a filesystem filter driver.

I would suggest trying in safe mode, if it works there then uninstall your security software and hopefully the problem should go away.

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It might be an illusion : Although the dialog says 0 bytes left, Windows may be busy emptying the system cache in order to finish the copy. If you have 2GB memory, the system cache can be near to 1GB in size, and if you have 4GB it's even larger.

So wait patiently and watch the disk lights - only when they stop blinking is the copy really finished. You can also watch what's happening by using Task Manager, Processes tab, and adding some I/O info columns to the display.

I note that killing a process that's got lots of queued I/O requests may abort them, meaning that the copy operation may not complete, so in effect your copies are thrash. You can test that by using a file-compare utility on source and target.

Oh, and you might also use a faster utility than explorer for copying, such as SyncBack.

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Emptying 1 GiB of cache should take in the order of 10 to 15 seconds to empty on today's hard disks. If the dialog remains indefinitely that probably hints at another problem. – Joey Oct 3 '09 at 0:15
We don't know how long "indefinitely" is. And it's preferable to analyze what's happening before killing explorer. – harrymc Oct 3 '09 at 7:30

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