I had flagged that Windows 7 had trouble accurately calculating “time remaining” on large file (folder) transfer … way back on November 9, 2009 … the first time I had seen this problem. Given that my Windows 7 rig has a 4 core Intel i7-920 and 12GB of memory, Microsoft cannot really claim that lack of ‘computing resources’ was hampering its ability to dynamically update the status of the file transfer — even taking into account retries and the impact of these retries on completing the transfer.
Saw this problem again, graphically and distressingly, yesterday. Now that I am using 3 machines in parallel, one Windows 7 professional and two running XP Pro, I wanted to make sure that I had a master copy of my main folders on a USB key … for safe-keeping. I have a ‘no-name,’ 4GB USB key, that I got for free from newegg.com. It was part of some ‘rebate’ deal. I don’t think it is a very good key and I am sure it is slow. But, the price was right and I was brought up never to look a gift horse in the mouth.
I went ahead to copy my ‘MY WEBS’ folder that contains the the files for all of my dozen or so FrontPage 2003 Web sites. This folder contains 15,958 files and is 1.34GB in size. Not that big, but respectable.
When I initiated the folder copy, Windows 7 … after a minute or so … said I had 30 minutes remaining … on the transfer. That sounded a lot.
But, I watched. The progress bar was moving steadily but the “time remaining” stayed the same. Then it said 26 minutes. At some later point it said 14 minutes. By now the transfer had been going on for about 4 minutes. That USB key is slow and there were probably write errors on the key — necessitating retries.
Then it shot up to 40 minutes remaining. Yes, I am willing to concede that there might have been a spate of errors that made Windows 7 pessimistic.
But, shortly afterwards, with Windows 7 still showing xx minutes remaining, it was DONE. I checked. I got it all.
It had taken a grand total of 14 minutes.
This is 2010. Most FTP clients manage to get time remaining right … though I will concede that they are dealing with slightly slower transfer rates.
I just think that Windows 7 can do better. If not, this has to be something addressed by Windows 8.
I am a great believer in Lewis Carroll’s adage that a watch that is broken (and thus doesn’t run) is better than one that is one minute late, since the broken one will display the right time twice a day, while the one that is one minute slow will never display the right time. IF, Windows 7 really has problems estimating the time remaining, I would rather, it didn’t tell me anything. Just display a progress bar. I will work it out.