How to Fix a Freezing File Copy Progress Bar in Windows 10 & 11

Many users need to copy files between drives in Windows 11/10. However, problems can arise when copying files in Explorer. Users have posted on Windows forums about file copies freezing when trying to copy or move larger files to or from external storage devices. When this problem occurs, Explorer’s copy progress bar simply freezes (usually about halfway through) at zero bytes and never finishes.

This file copy problem has no visible error message. Because of this, users cannot copy selected files to external storage. Here’s how to fix files freezing while copying in Windows 11/10.

1. Check the space on your drive

First, check if the destination drive you want to copy to has enough space to hold them all. A lack of sufficient disk space may stop copying the file. You can check the storage space of an external drive as follows:

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  1. Plug the drive you are trying to copy files between into one of your PC’s USB ports.
  2. Hold down the Windows Keyboard key and press E to open File Explorer.
  3. Right click on your external storage and select it Characteristics Possibility.
  4. Look at the donut chart for your drive’s storage space General Tab.

If the available space on the drive is less than what you want to copy onto it, you need to free up some space. You can do this by deleting unnecessary user files on the storage device. Or uninstall unnecessary software you added if it’s an external hard drive.

2. Run a CHKDSK scan

Copying your files may fail due to hard drive errors such as B. bad sectors, freeze. You can repair hard drive errors on your external drive by running a CHKDSK (Check Disk) scan. To run a CHKDSK scan on an external drive using Command Prompt:

  1. Connect your PC to the external drive to scan.
  2. To access the search tool, press Win+ S.
  3. Enter the cmd search term within the Enter a field here.
  4. Choose Execute as administrator for the matching search result of the command prompt.
  5. Then type this CHKDSK command:
    chkdsk [drive letter]: /f /r /x
  6. Press Enter to run the chkdsk scan.

3. Disable Windows Search service indexing

Although indexing improves search efficiency, it can sometimes cause problems and delays when copying files. Therefore, it may be helpful to temporarily disable the Windows Search indexing service before attempting to copy files. You can disable this service as follows:

  1. Start Run and enter services.msc in the Open command box.
  2. Choose OK to display a Services window.
  3. double click Windows search to access the properties window.
  4. press the startup type drop down menus Deactivate Possibility.
  5. Choose Stop Possibility.
  6. click Apply to save the new Windows search settings.
  7. Then try to copy the files with Windows search disabled.

4. Enable write caching for external drives

Write caching is a feature that can speed up drives by caching data. Enabling this feature could change the process of copying files. Follow these steps to enable write caching for your target drive:

  1. Make sure your target drive is connected to your PC.
  2. Open the Device Manager Control Panel applet. If you’re not sure how to access this utility, see how to open Device Manager.
  3. Click the arrow next to drives Category.
  4. Right click on your external drive and select it Characteristics.
  5. press the guidelines Tab.
  6. Choose Better performance > Enable write caching on the device checkboxes.
  7. Press the device properties window OK Button.

5. Disable remote differential compression

Users have said that disabling remote differential compression can fix the file transfer process. Remote Differential Compression is a Windows 11 feature for compressing data sent over a network. This feature can significantly delay file copying, especially between wireless drives. These are the steps to disable RDC in Windows 11:

  1. up the Enter here in the search box and type a Windows features Keyword.
  2. Choose Turn Windows features on or off Search result.
  3. Disable (disable) the Remote differential compression check box.
  4. Choose OK to switch off the disabled RDC function.
  5. Restart Windows 11 after disabling RDC.

6. Disable third-party antivirus

If you have a third-party antivirus tool added to your PC, disable the real-time protection of that software to ensure that it cannot interfere with the file copying process. Right-click on your antivirus tool’s system tray icon to display the context menu. There you will likely find a disable or disable setting for the utility’s antivirus. Select this option to disable the software and try copying files again.

7. Update the drivers for your storage drive

The file copying process might freeze because your storage drive has an outdated driver. So try to check for driver updates in the following steps:

  1. Connect your external drive to the PC you want to copy or transfer files to.
  2. Launch the Device Manager tool.
  3. Double-click the drive Category.
  4. Right click on your storage drive and select it update drivers.

    Then click Search for drivers automatically in the assistant.

If the wizard doesn’t detect a new driver, check the manufacturer’s website for your storage drive. This page likely contains software updates (a driver download section). If a new driver pack is available for your storage drive, select it to download it. Then install the new driver using the downloaded package.

8. Try copying files after Windows 11 clean boot

Clean boot starts Windows 11 with all third-party startup programs and services disabled. Configuring Windows to clean boot could eliminate a background process or service that conflicts with Explorer’s file copy process. Our guide to performing a clean boot will show you how to disable all third-party background programs and services in Windows 11.

After a clean boot, open File Explorer and try copying files again to see if the freezing issue persists. If not, something in the background previously caused the problem. By manually re-enabling startup items and apps one by one, you can determine which program or service is to blame.

9. Reformat the drive to NTFS

Problems copying files can also occur due to improperly formatted storage drives. Also note that drives with a standard FAT32 format cannot store individual files larger than four gigabytes. Reformatting your drive to NTFS (instead of FAT32) might fix copying files.

However, reformatting a drive will erase all data on it. Back up the drive to preserve the files on it before formatting. You can format a drive to NTFS as follows:

  1. Connect your target USB drive to a desktop or laptop.
  2. Open Explorer file management tool.
  3. Right-click the USB drive to select it format.
  4. Select NTFS in the file system drop down menu.
  5. Press beginning to format your storage device.

Have your files copied on Windows 10 and 11.

File freezing while copying is not an entirely uncommon Windows 10/11 issue and the possible solutions mentioned above will probably solve it in many cases. However, sometimes copying files may freeze due to drive failure. Therefore, some users may need to buy new spare drives to copy files from and when file copying stops working.

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