Monday, January 18, 2010

Quick Tip: Speed Up File Transfers to External Storage

External hard disk enclosure from behind. On t...Image via Wikipedia
These days, you might often copy a video file over to an external drive so that you can take that drive to someone's house. The process can run quite slowly if you drag the video file into the destination drive's window but don't close it. Why is that?

In GNOMENautilus is trying to create a preview of the video file every time the file changes ... which is constantly. ;) Nautilus is therefore constantly pulling data from your drive and using CPU to create a thumbnail that will be discarded the next second. Since the bus is probably already saturated with outgoing data, Nautilus is causing all kinds of problems there.

Close the drive's window, and Nautilus won't do that, saving time and energy.


  1. January 18, 2010 4:26 PM

    Nice. I've also noticed this for torrents of video files, every few seconds nautilus will try to thumb all the files in the directory if you have it open.

    You could also disable thumb generation in preferences or (probably) navigate out of the destination folder if closing the window is not a good idea for the current situation.

    Perhaps there's a way to hack nautilus to detect when a file is being updated via copy (or torrent) and prevent it from thumbnailing those files? I know torrent modified time continuously changes, so that could be one method, but IIRC copy keeps the true modify date from the source file, so.

  2. January 19, 2010 6:30 AM

    If this is true, it should be reported as a bug.


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