Nautilus should clearly indicate that a long-running large-data file copy is progressing

Bug #799601 reported by Stuart Langridge on 2011-06-20
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
nautilus (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: nautilus

If copying a large amount of data on a relatively slow network connection, it's impossible to see whether the copy is actually working or has frozen. For example, showing "17.2GB of 30GB copied (220k/sec), estimated time remaining 18 hours". If that copy process freezes, or the network drops out, it's almost impossible to tell that it's done so; the 17.2GB will eventually change to 17.3GB, but you have to watch the thing for 5-10 minutes to see that change. The progress bar will not move for the same amount of time, and that's even harder to detect a change in anyway. The average transfer speed also doesn't help; if you've had a long sustained transfer at 220k/sec (12 hours, say, so far) and the current speed is actually 6k/sec, the average won't change fast enough to be detected.

Note: this is not a call for some sort of "fake progress indicator", like a spinner, unless that spinner actually stops spinning if progress stops. I had to resort to dropping to the terminal and "ls -lR"ing the copying files to see if the size of one of them was incrementing (which is very hard, because you don't know which one is currently being copied and it may be in a heavily nested subfolder).

One obvious but user-hostile fix would be to show an actual byte count for amount copied (18253611008 bytes of 30GB copied) because you can see that changing. Another might be to change the "average speed counter" to much much more heavily weight recent changes to the speed, but it wouldn't be visible that that was actually the case and so would only help people who knew that nautilus did this. A third way might be to have a "details" expander which shows the name and byte count of the current file being copied (at which point this becomes fix 1, show the byte count, but hidden behind an expander).

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

As far as I can tell, the progress windows in Windows Explorer and the Mac Finder do not address this problem either. It might be interesting to research whether various FTP/SFTP clients address it.

I have updated my progress window specification to solve this problem without cluttering the window in the normal case: if the current item being moved/copied has stayed the same for at least five seconds, then the exact number of bytes moved/copied so far should appear alongside the item's name. <>

This bug needs upstreaming I imagine.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
summary: - Can't see that a long-running large-data file copy is progressing
+ Nautilus should clearly indicate that a long-running large-data file
+ copy is progressing
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. The issue you are reporting is an upstream one and it would be nice if somebody having it could send the bug to the developers of the software by following the instructions at If you have done so, please tell us the number of the upstream bug (or the link), so we can add a bugwatch that will inform us about its status. Thanks in advance.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

That's not something we are going to change in Ubuntu, it should be reported upstream instead

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Won't Fix
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