Since the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft has been aware of a problem affecting downloads using their web browser. Internet Explorer in Windows Vista will hang after it downloads a file, and begins to copy that file to the folder location. The same problem does not exist if Run is chosen rather than Save Target As when downloading a file. I have been having this problem myself, and have had my computer come to an almost grinding halt for sometimes 15 minutes when the Preparing to Copy function hangs. Here’s the window I see:

Here’s how Microsoft describes the problem in their August 29, 2007 Article ID : 931770:

On a Windows Vista-based computer, when you try to copy files from a server on a network, the copy process may stop responding (hang), and you may receive a message that resembles the following:
Calculating Time Remaining0 minutes remaining
This problem may occur only occasionally.

That’s really downplaying the problem. This happens to me 100% of the time when I download a file using Internet Explorer. I’ve tried Firefox, and had zero problems downloading files, so it’s not a Vista problem it’s an Internet Explorer 7 problem. I prefer to use Internet Explorer because it renders web pages better, but if you want to try Firefox you can click here to download it.
I filled out a form to get a hotfix from Microsoft, downloaded and installed the hotfix, but it didn’t work. I found a ton of other discussions that said the fix hasn’t worked for anyone. The hotfix files available are named Windows6.0-KB931770-x86.msu and Windows6.0_KB931770_x64.msu, for 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Vista. After installing the hotfix I couldn’t uninstall it, so I had to use System Restore to get rid of it. I wouldn’t want to find out later the hotfix introduced bugs of its own. It amazes me that Microsoft has not fixed this problem that has existed since the release of Vista. My suspicion is they won’t fix the problem until the first service pack release. I’m not willing to wait that long, but I still want to use IE 7. Fortunately, there is a solution to work around the download hang. The solution is called Internet Download Manager.
Internet Download Manager (IDM) runs as its own program showing only a green arrow icon in the tray, and IDM installs a plugin for IE that works automatically each time you download a file. In the main program window you can go into Options and choose to include, or exclude different file types that will be downloaded using Internet Download Manager. This program will also integrate with just about any other web browser as well, and with features like auto-resume on downloads, Internet Download Manager does have advantages that web browsers do not. Without this work around, this hang bug could have caused as many hours of lost productivity as spam.
Click here to download Internet Download Manager, and start enjoying Windows Vista again. I no longer see the Preparing to Copy message, because IDM handles all of my downloads now.
After IDM is installed you’ll only see the window below, but you can access the program to make changes to the configuration.

The window you see below is the main program window for IDM. You can access this window by clicking on the windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen, then All Programs, and finally clicking Internet Download Manager.

I used IDM many years ago, and thought it was useless since IE could already do downloads on its own, but after experiencing the Preparing to Copy hang bug, and seeing that Microsoft won’t fix it anytime soon, I’ve come to appreciate a program helper like IDM again. If this bug affects you, don’t keep wasting your time looking to fix IE, just click here and download Internet Download Manager. Once Microsoft releases their first Windows Vista service pack, IE might get fixed. IDM has features however, that IE will never have, and it has a very low memory footprint, so you might just want to keep using IDM. Best of all IDM is free.