Something I find frustrating when performing more than one simultaneous copy operation to a USB stick is the terrible slowness. Copying one file at a time works a treat, as does copying multiple files in one go, but dare to ask it to do some real IO (such as copying a handful of movies and a handful of TV programmes at the same time) and you’re in for a wait. A long wait.
It doesn’t matter whether you use the GUI or the command line, it’s going to take a long time to perform the copy of all those files if you’re asking it do do it all in parallel.
In my opinion, Linux should make exception for this and force sequential copying of single files until the two (or more) jobs are done. Queue them up and perform each individual request before moving on to the next one. It may as well, it’s ultimately faster, and I personally resent every surplus minute spent sat in front of a computer waiting for something to complete before I can kick off the next job.
By using the command line, you can CTRL-Z the cp command to pause it, then fg or bg the process again once the running one has completed, but copying multiple files from different directories IS easier using a GUI file manager.
Enter dolphin – The KDE File Manager and my file manager of choice. It supports split screen a’la Midnight Commander for those who remember it, as well as immediate access to a terminal if required, each time you open a new folder. It’s finest hour though, is when you select two or more batches of files and start copying them to a single USB device. Unlike every other file manager on the planet which just presents you with a Cancel option and the afore mentioned long wait, dolphin has a pause button on each copy progress dialog and as each copy completes, so it’ll automatically resume the next one – so you can pause them all (bar one) and walk away too!
You can use dolphin irrespective of desktop environment. I use it on XFCE for a delightful experience combining overall simplicity but with the functionality I need.
Install it with sudo apt-get install dolphin