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In some programs percentage of copying large files get to 100% very fast and then I'm waiting much more before it goes next step.

It's caused by buffer. How to I see amount of data that are going to be written?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The term for that is "dirty" data (data that has been changed, but not yet flushed to permanent storage).

On Linux you can find this from /proc/meminfo under Dirty:

$ cat /proc/meminfo | grep Dirty
Dirty:               0 kB
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For interactive CLI view on Linux I would recommend dstat.

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