Understanding Robocopy

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated September 25, 2017)

1

Robocopy (a made-up program name meaning Robust File Copy) is a command-line utility that comes with Windows. When you're doing a lot of file management, you need something more powerful than what is provided through Windows Explorer or File Explorer. Robocopy is one alternative. It does require some typing instead of clicking, but its increased set of functionality more than offsets any inconvenience this may cause.

One of the first things you should know is that Robocopy is designed to work with directories more so than with individual files (although it can still deal with both). Another thing to be aware of is the multitude of options (or switches) that can be used to augment Robocopy's behavior.

The basic syntax for a Robocopy command is:

Robocopy source destination [file [file]...] [options]

Since it was designed to deal with directories, both the source and destination parameters are specified as "drive:\path" or "\\server\share\path". The file parameters are literal file names, and you can use the "?" and "*" wildcards if needed. The optional options parameter consists of switches that you can specify to augment Robocopy's behavior. For example, if you want Robocopy to execute in restartable mode you would specify the /Z switch.

The power of Robocopy lies in knowing the options and how to use them. See other Tips on Robocopy for some examples of specific actions that are common among Robocopy users. To see what all options are available and what they do, type "Robocopy /?" at a command prompt, and begin to experiment.

 This tip (13186) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Using Folder Templates

Windows is highly customizable. One way you can customize it is by changing what the File Explorer looks like. This can ...

Discover More

Using the Task Scheduler from the Command Line

In another tip you learned a bit about the Windows Task Scheduler. There may be times, however, when you want to perform ...

Discover More

Creating a Custom View in the Event Viewer

Creating a custom view in the Event Viewer allows you quick access to those events you're interested in watching over ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Configuring Windows to Do Backups on a Schedule

Performing regular backups of your system offers you peace of mind because you don't have to worry about data loss in the ...

Discover More

Using Robocopy with File Sizes and Ages

Robocopy is a robust file copy utility built into Windows. The various switches built into the program provide very ...

Discover More

Creating a Bootable USB Flash Drive

If your hard disk becomes problematic to the point where you can't even boot from it, you'll be glad you have a bootable ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 5?

2018-05-04 06:08:26

Ginni

GS Richcopy 360 boasts several impressive features, most notably a smart drive letter detection that recognizes your thumb drive even if it's assigned a different letter each time.recomended.


Newest Tips