Specifying a Copy Schedule in Robocopy

by Barry Dysert
(last updated October 30, 2017)

You can use the built-in scheduling capability of Robocopy to specify a copy schedule instead of resorting to the Windows Task Scheduler to perform copies. There are actually a few different ways to use a copy schedule. When you specify the /MON:n switch Robocopy stays running and continually monitors the source directory for changes. When it detects that "n" or more changes have occurred to the source directory it implements these changes in the destination. (That is, when files get created in the source, the files are automatically copied to the destination.)

C:\> ROBOCOPY C:\Temp1 C:\Temp3 /MON:1

You exit the running of Robocopy by pressing the CTRL+C combination.

Similar behavior exists by specifying the /MOT:m switch. In this case, Robocopy stays running and performs another copy (if necessary) in "m" minutes' time if things have changed.

C:\> ROBOCOPY C:\Temp1 C:\Temp3 /MOT:1

So, with this command line, Robocopy looks for changes once every minute, and if there are any they are implemented. As before, press CTRL+C to stop Robocopy from running.

A third way of scheduling a copy is to use the /RH:hhmm-hhmm switch. This tells Robocopy that it can only copy files between the hours/minutes of the first "hhmm" and the second "hhmm". There are, of course, three scenarios here. If the timeframe specified with /RH has already passed, Robocopy will remain paused until the time occurs the next day. If the current system time is within the boundaries established with /RH then the copy occurs immediately. Finally, if the timeframe specified with /RH is in the future, Robocopy remains paused until the time occurs, and then the copy is performed. As an example:

C:\> ROBOCOPY C:\Temp1 C:\Temp3 /RH:1300-1400

This tells Robocopy to do its copying between the hours of 1300 and 1400 (1:00 pm and 2:00 pm).

 This tip (13219) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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