Copy files faster in Windows 7 with robocopy

Thursday, January 14, 2010 posted by Till

Windows 7 comes with a new version of the robocopy command that is able to copy files much faster then the normal copy command or copy function of the file explorer by using several simultanious threads. So if you plan to copy a large number of files, e.g. to make a backup, use the robocopy command.

Example Copy files from C:\myFiles to F:\backup and use 10 simultanious threads. To execute robocopy, open the windows shell window or press the keys [Windows] + [R] to open the windows command line, then enter the command:

robocopy C:\myFiles F:\backup /MT:10

To get the full list of robocopy options, execute the command:

robocopy /?

For Windows XP or Vista, you can get the robocopy command from the Microsoft Resource Kit Tools

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18 Responses to “Copy files faster in Windows 7 with robocopy”

  1. Shane Turner says:

    I found a GUI for robocopy called RichCopy after reading this post:

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

  2. 1nonyms says:

    Why use this antiquated technology?
    And who cares about DOS console programs that require unnecessary typing and learning curves nowadays?
    The best in the business is… RichCopy. And guess what, it’s 100% free for NTx [2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7] Windows users, and was developed by a MS employee in Japan. ;)
    Advertised by MS themselves, nonetheless:
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx
    Get RichCopy:
    http://blogs.technet.com/ken/
    I’ve compared RichCopy to most other similar free(ware)/GPL//open source/shareware/crippleware/free to try tools [FastCopy, SuperCopier, WinMend File Copy, KillCopy, Copy-All-to-One, Copy Handler, TeraCopy, XXCopy, RoboCopy + Ycopy], and it is the best. Most others are either missing important features or having flaws/defects, especially if copying large size files and/or too many files.
    Windows Explorer (installed on every 32-bit + 64-bit Windows PC since Win95), for example, is one of the buggiest.

    HTH [hope this helps]

  3. Till says:

    If you are doing admin tasks regularily, you might find out that the shell is sometimes a faster way to do things then using a gui tool. This was even recognized by Microsoft so they implemented a better shell in the latest windows releases which is much more advanced then the old dos box.

  4. Just curious why multiple threads increases the file copying performance. When doing file copying then the HDD is usually the bottleneck not the CPU. Do you have a link with more details about this, maybe some tests ?

  5. Till says:

    I did not found robocopy benchmarks, so I did my own tests. The results are here:

    http://www.faqforge.com/windows/robocopy-single-and-multithreaded-benchmark-on-windows-7/

  6. Tech Maish says:

    Ahh thanks for this. Very useful tip.

  7. BillF says:

    Sometimes the command line tool, in combination with a batch file makes the most sense…

    I have a thumb drive i use to backup my most critical files… the ones I use at home on my Macbook and at work on my Windows XP machine… (yes, my company is a little slow in updating)…

    I use a batch file with robocopy to sync with a subfolder at work, and then us rsync in a small shell file on the Mac to do the same thing…

    that way, I can edit a file in either place, and just by clicking on the batch file in Windows Explorer, it syncs automagically…

  8. Mark says:

    I use copyrite xp.

    It’s a GUI for configuring the job but when you run the job it shells Robocopy.
    The command prompt window is hidden by default but you can show it if you want.

    I really like how I can use the GUI to configure all the switches then save as a bat file to run completely GUI free.

    Not free though but well worth the 20 bux I paid.

    Mark

  9. gordon says:

    I found that robocopy was superior to RichCopy a year back. I had difficulty copying files that are in very deep folders and long file names. robocopy would do this for me.

  10. hr says:

    richcopy is just a gui for robocopy

  11. joe smith says:

    I have thired roby copy command line inn the past and would be very much interested in trying the new gui based versio.

    Regards,

  12. joe smith says:

    this would be a much for usually friend vesion to the previous dos base vesion

  13. Orman says:

    I found the same issue that Gordon had. I went back to robocopy.

  14. Stringence says:

    Hello friends,

    In Win 7 I´m trying to backup my personal files on C:\ to a USB-flash.

    I want to copy files if they don´t exist on the backup USB-flash, update if they’ve been changed to a newer version on C:\.

    ROBOCOPY “C:\Användare\Michael\Mina dokument” “H:\Mina dokument” /copyall /e /m /zb /mt:10

    Doesn´t work att all.

    I’m denied access, and ROBOCOPY suggests using /mir. It also warns that /mir sometimes delete files in source, as well as copy. In other words, don’t use /mir.

    What is the correct command line, where am I going wrong?

  15. Michael S says:

    I’ve used RoboCopy with powershell and the Long-Path Module (Experimental.IO) to catalogue massive data structures and fix LFP. Using .NET runspaces to multi-thread the MD5 hashing it tears through the data.

  16. Hana Moukalled says:

    We love robocopy but we had issues trying to get some arguments to work like date or the fact it actually deleted data from our source… (just was crazy).
    We ended up going with a similar utility which can also copy open and locked files from command line and does differenal copies.
    The tool we found is gscopypro by gurusquad. Highly recommend.
    Good luck

  17. jayden82 says:

    Long path tool can helpful on this situation. Thanks

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