Copy files faster in Windows with robocopy

Windows 7 and newer versions come 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 simultaneous 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. You can find a Robocopy Benchmark here.

32 thoughts on “Copy files faster in Windows with robocopy”

  1. 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:
    Get RichCopy:
    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]

    • Except that Richcopy doesn’t work for complex folder selections. “87 – The parameter is incorrect.” This when copying from one NTFS partition to another NTFS partition on a different drive. No support, with bugs, and cryptic error messages.

    • 2016Jun01: (from Joe Gervais; gervaisjoe using Google mail )

      Would be nice if ROBOCOPY or RICHCOPY could do the following;
      which Windows Explorer does:

      My suggestion is:
      Could an option be added to the ROBOCOPY command (or XCOPY or RICHCOPY)
      that would allow it to perform it’s copy of a file similar to how
      Windows Explorer performs when the file already exists?

      That is–specifically,
      to have the following options “when a file already exists”:
      1) Option to over-write the pre-existing file.
      2) Option to not over-write AND INSTEAD create a similar named file with
      “COPY (n)” appended to the filename–the same way, Windows Explorer does.

      With the above options on ROBOCOPY, a user would not be forced to use
      Windows Explorer to maintain a sequence of pre-existing files that have
      “COPY (n)” at the end of their filenames. So, ROBOCOPY would be a quicker
      batch-type approach to extending any set of files for which you want
      to maintain multiple copies of pre-existing files that have “COPY (n)”
      at the end of their filenames–for ‘n’ equal 1, 2, 3, etc.
      –the same type of filenames that Windows Explorer creates,
      but without having to use Windows Explorer to create the extra filenames.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 ?

  4. 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…

  5. 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.


  6. 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.

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


  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Got here from elsewhere that suggested Robocopy is better than Synctoy. I just did a robocopy /? to view the list of switches. How can this possibly be better than Synctoy when all one wants to do is create a copy of a folder/file on a backup drive? I’d never use most of those switches, and Synctoy is soooooooo very simple to use. I also wonder how people are working that they want to sync or copy right-to-left. I have my internal drive(s) onto which I store files, every so often I want back that drive up; copy left-to-right, working drive to backup drive. I never want to copy the other way, why would I? (Except to restore, of course) Seems to me if anyone’s using both disks for continual file storage, so that they must update in both directions, then they’re working in a most illogical manner.
    Further if you need this level of syncing and deleting in both directions then you’re better off using something like a Beyond Compare freebie. I began with DOS, and am very comfortable working in it, but why bother when suitable progs with GUIs exist?

    Why does the Submit button here precede the Captcha? Surely it should follow?

    • robocopy /? >> whatever location you want it to save it to, then filename.txt

      The >> is piping the information that is displayed in the window to a text file or whatever filetype you are looking for.

  12. To run robocopy at the command line, type cmd first to open the command line box. Then type your command and the results will not disappear.

  13. Hello,
    I suggest you to download new Long Path Tool software that simply allows you to work easily on Long Path files.
    Thank you.

  14. I had this problem for a long time.
    My friend recommended me LongPathTool for fixing this.
    I am skeptic with this king of tool but I was wrong.
    This tool can do anything.

  15. @Stringence

    The switch —> /m
    only copies files with the archive attribute set ( dump this )
    The switch —> /xo
    To only copy newer files.

    The switch —> /zb
    should be used when backing up system files that are locked or in use.

    Note: Try removing spaces in backup folder names try –>
    backup-folder or backup_folder instead

    Run as Admin —> The CMD prompt

    This code:
    robocoy C:source D:backup_source /b /e /copyall /xo

    This should do the trick.

  16. I tried TeraCopy but it came really short with files in long path name (more than 255 characters long in path). I needed to copy our photo archive files and used TeraCopy as it was recommended. I noticed later files in long path did not copy and it did not error on them. We were stuck between either paying big bucks to get an expensive replication software or find some other method. after hours of googling we ended up with GS Rich Copy which supports long path names. honestly it was easy to use and affordable. Hope this helps anyone looking to copy long file names. It is not free, but affordable!

  17. The main problem with Robocopy is that it crashes in between which leads to missing files. And who wants that? So I had to uninstall it. My friend suggested me to use GS Richcopy 360, this software helped me a lot in overcoming the problems which I faced earlier. The transfer speed is unmatched.


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