How to Transfer Files With Robocopy on Windows?

How to Transfer Files With Robocopy on Windows: Complete Guide

To transfer files using Robocopy on Windows, follow these steps:

  • Open Command Prompt: Press Win + R, type “cmd” in the dialog box, and press Enter.
  • Navigate to the Directory: Use the cd command to navigate to the directory where the files you want to transfer are located. For example:
    cd C:\SourceDirectory
  • Run Robocopy Command: Use the Robocopy command with appropriate options to transfer files. The basic syntax is:
    robocopy source destination [files] [options]

    For example:

    robocopy C:\SourceDirectory D:\DestinationDirectory /E

    This command will copy all files and subdirectories from C:\SourceDirectory to D:\DestinationDirectory.

  • Review Available Options: Robocopy provides various options to customize the copying process according to your requirements. Some commonly used options include:
    • /E: Copies subdirectories, including empty ones.
    • /Z: Copies files in restartable mode.
    • /R:n: Specifies the number of retries on failed copies (default is 1 million).
    • /W:n: Specifies the wait time between retries (default is 30 seconds).
    • /LOG:file: Writes status to the specified log file.
    • /MIR: Mirrors a directory tree (deletes files in the destination if they are not in the source).
  • Execute the Command: Once you have specified the appropriate options, press Enter to execute the Robocopy command. Robocopy will start copying the files from the source directory to the destination directory.
  • Monitor Progress: Robocopy will display progress as it copies the files. You can monitor the progress in the Command Prompt window.
  • Verify Completion: Once Robocopy has finished copying the files, it will display a summary of the operation, including the number of files copied, the number of directories copied, and any errors encountered during the process.
  • Check Destination Directory: After the transfer is complete, verify that the files have been successfully copied to the destination directory. Read about How to Unfriend Someone on Discord

That’s it! You have successfully transferred files using Robocopy on Windows.


Robocopy was first introduced with the Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit and has since become a built-in feature in Windows operating systems. Its primary purpose is to facilitate large-scale file transfers with reliability and speed. Unlike traditional copy commands, Robocopy is optimized for handling networked environments, ensuring that file transfers are resilient to interruptions and errors.

Robocopy /MT on Windows 10
Robocopy /MT on Windows 10

Understanding Robocopy’s Purpose

Backup and Synchronization

One of Robocopy’s core functions is to facilitate backup operations. It can efficiently replicate files and directories, ensuring that critical data is safeguarded against loss or corruption. Additionally, Robocopy excels at synchronizing folders, ensuring that the contents of the source and destination are kept identical.

Robust File Copying

As its name suggests, Robocopy is designed for robustness. It can handle network disruptions, file conflicts, and other common issues encountered during file transfers. With built-in error recovery mechanisms, Robocopy ensures that transfers are completed reliably, even in adverse conditions. Discover about How to Connect Chromecast to WiFi

Installing Robocopy

Robocopy comes pre-installed with modern versions of Windows, eliminating the need for separate installation steps. However, if you’re using an older version of Windows or need to update Robocopy, you can download it from the Microsoft website or obtain it through the Windows Server feature installation.

Basic Syntax and Commands

Source and Destination

The basic syntax of Robocopy follows the pattern robocopy [options]. Here, represents the directory you want to copy from, while is the target location where files will be copied to.

Options and Switches

Robocopy offers a wide range of options and switches to customize its behavior. These include specifying file attributes, excluding certain files or directories, and controlling the copying process.

Using Robocopy for File Transfer

Simple File Copy

To perform a basic file copy operation, you can use the command robocopy . This will copy all files from the source directory to the destination directory, preserving file attributes and timestamps.

Copying Entire Directories

Robocopy excels at copying entire directory structures efficiently. By default, it will replicate the entire folder hierarchy along with its contents, ensuring that the destination mirrors the source precisely.

Advanced Robocopy Techniques

Multi-Threaded Copying

Robocopy supports multi-threaded copying, allowing it to utilize multiple processor cores for faster transfers. This can significantly accelerate file transfers, especially when dealing with large datasets.

Mirror Mode

Mirror mode is a powerful feature of Robocopy that ensures the destination exactly matches the source. It will remove any files from the destination that no longer exist in the source, effectively synchronizing the two locations.

Monitoring and Logging

Progress Indicators

During file transfers, Robocopy provides detailed progress indicators, allowing you to track the status of the operation in real-time. This includes information such as the number of files copied, the transfer speed, and the estimated time remaining.

Log Files

Robocopy can generate log files that document the details of each file transfer. These logs are invaluable for troubleshooting purposes, providing insight into any errors or warnings encountered during the copying process.

Error Handling and Retries

Robocopy includes robust error handling mechanisms to ensure that file transfers are completed successfully. In the event of a network interruption or file conflict, Robocopy will automatically retry the operation, minimizing the risk of data loss.

Automating Robocopy Tasks

Task Scheduler Integration

You can automate Robocopy tasks using the Windows Task Scheduler. This allows you to schedule file transfers to occur at specific times or intervals, ensuring that backups are performed regularly without manual intervention.

Batch Scripting

For more complex scenarios, Robocopy commands can be scripted using batch files. This provides greater flexibility and allows you to customize the copying process according to your specific requirements.

Window 10
Window 10

Best Practices for Efficient File Transfers

To maximize the efficiency of file transfers with Robocopy, consider the following best practices:

  • Use multi-threaded copying for large datasets to leverage the full power of your hardware.
  • Monitor log files regularly to identify and address any errors or warnings promptly.
  • Experiment with different options and switches to optimize the copying process for your particular use case.


Robocopy is an indispensable tool for transferring files on Windows, offering unparalleled reliability and performance. Whether you’re backing up important data or synchronizing folders across networked environments, Robocopy provides the robustness and flexibility you need to get the job done efficiently.


  • How does Robocopy differ from traditional copy commands?
    • Robocopy offers advanced features such as multi-threaded copying, error handling, and synchronization capabilities, which are not available in standard copy commands.
  • Can Robocopy resume interrupted transfers?
    • Yes, Robocopy can resume transfers from where they left off, ensuring that large file transfers are not disrupted by network interruptions or other issues.
  • Is Robocopy available for other operating systems?
    • Robocopy is a Windows-specific tool and is not available for other operating systems such as Linux or macOS.
  • Does Robocopy support copying open files?
    • Yes, Robocopy can copy open files using Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) technology, ensuring
  • Can Robocopy be used over a network?
    • Absolutely, one of Robocopy’s strengths is its ability to efficiently transfer files over network connections. Whether you’re copying files between servers or syncing directories across different computers, Robocopy handles network transfers with ease.

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