Robust File and Folder Copy.
By default Robocopy will only copy a file if the source and destination have different time stamps or different file sizes.

      ROBOCOPY Source_folder Destination_folder [files_to_copy] [options]

   file(s)_to_copy : A list of files or a wildcard.
                          (defaults to copying *.*)

  Source options
                /S : Copy Subfolders.
                /E : Copy Subfolders, including Empty Subfolders.
 /COPY:copyflag[s] : What to COPY (default is /COPY:DAT)
                      (copyflags : D=Data, A=Attributes, T=Timestamps
                       S=Security=NTFS ACLs, O=Owner info, U=aUditing info)
                     File Data (D) always includes file Timestamps (T).
              /SEC : Copy files with SECurity (equivalent to /COPY:DATS).
          /DCOPY:T : Copy Directory Timestamps.
          /COPYALL : Copy ALL file info (equivalent to /COPY:DATSOU).
           /NOCOPY : Copy NO file info (useful with /PURGE).

                /A : Copy only files with the Archive attribute set.
                /M : like /A, but remove Archive attribute from source files.
            /LEV:n : Only copy the top n LEVels of the source tree.

         /MAXAGE:n : MAXimum file AGE - exclude files older than n days/date.
         /MINAGE:n : MINimum file AGE - exclude files newer than n days/date.
                     (If n < 1900 then n = no of days, else n = YYYYMMDD date).

              /FFT : Assume FAT File Times (2-second date/time granularity).
                     Use this when copying files to a linux NAS or other non-windows file system.

              /256 : Turn off very long path (> 256 characters) support.

  Copy options
                /L : List only - don’t copy, timestamp or delete any files.
              /MOV : MOVe files (delete from source after copying).
             /MOVE : Move files and dirs (delete from source after copying).
               /sl : Copy file symbolic links instead of the target [see notes below].
                /Z : Copy files in restartable mode (survive network glitch).
                /B : Copy files in Backup mode.
                /J : Copy using unbuffered I/O (recommended for large files). ##
        /NOOFFLOAD : Copy files without using the Windows Copy Offload mechanism. ##
               /ZB : Use restartable mode; if access denied use Backup mode.
           /EFSRAW : Copy any encrypted files using EFS RAW mode.

  Performance tweaks

            /IPG:n : Inter-Packet Gap (ms), to free bandwidth on slow lines.
           /MT[:n] : Multithreaded copying, n = no. of threads to use (1-128)
                     default = 8 threads, not compatible with /IPG and /EFSRAW
                     Redirecting output using /LOG is recommended for even better performance.

              /R:n : Number of Retries on failed copies - default is 1 million.
              /W:n : Wait time between retries - default is 30 seconds.
              /REG : Save /R:n and /W:n in the Registry as default settings.
              /TBD : Wait for sharenames To Be Defined (retry error 67).

   Destination options

    /A+:[RASHCNET] : Set file Attribute(s) on destination files + add.
    /A-:[RASHCNET] : UnSet file Attribute(s) on destination files - remove.
              /FAT : Create destination files using 8.3 FAT file names only.

           /CREATE : CREATE directory tree structure + zero-length files only.
              /DST : Compensate for one-hour DST time differences.
            /PURGE : Delete dest files/folders that no longer exist in source.
              /MIR : MIRror a directory tree - equivalent to /PURGE plus all subfolders (/E)

   Logging options

                /L : List only - don’t copy, timestamp or delete any files.
               /NP : No Progress - don’t display % copied.
          /unicode : Display the status output as Unicode text.
         /LOG:file : Output status to LOG file (overwrite existing log).
      /UNILOG:file : Output status to Unicode Log file (overwrite)
        /LOG+:file : Output status to LOG file (append to existing log).
     /UNILOG+:file : Output status to Unicode Log file (append)
               /TS : Include Source file Time Stamps in the output.
               /FP : Include Full Pathname of files in the output.
               /NS : No Size - don’t log file sizes.
               /NC : No Class - don’t log file classes.
              /NFL : No File List - don’t log file names.
              /NDL : No Directory List - don’t log directory names.
              /TEE : Output to console window, as well as the log file.
              /NJH : No Job Header.
              /NJS : No Job Summary.

 Repeated Copy Options
            /MON:n : MONitor source; run again when more than n changes seen.
            /MOT:m : MOnitor source; run again in m minutes Time, if changed.

     /RH:hhmm-hhmm : Run Hours - times when new copies can be started.
               /PF : Check run hours on a Per File (not per pass) basis.

 Job Options
      /JOB:jobname : Take parameters from the named JOB file.
     /SAVE:jobname : SAVE parameters to the named job file
             /QUIT : QUIT after processing command line (to view parameters). 
             /NOSD : NO Source Directory is specified.
             /NODD : NO Destination Directory is specified.
               /IF : Include the following Files.

Advanced options
/SECFIX : FIX file SECurity on all files, even skipped files. When using /SECFIX, specify the type of security information you want to copy by also using one of these options: /COPYALL /COPY:O /COPY:S /COPY:U /SEC /TIMFIX : FIX file TIMes on all files, even skipped files. /XO : eXclude Older - if destination file exists and is the same date or newer than the source - don’t bother to overwrite it. /XC : eXclude Changed files /XN : eXclude Newer files /XL : eXclude "Lonely" files and dirs (present in source but not destination) This will prevent any new files being added to the destination. /XX : eXclude "eXtra" files and dirs (present in destination but not source) This will prevent any deletions from the destination. (this is the default) Will also suppress listing extra destination files in the log. /XF file [file]... : eXclude Files matching given names/paths/wildcards. /XD dirs [dirs]... : eXclude Directories matching given names/paths. XF and XD can be used in combination e.g. ROBOCOPY c:\source d:\dest /XF *.doc *.xls /XD c:\unwanted /S /IA:[RASHCNETO] : Include files with any of the given Attributes. /XA:[RASHCNETO] : eXclude files with any of the given Attributes. /IS : Include Same, overwrite files even if they are already the same. /IT : Include Tweaked files. /XJ : eXclude Junction points from source. (included by default). /XJD : Exclude junction points from source directories. /XJF : Exclude junction points from source files. /MAX:n : MAXimum file size - exclude files bigger than n bytes. /MIN:n : MINimum file size - exclude files smaller than n bytes. /MAXLAD:n : MAXimum Last Access Date - exclude files unused since n. /MINLAD:n : MINimum Last Access Date - exclude files used since n. (If n < 1900 then n = n days, else n = YYYYMMDD date). /BYTES : Print sizes as bytes.
/X : Report all eXtra files, not just those selected & copied. /V : Produce Verbose output log, showing skipped files. /ETA : Show Estimated Time of Arrival of copied files. /DEBUG : Show debug volume information (undocumented)

## = New Option in Windows 8 and Windows 10.


By copying only the files that have changed, robocopy can be used to backup very large volumes.

If either the source or desination are a "quoted long foldername" do not include a trailing backslash as this will be treated as an escape character, i.e. "C:\some path\" will fail but "C:\some path\\" or "C:\some path\." or "C:\some path" will work.

If creating a progress logfile with /LOG , specify a destination directory that already exists, robocopy will create the file but will not create a log directory automatically.

Long FileNames

ROBOCOPY will accept UNC pathnames including long pathnames over 256 characters long. When copying a tree of multiple files and subfolders, if the destination folder has a longer name than the source folder, then it is likely some files will hit the 256 character limit.
Even when Robocopy successfully copies such files, other software may refuse to open them.

For compatibility with old software the User Profile folder contains a number of Junction Points, 'Application Data', 'My Documents', Recent, 'Send To' etc.
By default RoboCopy /S will follow a junction point in the source and copy the contents to a standard folder in the destination.

In the case of 'Application Data' on Windows 7 \Documents and Settings\%USER%\Application Data is a junction point to \Users\%USER%\AppData\Roaming, which in turn can contain the Application Data junction as a subdirectory.

In cases like this RoboCopy can create a recursive loop copying the folder into itself until the NTFS max folder name length of 32,767 characters is exceded. To avoid this use the /XJ or /XJD option.

Symbolic Links and Junctions

/sl Will copy symbolic links, this will copy a File Symbolic Link only, creating a new symbolic link at the destination.

For a Directory Symbolic Link, a Junction, or a Hard Link, RoboCopy will follow the source and copy the contents to a standard folder in the destination. For a backup program this is usually the desired behaviour.

To exclude Junction points from being copied you can use the options /XJ, /XJD, /XJF this will prevent the source files from being copied. The Junction Point itself will not be copied (either with or without these flags).

An NTFS junction point in the Destination will not be deleted by RoboCopy, if you select any options which delete from the destination (/purge, /mir) and the destination contains a junction, RoboCopy will blindly follow that junction and delete the contents.
The /XJ options do not affect this as they only exclude junctions from the source.

File Attributes [RASHCNETO]

These options accept any combination of the following letters, when several are specified, will match if any or all items match:

R – Read only
A – Archive
S – System
H – Hidden
C – Compressed
N – Not content indexed
E – Encrypted
T – Temporary
O - Offline

Multithreaded copying with /MT:n will improve performance until the network and file system latency become the limiting factor, /MT:4 is a good place to start testing.

To limit the network bandwidth used by robocopy, specify the Inter-Packet Gap parameter /IPG:n
This will send packets of 64 KB each followed by a delay of n Milliseconds.

Robocopy will fail to copy files that are locked by other users or applications, so limiting the number of retries with /R:0 will speed up copying by skipping any in-use files. The Windows Volume Shadow Copy service is the only Windows subsystem that can copy open files. Robocopy does not use the Volume Shadow Copy service, but it can backup a volume shadow that has already been created with VSHADOW or DISKSHADOW.

All versions of Robocopy will copy security information (ACLs) for directories, version XP010 will not copy file security changes unless the file itself has also changed, this greatly improves performance.

/REG Writes to the registry at HKCU\Software\Microsoft\ResKit\Robocopy

/XX (exclude extra) If used in conjunction with /Purge or /Mir, the exclude extra switch will take precedence and prevent any files being deleted from the destination.

/B (backup mode) will allow Robocopy to override file and folder permission settings (ACLs).

To run ROBOCOPY under a non-administrator account will require SeBackupPrivilege (backup files privilege), to copy security information auditing privilege is also required, plus of course you need at least read access to the files and folders.

ERROR 5 (0x00000005) Changing File Attributes ... Access is denied
This error usually means that File/Folder permissions or Share permissions on either the source or the destination are preventing the copy, either change the permissions or run the command in backup mode with /B.

Robocopy 'Jobs' and the 'MOnitor source' option provide an alternative to setting up a Scheduled Task to run a batchfile with a Robocopy command.


Simple copy of all files from one folder to another:

ROBOCOPY \\Server1\reports \\Server2\backup

Copy all .jpg and .bmp files from one folder to another:

ROBOCOPY \\Server1\reports \\Server2\backup *.jpg *.bmp

Copy files including subfolders (even empty ones /E)
If this command is run repeatedly it will skip any files already in the destination, however it is not a true mirror as any files deleted from the source will remain in the destination.

ROBOCOPY \\Server1\reports \\Server2\backup *.* /E

List files over 32 MBytes in size:

ROBOCOPY C:\work /MAX:33554432 /L

Move files over 14 days old: (note the MOVE option will fail if any files are open and locked.)

ROBOCOPY C:\work C:\destination /move /minage:14

Backup a Server:
The script below copies data from FileServ1 to FileServ2, the destination holds a full mirror along with file security info. When run regularly to synchronize the source and destination, robocopy will only copy those files that have changed (change in time stamp or size).


SET _source=\\FileServ1\e$\users

SET _dest=\\FileServ2\e$\BackupUsers

:: /COPYALL :: COPY ALL file info
:: /B :: copy files in Backup mode.
:: /MIR :: MIRror a directory tree

SET _options=/R:0 /W:0 /LOG:C:\batch\RoboLog.txt /NFL /NDL
:: /R:n :: number of Retries
:: /W:n :: Wait time between retries
:: /LOG :: Output log file
:: /NFL :: No file logging
:: /NDL :: No dir logging

ROBOCOPY %_source% %_dest% %_what% %_options%

Run two robocopy jobs at the same time with START /Min

Start /Min "Job one" Robocopy \\FileServA\C$\Database1 \\FileServeBackupA\c$\Backups
Start /Min "Job two" Robocopy \\FileServB\C$\Database2 \\FileServeBackupB\c$\Backups

Copy only permission changes (additions and removals) assuming we already have a copy of the data:
ROBOCOPY \\FileServer\C$ \\SVR-Backups\c$\Backups /E /Copy:S /IS /IT


Robocopy XP027 is a standard command in Windows 7 and above. Robocopy does not run on Windows 95, or NT 3.5. (Robocopy is a Unicode application). The Microsoft Robocopy GUI will install Robocopy XP026 to C:\Windows\system32, this version can can run on older OS's, and includes some features from XP027 (/BYTES) but has competely broken errorlevel handling.


Robocopy /MOVE or /PURGE can be used to delete empty folders by setting source and destination to the same folder, but this does not always deal with nested empty folders in a single pass. It will work if Windows Explorer is closed.

When copying files larger than 2 GB from some iSCSI/SAN volumes the copy operation may fill all available RAM and then stall out. This typically happens when the RAID virtual disk on the controller is set to write-through caching rather than write-back caching.
Copy utilities such as TeraCopy ($), ESEUTIL (exchange) and BITS will workaround this issue because they copy the file in blocks, however the cost of this is that copying smaller files may then be slower than using Robocopy. The /IPG option may help with this issue.

Version XP026 returns a success errorlevel even when it fails.

“One, a robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm” - Isaac Asimov, Laws of Robotics from I. Robot, 1950

Related commands:

Robocopy /MIR switch – Security changes added to Robocopy in Windows Vista.
Set-LastWrite - Reset Folder 'Last Modified' to the most recent file in the folder (PowerShell function).
DiskShadow - Copy open files (Shadow copies).
COPY - Copy one or more files to another location.
Robocopy GUI - Technet magazine (installs Robocopy XP026).
RichCopy free GUI copy utility - Ken Tamaru [MSFT].
DelTree - Delete subfolders and files / delete empty folders.
Convert KB/MB - Bits and Bytes, bandwidth calculations .
Q323275 - Copy Security info without copying files (/SECFIX or /COPY:S).
Equivalent PowerShell command: BITS cmdlets - Background Intelligent Transfer Service.
Equivalent bash command: rsync - Remote file copy (Synchronize file trees).

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