Robust File Copy

What Does Robust File Copy Mean?

Robust file copy (robocopy) is a special file and directory copy command used in the command line of the Windows OS. Robocopy became part of the Windows Resource Kit with Windows NT 4.0. With the arrival of Windows Vista, robocopy became a standard part of Windows. This command is quite different from the usual copy and xcopy commands that come with Windows as it is designed to be more reliable in mirroring or copying folders or directories of any size.

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Techopedia Explains Robust File Copy

Robust file copy is very efficient at mirroring files or directories, and even ensures that all attributes, time stamps, properties and NTFS ACLS are copied. However, security information must be explicitly set to copy as it does not copy by default. Robocopy even works over network sessions that may be subject to disruptions as it has a "resume copy" feature. This comes in very handy when copying large or multiple files over the network.

Here are a few copy options available to robocopy:

  • /S – Copies subdirectories, excluding empty ones
  • /LEV:n – Copies the higher "n" levels from the source
  • /Z – Restartable mode
  • /B – Backup mode
  • /ZB – Restartable mode; otherwise backup mode
  • /SEC – Copies with security
  • /COPYALL – Includes all file info while copying, including security info
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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.