What are Xcopy and Robocopy? What are they used for and how to use them? This article on MiniTool Website will mainly show you the definition, differences and usage of Xcopy & Robocopy. If you are interested in how to transfer files with different tools in Windows 10, don’t miss it!

What will you do if you want to copy your files to another location? Normally, you may choose to make use of the basic copy command - Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V . Do you know that there are more advanced tools to do that? Today, we will introduce two Windows inbuilt command-line file copy utilities for you – Xcopy & Robocopy and their comparison will also be shown in the content below.

Part 1: Introduction of Xcopy and Robocopy

What Is Xcopy?

The Xcopy command is a very powerful extended copy because it allows you to copy several files or the whole directory trees from one directory to another and copy files across a network. It has three significant features: directly copying the directory, identifying updated files and excluding files based on file names and extensions.

What Is Robocopy?

Robocopy represents Robust File Copy which is a command-line directory or replication command for files in Windows. When you want to copy some files, Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V may meet your needs.

However, if you want to execute complex or large file copy operations, the basic copy command will not satisfy you because it will take you a pretty long time. In this condition, Robocopy is a good choice to transfer many large files more quickly and efficiently.

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Part 2: Xcopy vs Robocopy Windows 10

After knowing the definition of Xcopy and Robocopy, I will compare the two file transferring tools from five aspects: supported operating system, mirroring, attributes, monitoring and automation.

Xcopy vs Robocopy: Supported Operating System

For Xcopy, the operating system it supports includes Microsoft Windows, IBM PC DOS, IBM OS/2, MS-DOS, ReactOS and FreeDOS.

For Robocopy, it supports Windows XP/7/8/10/11 and other Windows operating systems later than Windows NT 4.

Xcopy vs Robocopy: Mirroring

Robocopy is used to mirror or sync directories while Xcopy does nothing about that. Robocopy can check the destination directory and delete all the files no longer in the main tree rather than copy all the files from one directory to another. In addition, it won’t copy the unchanged files to save your time.

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Xcopy vs Robocopy: Attributes

It is reported that both Robocopy and Xcopy support copying over the archive attribute on files. However, Xcopy only supports a few attributes while Robocopy can support copying all the attributes including security, owner, timestamps and auditing information. These attributes are rather important for you to maintain a proper directory structure especially when you are copying files as an administrator.

Xcopy vs Robocopy: Monitoring

As for monitoring, Xcopy is simpler and it even has no monitoring support.

However, Robocopy is able to take advantage of the /MON or /MOT command to monitor your files and directories. Take /MON:x and /MOT:y as examples - /MON:x copied the file to the destination with x or more changes and /MOT:y will help you to check the file every y minutes for any changes and then copy the files when there are some changes in it.

Xcopy vs Robocopy: Automation

When you want to create daily backups or do some large patch jobs which may take some time but without any interaction, automation is a pretty good choice. The /RH parameter in Robocopy enables you to set when the copies should be done instead of setting the time of the command as with Xcopy.

At the same time, the robocopy.exe process will be shown in the task list because it will check the clock to browse when to copy and it also contains logging with the /LOG:file option.

Part 3: How to Use Xcopy and Robocopy in Windows 10?

How to Copy Files & Folders Using Xcopy Command in Windows 10?

You can copy files and folders using this Xcopy syntax: Xcopy[source] [destination] [options] . The detailed instructions are:

Step 1. Press Win + S at the same time to evoke the search bar .

Step 2. Type cmd in the search bar to locate Command Prompt and right-click it to choose Run as administrator in the drop-down menu.

Step 3. Now, suppose that you want to copy a file called Source.reg from the News2022 folder of the C drive to the “ News ” folder of the E drive , enter the Xcopy command as follows:

XCOPY C:\News2022\Source.reg “E:\News” /I

copy files with Xcopy command

It is advisable to add quotation marks around the path to avoid any errors when the name of the file & folder is over 8 characters or contains spaces.