Robocopy Examples

  • vnull
  • Pub Feb 10, 2023
  • Edited Feb 11, 2023
  • 5 minutes read

Robocopy Examples

Robocopy has many command line options and it can be overwhelming to know which commands to use.

In this post, we will take a look at how to ues robocopy to copy, mirror, purge Files and Folders.


 Usage :: ROBOCOPY source destination [file [file]...] [options]

             source :: Source Directory (drive:\path or \\server\share\path).
        destination :: Destination Dir  (drive:\path or \\server\share\path).
               file :: File(s) to copy  (names/wildcards: default is "*.*").

Naming Convention:

  • Source - src
  • Destination - dst

1. Test File Copy Without Changes

Test a file copy with the /L command.

/L :: List only - don't copy, timestamp or delete any files.

robocopy c:\src c:\dst  /l


 robocopy D:\DCIM C:\Users\rnall\Pictures\!Sort\DCIM /L

   ROBOCOPY     ::     Robust File Copy for Windows

  Started : Saturday, February 11, 2023 3:01:28 PM
   Source = D:\SRC\
     Dest : C:\DST

    Files : *.*

  Options : *.* /L /DCOPY:DA /COPY:DAT /R:1000000 /W:30


                           0    D:\DCIM\


               Total    Copied   Skipped  Mismatch    FAILED    Extras
    Dirs :         1         0         1         0         0         0
   Files :         0         0         0         0         0         0
   Bytes :         0         0         0         0         0         0
   Times :   0:00:00   0:00:00                       0:00:00   0:00:00
   Ended : Saturday, February 11, 2023 3:01:28 PM

Another test and include the /e option.

/E :: copy subdirectories, including Empty ones.

robocopy c:\src c:\dst  /e /l


            New File              12.1 m        20200614_103501.jpg
            New File               7.3 m        20200614_103503.jpg
          New Dir         16    D:\SRC\Camera\Move\
            New File               2.0 m        19700102_010635.jpg
            New File              455720        20121021_195230.jpg


               Total    Copied   Skipped  Mismatch    FAILED    Extras
    Dirs :         4         1         3         0         0         0
   Files :      2639      1731       908         0         0         0
   Bytes :  12.844 g   8.655 g   4.189 g         0         0         0
   Times :   0:00:02   0:00:00                       0:00:00   0:00:02
   Ended : Saturday, February 11, 2023 3:05:33 PM

2. Copy Contents Exclude Empty Subdirectories

Copy all the files and folders from c:\src to the folder c:\dst. This will exclude any empty subdirectories.

/S :: copy Subdirectories, but not empty ones.

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /s

3. Copy Contents Include Empty Subdirectories

Copy all the files and folders from c:\src to the folder c:\dst. This will include any empty subdirectories.

/E :: copy subdirectories, including Empty ones.

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /e 

4. Copy Contents With Security (ACL Permissions)

Keep permissions with /copy:DATS option. This does not copy owner information.

/COPY:copyflag[s] :: what to COPY for files (default is /COPY:DAT).

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /e /copy:DATS

Verify file permissions clis icacls

icacls Music
Music SNOW\grawity:(I)(F)

(OI) - object inherit files will inherit this ACE (CI) - container inherit containers – i.e. folders – will inherit this ACE (IO) - inherit only

Show owner with dir /Q c:\src

5. Copy Files With Security Including Owner

To include the owner of a file or folder use the /copy:DATSO command.

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /e /copy:DATSO

6. Copy All File Information

Copy all file properties use /copyall, this is equivalent to /copy:DATSOU. Based on preference to use /copyall instead of listing each property type.

/COPYALL :: COPY ALL file info (equivalent to /COPY:DATSOU).

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /e /copyall

Copy the following file properties:

  • D – Data
  • A – Attributes
  • T – Timestamps
  • S – NTFS access control list (ACL)
  • O – Owner information
  • U – Auditing information

7. Mirror Source and Destination Directory

Mirror the source and destination directory.Changes made in the source directory will be mirrored in the destination. For example, add/remove a folder in the source, the same will occur in the destination.

/MIR :: MIRror a directory tree (equivalent to /E plus /PURGE).

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /e /mir

8. Mirror Directory With All File Properties

Does not mirror the source directory file properties (ACL, owner, timestamp, etc). To mirror and include file properties use this command.

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /e /mir /copyall

9. Purge Files and Folders From The Destination Directory

Deleted a bunch of files/folders from the source and want to remove them from the destination folder, use the /purge option.

robocopy c:\src c:\dst /e /purge

10. Copy Files Over The Network

Copying files over the network is the same as copying locally. There are some additional commands that can help with the transfer of files over the network.

It is best to use the UNC path instead of a mapped driving when copying to a remote device.
/E :: copy subdirectories, including Empty ones.
/Z :: copy files in restartable mode.
robocopy c:\src \\srv\dst /z /e

11. Copy Files Over the Network with File Properties

Copy the ACL and other file properties use /copyall. To copy just the ACL use /copy:DATS.

robocopy c:\src \\srv\dst /z /e /copyall

12. Save Output to a Log File

Write the robocopy output to a log file use /log:logfile. This will overwrite the log file each time the command is run .

robocopy c:\src \\srv\dst /z /e /log:c:\logs.txt

13. Append To An Existing Log File

Use the /log+:logfile command to append an existing log file. This will be added to the log file each time robocopy is ran.

robocopy c:\src \\srv\dst /z /e /log+:c:\logs.txt

14. Multi-threaded File Copy (Increase Copy Speed)

By default, robocopy will use 8 threads. To increase the threads use the /mt command. The below example will use 32 threads.

robocopy c:\scr \\srv\dst /z /e /mt:32

15. Include Verbose Logging

Verbose logging will show skipped files. If copying critical files or migrating to a new server include verbose logging in the output or even better, include it in a log file.

/V :: produce Verbose output, showing skipped files.

robocopy c:\src \\srv\dst /v

Include verbose logging with a log file.

robocopy c:\src \\srv\dst /v /log:c:\logs.txt

18. Copy Files That Start With

Copy files that start with a specific character or word. For example, copy all files that start with the word “file”.

robocopy C:\src \\srv\dst file*

19. Exclude a Directory

To exclude a directory use the /XD option.

robocopy C:\src \\srv\dst /XD /e "c:\src\accounting"

20. Copy Files That are at least 14 Days Old

This will copy files that have a timestamp that is at least 14 days old.

robocopy C:\src \\srv\dst /minage:14

21. Copy Files with Specific Size

This will copy files that do not exclude 2000 bytes.

robocopy C:\src \\srv\dst /S /MAX:2000


That is a good start. To learn more about the many robocopy commands check out the Microsoft Syntax documentation.

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