windows – Difference between xcopy and robocopy

windows – Difference between xcopy and robocopy

Robocopy replaces XCopy in the newer versions of windows

  1. Uses Mirroring, XCopy does not
  2. Has a /RH option to allow a set time for the copy to run
  3. Has a /MON:n option to check differences in files
  4. Copies over more file attributes than XCopy

Yes i agree with Mark Setchell, They are both crap. (brought to you by Microsoft)


XCopy return codes:

0 - Files were copied without error.
1 - No files were found to copy.
2 - The user pressed CTRL+C to terminate xcopy. enough memory or disk space, or you entered an invalid drive name or invalid syntax on the command line.
5 - Disk write error occurred.

Robocopy returns codes:

0 - No errors occurred, and no copying was done. The source and destination directory trees are completely synchronized.
1 - One or more files were copied successfully (that is, new files have arrived).
2 - Some Extra files or directories were detected. No files were copied Examine the output log for details. 
3 - (2+1) Some files were copied. Additional files were present. No failure was encountered.
4 - Some Mismatched files or directories were detected. Examine the output log. Some housekeeping may be needed.
5 - (4+1) Some files were copied. Some files were mismatched. No failure was encountered.
6 - (4+2) Additional files and mismatched files exist. No files were copied and no failures were encountered. This means that the files already exist in the destination directory
7 - (4+1+2) Files were copied, a file mismatch was present, and additional files were present.
8 - Some files or directories could not be copied (copy errors occurred and the retry limit was exceeded). Check these errors further.
16 - Serious error. Robocopy did not copy any files. Either a usage error or an error due to insufficient access privileges on the source or destination directories.

There is more details on Robocopy return values here:

The most important difference is that robocopy will (usually) retry when an error occurs, while xcopy will not. In most cases, that makes robocopy far more suitable for use in a script.

Addendum: for completeness, there is one known edge case issue with robocopy; it may silently fail to copy files or directories whose names contain invalid UTF-16 sequences. If thats a problem for you, you may need to look at third-party tools, or write your own.

windows – Difference between xcopy and robocopy

The differences I could see is that Robocopy has a lot more options, but I didnt find any of them particularly helpful unless Im doing something special.

I did some benchmarking of several copy routines and found XCOPY and ROBOCOPY to be the fastest, but to my surprise, XCOPY consistently edged out Robocopy.

Its ironic that robocopy retries a copy that fails, but it also failed a lot in my benchmark tests, where xcopy never did.

I did full file (byte by byte) file compares after my benchmark tests.

Here are the switches I used with robocopy in my tests:

 **/E /R:1 /W:1 /NP /NFL /NDL**.  

If anyone knows a faster combination (other than removing /E, which I need), Id love to hear.

Another interesting/disappointing thing with robocopy is that if a copy does fail, by default it retries 1,000,000 times with a 30 second delay between each try. If you are running a long batch file unattended, you may be very disappointed when you come back after a few hours to find its still trying to copy a particular file.

The /R and /W switches let you change this behavior.

  • With /R you can tell it how many times to retry,
  • /W lets you specify the wait time before retries.

If theres a way to attach files here, I can share my results.

  • My tests were all done on the same computer and
  • copied files from one external drive to another external,
  • both on USB 3.0 ports.

I also included FastCopy and Windows Copy in my tests and each test was run 10 times. Note, the differences were pretty significant. The 95% confidence intervals had no overlap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.