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How to Use Robocopy and Its Alternative to Transfer Files in Windows

Robocopy is a file replication command tool which enables you to perform large file copy operations. This post will show you some practices for working with Robocopy and teach you how to transfer files over the network in Windows 10 with Robocopy. It also introduces a powerful alternative to Robocopy - MiniTool ShadowMaker.

About Robocopy

Robocopy is a command-line tool built into Windows 10, but it’s been around for years, and it’s a powerful and flexible tool to migrate files extremely fast. Starting with Windows NT 4.0, Robocopy serves as part of the Windows Resource Kit. In Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Robocopy was first introduced as a standard feature. With more than 80 switches, Robocopy is a powerful enough tool to transfer files.

Best Practices

When you want to copy a few files, copy is always your choice. However, if you need to perform complex or large file copy operations, the process can take you a long time. Thus, if you want to transfer large files faster and more reliably, Robocopy is a great choice for you. 

Although Robocopy is useful, it is a bit complex to use. Therefore, this section will explain which switch you are likely to use most often.

  • Copying File Attributes
  • Subdirectories
  • Preventing Errors
  • Performance

To learn the specifics of each practice, check out the post.

Transfer Files over the Network Fast with Robocopy in Windows 10

Robocopy in Windows 10 includes features that allow you to quickly copy files, but you need a wired connection to get the best experience. The time it takes to complete the transfer will depend on driver performance and network connection speed. 

If you want to know how to use Robocopy in Windows to transfer files over the network quickly, here is the answer. You need to configure the file sharing on the source device firstly, and then you can perform the transfer on the target device. 

Configuring File Sharing in Windows 10

In order to copy files between two computers, file sharing must be enabled on the source device. Only with file sharing enabled, Robocopy can access and copy files from the target device. 

Follow the steps below to enable file sharing on the local network with the express settings.

Step 1: Open File Explorer in Windows 10.

Step 2: Find the folder with the files that you want to migrate. 

Step 3: Right-click the folder and then choose Properties

Step 4: Under the Properties section, click Sharing and click the Share… button

Step 5: Choose the Everyone group and then click Add

Step 6: Under the Permission Level part, choose the permission level you want the folder has. Read is selected by default, and it allows you to view and open your files. Read/Write allows you view, open, modify and delete the content of your sharing folder.

Step 7: Click Share to continue. 

Step 8: After receiving a message that says “Your folder is shared”, click Done and then click Close to exit. 

After you finish all the steps above, note down the folder path and the IP address of the source computer. 

Copy Large Files Fast Using Robocopy in Windows 10

Since file sharing is enabled on the source device, now you can start to copy the files with Robocopy in Windows 10 in the target device. 

Follow the steps below to copy files fast with Robocopy. 

Step 1: Type cmd in the search bar, right-click Command Prompt and then choose Run as administrator

Step 2: In order to copy the files over the network, type the command robocopy \\source-device-ip\path\to\share\folder C:\destination-device\path\to\store\files /S /E /Z /ZB /R:5 /W:5 /TBD /NP /V /MT:16. Now press Enter to execute the command.


Great Free Alternative to Robocopy in Windows 10

Although you can transfer files over the network with Robocopy in Windows 10, it is a little troublesome with these long and complex instructions. Besides, you have to be careful enough when you are using Robocopy because you can’t take a step back when you do something wrong. Sometimes, you may also not copy files with Robocopy.

Thus, you need a powerful free Robocopy alternative - MiniTool ShadowMaker, a piece of backup software. With the Backup function of it, you can easily and safely transfer files to network.

MiniTool ShadowMaker not only allows you to back up and restore files, partitions, OS and disks, but also enables you to clone the whole hard disk. It is also a piece of file sync software which enables you to sync files and folders. Besides, when your computer can’t boot normally, you can also restore system to a normal state by using a created bootable media with the Media Builder function of it. 

Robocopy VS MiniTool ShadowMaker

Easy Steps

As you can see from the above steps, transferring files with Robocopy is troublesome for you. You have to enable file sharing on the local network firstly with long instructions, and then you can transfer files. 

However, you can transfer files simply and easily with MiniTool ShadowMaker. Following the straightforward instructions, you just need to select transfer source and destination with a few mouse clicks. Then you can transfer files to network. 

In addition, during the process, you can stop the operation by simply clicking the Stop button when you are using MiniTool ShadowMaker. However, you can’t take a step back when you are using Robocopy, even if you make a mistake in the last step. 

Advanced Settings

Although there are many switches you can use to tell Robocopy the way you want to copy files, it is a bit complex. 

Now, MiniTool ShadowMaker provides you with some clear and easy function modules that you can do some advanced settings to make MiniTool ShadowMaker transfer files in the way you want. 

The Schedule function is user-friendly to help you make a backup on a regular basis. With this function, you can run backup tasks daily, weekly, monthly or on event. 

The Scheme function of MiniTool ShadowMaker offers you 3 commonly-used types of backup: full backup, incremental backup and differential backup. In order to help you manage disk space usage, it can delete the specified backup image file versions automatically. 

In order to customize the current backup task, you can also set some advanced parameters for every task by clicking the Options button. For example, if you enable email notification, you will receive an email from MiniTool ShadowMaker when the backup operation is finished. It will inform you whether the task is failed or successful. 

Other Advantages of MiniTool ShadowMaker

Manage is also a useful function of MiniTool ShadowMaker. With it, you can manage all backup tasks including backup image and file sync. Not only can you see the status of the backup task, but you can also choose several options to better arrange the backup task. 

MiniTool ShadowMaker also offers you some useful tool to meet your different needs, such as the Media Builder mentioned before, you can use it to create a bootable builder.

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