08 April 2011

Using Robocopy for enhance file transfer and management

Robocopy or robust copy has been around for a while, since 1997, but it was only available in the resource kit.  Since 2008 robocopy came standard with Vista and Windows Server 2008.  It can be seen as a big enhancement over xcopy.

The highlight feature of robocopy the following:

  • Enhanced copy setting options
  • Attribute based file selection
  • Rich logging options
  • The ability to save and call predefined jobs

Far from being "just a file server migration tool" there are many things you can do with robocopy.  For me the best features are that you can very quickly copy files WITH their NTFS permissions from one location to another.  You can also set robocopy to keep the files in sync based on number of file changes or an a schedule.

The other really handy feature of robocopy is that you can use it to copy over slow and unreliable wan links.  The following features make it very suitable.  Enhanced retry option to resume broken copy operations.  Scheduled run times to only run copies during predefined hours. And the ability to set the inter-packet gap that reduces the bandwidth demand.

Did I mention that you can copy with up to 128 active threads?

A typical robocopy command that one would use is something similar to this:

C:\>robocopy v:\audit u:\audit /E /ZB /EFSRAW /COPYALL /DCOPY:T /V /LOG:robo.txt /TEE

Here is a complete list of the available command switches to help you figure out what the switches are

I have also highlighted some of the more useful features in my opinion.

   ROBOCOPY     ::     Robust File Copy for Windows                              

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 "*.*").

:: Copy options :
/S :: copy Subdirectories, but not empty ones.
/E :: copy subdirectories, including Empty ones.
/LEV:n :: only copy the top n LEVels of the source directory tree.

/Z :: copy files in restartable mode.
/B :: copy files in Backup mode.
/ZB :: use restartable mode; if access denied use Backup mode.
/EFSRAW :: copy all encrypted files in EFS RAW mode.

/COPY:copyflag[s] :: what to COPY for files (default is /COPY:DAT).
                       (copyflags : D=Data, A=Attributes, T=Timestamps).
                       (S=Security=NTFS ACLs, O=Owner info, U=aUditing info).

/DCOPY:T :: COPY Directory Timestamps.
/SEC :: copy files with SECurity (equivalent to /COPY:DATS).
/COPYALL :: COPY ALL file info (equivalent to /COPY:DATSOU).
/NOCOPY :: COPY NO file info (useful with /PURGE).c:

/SECFIX :: FIX file SECurity on all files, even skipped files.
/TIMFIX :: FIX file TIMes on all files, even skipped files.

/PURGE :: delete dest files/dirs that no longer exist in source.
/MIR :: MIRror a directory tree (equivalent to /E plus /PURGE).

/MOV :: MOVe files (delete from source after copying).
/MOVE :: MOVE files AND dirs (delete from source after copying).

/A+:[RASHCNET] :: add the given Attributes to copied files.
/A-:[RASHCNET] :: remove the given Attributes from copied files.
/CREATE :: CREATE directory tree and zero-length files only.
/FAT :: create destination files using 8.3 FAT file names only.
/256 :: turn off very long path (> 256 characters) support.

/MON:n :: MONitor source; run again when more than n changes seen.
/MOT:m :: MOnitor source; run again in m minutes Time, if changed.

/RH:hhmm-hhmm :: Run Hours - times when new copies may be started.
/PF :: check run hours on a Per File (not per pass) basis.

/IPG:n :: Inter-Packet Gap (ms), to free bandwidth on slow lines.
/SL :: copy symbolic links versus the target.
/MT[:n] :: Do multi-threaded copies with n threads (default 8).
                n must be at least 1 and not greater than 128.
                This option is incompatible with the /IPG and /EFSRAW options.
                Redirect output using /LOG option for better performance.

:: File Selection Options :
/A :: copy only files with the Archive attribute set.
/M :: copy only files with the Archive attribute and reset it.
/IA:[RASHCNETO] :: Include only files with any of the given Attributes set.
/XA:[RASHCNETO] :: eXclude files with any of the given Attributes set.
 /XF file [file]... :: eXclude Files matching given names/paths/wildcards.
 /XD dirs [dirs]... :: eXclude Directories matching given names/paths.
                /XC :: eXclude Changed files.
                /XN :: eXclude Newer files.
                /XO :: eXclude Older files.
                /XX :: eXclude eXtra files and directories.
                /XL :: eXclude Lonely files and directories.
                /IS :: Include Same files.
                /IT :: Include Tweaked files.

/MAX:n :: MAXimum file size - exclude files bigger than n bytes.
/MIN:n :: MINimum file size - exclude files smaller than n bytes.

/MAXAGE:n :: MAXimum file AGE - exclude files older than n days/date.
/MINAGE:n :: MINimum file AGE - exclude files newer than n days/date.
/MAXLAD:n :: MAXimum Last Access Date - exclude files unused since n.
/MINLAD:n :: MINimum Last Access Date - exclude files used since n.
                      (If n < 1900 then n = n days, else n = YYYYMMDD date).

/XJ :: eXclude Junction points. (normally included by default).

/FFT :: assume FAT File Times (2-second granularity).
/DST :: compensate for one-hour DST time differences.

/XJD :: eXclude Junction points for Directories.
/XJF :: eXclude Junction points for Files.

:: Retry Options :
/R:n :: number of Retries on failed copies: default 1 million.
/W:n :: Wait time between retries: default is 30 seconds.

/REG :: Save /R:n and /W:n in the Registry as default settings.

/TBD :: wait for sharenames To Be Defined (retry error 67).

:: Logging Options :
/L :: List only - don't copy, timestamp or delete any files.
/X :: report all eXtra files, not just those selected.
/V :: produce Verbose output, showing skipped files.
/TS :: include source file Time Stamps in the output.
/FP :: include Full Pathname of files in the output.
/BYTES :: Print sizes as bytes.

/NS :: No Size - don't log file sizes.
/NC :: No Class - don't log file classes.
/NFL :: No File List - don't log file names.
/NDL :: No Directory List - don't log directory names.

/NP :: No Progress - don't display percentage copied.
/ETA :: show Estimated Time of Arrival of copied files.

/LOG:file :: output status to LOG file (overwrite existing log).
/LOG+:file :: output status to LOG file (append to existing log).

/UNILOG:file :: output status to LOG file as UNICODE (overwrite existing log).
/UNILOG+:file :: output status to LOG file as UNICODE (append to existing log).

/TEE :: output to console window, as well as the log file.

/NJH :: No Job Header.
/NJS :: No Job Summary.

/UNICODE :: output status as UNICODE.

:: Job Options 
/JOB:jobname :: take parameters from the named JOB file.
/SAVE:jobname :: SAVE parameters to the named job file
/QUIT :: QUIT after processing command line (to view parameters).
/NOSD :: NO Source Directory is specified.
/NODD :: NO Destination Directory is specified.
/IF :: Include the following Files.

To make things even easier there is also a GUI for robocopy http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx

By using this very unappreciated yet extremely powerful command line tool you can achieve great functionality if used in the correct manner for suitable applications.  As an example, robocopy can be used to automatically move files that have not been used for a long time to an archive location while preserving and maintaining naming and security as well as file attributes. Makes you think that you might not need that archiving tool after all...

1 comment:

garry dam said...

Nice post.Another software alternative that works is "LongPathTool" for error messages: Cannot read from source file or disk, there has been a sharing violation, cannot delete file or folder, the file name you specified is not valid or too long, the source or destination file may be in use and many other file managing errors.

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