Is there something better than Robocopy?

Here’s a question I hear quite a bit: Is there something better than Robocopy? If you’re looking for alternatives to robocopy, read on.

I immediately thought of Xxcopy. Depending on your perspective, it could be better. So-named because it’s an extension of Xcopy, which was itself an extension of copy, it’s a third-party copy utility that mimics the familiar xcopy command, which Microsoft’s own Robocopy does not.I stopped using Xxcopy when it stopped being free for commercial use several years ago. But it worked just fine then, and presumably still works just fine now, if you’re willing to pay for it or qualify for a free license.

I most frequently used its /clone switch, like this: xxcopy /clone source destination

So if you’ve just installed a new hard drive and want to move your old one to the new one, do this:

xxcopy /clone e:\ f:\

And then you can swap the drives.

The /backup switch is safer than /clone, as it doesn’t delete any files. Since I normally used it for one-time copies to blank media, there was no perceptible difference between the two.

There’s always danger in tools like this, so when using them, try them on directories full of something you don’t care about (or is backed up somewhere safely) first, before committing yourself to irreplaceable data.

Then again, that’s something you need to do anyway. If Xxcopy’s license is too much of a problem, you might want to read my entry on taming robocopy. You might also want to take a look at Xcopy vs Robocopy and Xxcopy vs Robocopy.

Robocopy and tools like it are just like using a power tool. They can be dangerous. But once you learn to use them safely, they greatly improve your productivity. That makes it worth learning how to use them safely.

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