Part of being a system administrator is copying large quantities of files around, for any number of reasons. The traditional command line tools for this, Copy and Xcopy, have some limitations. For this reason, two companies extended Xcopy: Microsoft, with Robocopy, and Pixelab, with Xxcopy. Let’s compare Xxcopy vs Robocopy.
Sometimes in a batch file I find myself needing to perform more than one operation on a server, especially inside a for loop. Rather than do a pair of for loops, which isn’t always desirable, you can use the & operator.
A very good question came in as a comment to my earlier post, the benefits of practicing IT at home. What do I mean by putting some Windows 7 machines on a domain? It’s one of several good home network projects.
I mean standing up a server with centralized user accounts and shares, running on Windows Server or Samba, whichever you can afford. Make it a print server too, and print from it, just like you would from an office. Then extend it, and extend your sysadmin skills. Here are several ideas for projects of varying length, difficulty, and expense.
Besides all the changes to the GUI that happened post-Windows XP, they also made one useful change to the command prompt. When you run a command, it’s now possible to pipe output to the clipboard.
If you’re like me and write a lot of documentation, or you just take a lot of notes while doing computer maintenance, it’s a big boon.
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. Read more
Windows 7 can suffer from old-age disease, where it thrashes hard drives, programs quit responding, and it generally becomes unusable. I’m beginning to wonder if my main PC might be suffering from this. Microsoft prescribes this cure.
If you’re comfortable with a command line, I can make the solution faster and easier.
A prolific commenter mentioned yesterday how much he dislikes Robocopy. Perhaps worse than I dislike Windows 7. And the nightmare scenario he describes sounds plausible. I’ve trashed directories with errant copy and xcopy commands, and I know I’m not the only one. And those are comparatively very simple.
I suppose one could put training wheels on a tool like Robocopy, but to me, that defeats much of its purpose. When I play the Robocopy card, it’s generally because I have a copy task that potentially will take several hours–if not days–and it’s going to run into errors, and I want it to just do the best it can, without asking me any questions, so I can walk away and let it chew on the problem for however long it takes.
I won’t say Robocopy is one of those things that can make or break a career, but it’s certainly allowed me to swoop in and save the day on several occasions, and that’s always good. So here’s how.
So I got fed up with my network connections dropping 80% of the way through copying 25-megabyte files halfway across the world. I’ve been using Robocopy, but without any command line options, it just starts over again.
I did a little digging and found the /z switch, which is supposed to make it pick up where it left off. It introduces a little overhead, but I can live with that. It’s better than copying the files 1 1/2 times.
Finding out about it was the amusing part.After stumbling upon the /z switch, I punched that into Google to see what other people were saying about it. That’s where I learned about the increased overhead. Fine. But one of the links I clicked on was blocked by Smartfilter, which is the application my employer uses to keep us from spending all day watching Youtube.
Surprising? No. Smartfilter blocks lots of useful stuff that makes it a lot harder to do my job. But the category it put that page into was pretty amusing: Dating/Social.
I can just imagine that date now. Two people meet after work in a dimly-lit restaurant that will be out of business in 18 months. Instead of talking about music, or movies, the neighborhood, or the other things my wife and I talked about on our first date, they talk about Robocopy.
"Where have you been all my life? All I’ve ever looked for was a nice girl who knows what the /z switch in Robocopy does! I’ve never met a girl who knew what Robocopy was!"
Actually I might be able to think of one or two relationships that probably did go down something like that, now that I’ve mentioned it. I think that should scare me.