XCopy vs Robocopy: Which Is Better Windows File Copy & Windows File Backup Utility?

XCopy and Robocopy are some of the powerful copying tools available in Windows. They both offer a command-line interface with advanced options such as mass copying of files, file monitoring, and all that at a much faster rate than the standard copy command. However, it also increases the chance of making a mistake, and hence it is recommended to use a professional backup solution such as EaseUS Todo Backup.

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Updated by Gemma on Sep 22, 2022
Written by Jean

In many instances, we need to copy multiple files or directories to another network due to requirements that may be necessary to perform on our PC or laptop. Several tools help us do that job easily. Here is a comparison between two of the best tools that serve that purpose - XCopy and Robocopy.

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Copy and Backup Files without Admin Rights

"You'll need to provide administrator permission to copy this file/folder" error has occurred to many people in Windows 10/8/7. Most ordinary users may not know what's going on with their computers or devices when this error message pops on. 

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What Is XCopy?

xcopy windows

In general, XCopy is a command used in computing for copying several files and entire directories from one to another or across a network as per need. It stands for Extended copy. It is also a built-in command in Windows OS, which is more advanced than the traditional 'Copy' command. 

Supported OS: IBM PC DOS, MS-DOS, IBM OS/2, Microsoft Windows, FreeDOS, ReactOS are the operating systems that support the XCopy command.

Here is the list of some significant features that XCopy offers.

  • It can directly copy the directory. 
  • Exclude files based on extension and file names.
  • It can identify updated files. 

What Is Robocopy?

robocopy windows

Robocopy stands for Robust File Copy. It shares various similarities with XCcpy but goes one step further in terms of functionality. It is a command-line directory or replication command for Microsoft Windows. It genuinely works as XCopy but grants more advanced features to its users. 

Firstly introduced as a part of Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit, since available for all the Windows versions since Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Supported OS: Windows NT 4 and later i.e. Windows 7, Windows 10, and Windows 11.

Here is the list of features offered by Robocopy:

  • It can pre-determine to cope with conflicting file names. 
  • Option to exclude files and folders
  • Operations can be pre-scheduled. 
  • Mirror one folder to another,
  • Remove files in the destination folders that don't exist in the root folder. 
  • Copies all encrypted files in EFS RAW mode
  • Copies files with security
  • Create named jobs 

EaseUS Todo Backup

  • Faster backup than any "copy" manner
  • Smarter than manual copy through XCopy or Robocopy
  • More flexible for incremental and differential backup
  • Scheduled backup for an entire PC, disk volume, OS and emails
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Comparison Of XCopy And Robocopy

  1. Mirroring
  2. Speed
  3. Automation
  4. Monitoring
  5. Attributes
  6. Performance

As we've stated above all the generic details about Xcopy and Robocopy, here is the comparison between them to specify which one you should use while performing those operations. Both are command-line tools that are often used in file transferring. 

However, there are several aspects to it when it comes to copying Windows File and Windows Backup utility. We'll compare them strictly on that basis.

XCopy vs. Robocopy: Mirroring

Robocopy uses Mirroring, but XCopy does not use it. It is used to mirror or synchronize directories. So instead of copying the total amount of files directly from one directory to another, Robocopy checks the destination directory first and removes all the files that are no longer present in the main tree. 

It also checks for the files in the target directory against the files about to be copied. In return, it will save time by not copying unchanged files. XCopy does none of those things that are mentioned above about mirroring. 

XCopy vs. Robocopy: Speed

Robocopy is much faster than the standard Copy command. It is because Robocopy uses several simultaneous threads for copying the files. Hence, we recommend using Robocopy instead of the copy command if you plan to copy many files. Robocopy migrates files extremely fast. The difference between transferring speed of both Robocopy and Copy has a significant amount of difference in favor of Robocopy. 

XCopy vs. Robocopy: Automation

Automation is useful when there's a need to create daily backups or large amounts of batch jobs that require a significant amount of time but little to no interaction. Robocopy uses an option called "Run Hours" (/RH) that allows you to set when the requested copies should be processed instead of the time of the command as with XCopy. 

The process will be present in the task list as it constantly checks the clock to see when to copy the files. The process will be present under the name of robocopy.exe in the task list. It also contains logging with the /LOG:file option. 

XCopy vs. Robocopy: Monitoring

"/MON" or "/MOT" commands are supported and used in Robocopy for directory monitoring. Several other commands have different purposes like "/MOT:m" that check the file after every "m" specified minutes for any changes and then copy it wherever they are. It is similar to periodically saving a file while continuously working on it with much more efficiency. On the other hand, Xcopy has no monitoring support whatsoever. 

XCopy vs. Robocopy: Attributes

Both XCopy and Robocopy support copying over the files archive and attribute in the case of file attributes. Still, again Robocopy takes the cake here by taking it way beyond by supporting overall copy attributes that include timestamps security, owner, and other auditing info. 

As we know, these little attributes help us maintain a proper directory structure, mainly when you're working as an administrator. 

XCopy vs. Robocopy: Performance

In terms of overall performance, Robocopy has much better results in Disk transfer rate, Disk Write Transfer, Disk Transfer IOPS, Disk Write IOPS, Disk Read IOPS, Disk average Write Request Size, Disk Average Write Request Time, CPU Usage, CPU usage system. 

On the other hand, XCopy performed better in Disk Read Transfer, Disk Average Request Size, Disk Average Read Request Size, Disk Average Request Time, Disk Average Read Request Time, Process Memory Used, Process Data Rate, and Process Data IOPS. 

Limitations of Xcopy and Robocopy

As with advantages, there are some disadvantages of Robocopy too. It is straightforward to delete a file or a folder that you don't intend to delete. It also applies to copying many files that you don't intend to. Robocopy doesn't have any safety features with it. 

Disadvantages of XCopy include, well apart from things, Robocopy offers a feature-rich and faster experience with enhanced performance to the end-user. Hence, it makes more sense to use that. 

Easy Alternative Windows Backup Utility over XCopy and Robocopy

As mentioned earlier, both Robocopy and XCopy are command lines, which can be a little challenging for a regular day-to-day user. There's a lot that can go wrong with using those options if you do not have enough experience. Therefore, you can use a third-party Windows backup software called EaseUS Todo Backup for more excellent safety and usability.

Here are several reasons why it is the best way to transfer files and create a backup.

  • It enables you to back up files, folders, partition/disk
  • Schedule a differential, complete, or incremental backup 
  • Graphical interface to clone several partitions 
  • Clone the Windows OS to a new SSD without it re-installing to a new disk 

We've discussed everything concerning the Windows File Copy and Windows Backup Utility, Robocopy has a lot more to offer than XCopy, but it's harder for daily users to use it. Hence, EaseUS Todo Backup is the best bet for you. Good luck with your future adventures. 

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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Written by Jean

Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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