After setting up Windows 10, you may still need to transfer all of your files to the new computer. Usually you can use external storage to copy the files and move them to the new device. If you are a tech-savvy user, you will likely be transferring the files over the network using file sharing.
While these are all good options, the File Explorer process can take a long time depending on the amount of data being transferred. If you want to copy many files faster and more reliably, you need a better solution such as Robocopy.
Robocopy (Robust File Copy) 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 quickly.
This guide will show you how to use Robocopy on Windows 10 to quickly transfer large amounts of files over the network. (These steps should work on Windows 11 as well.)
How to use Robocopy to quickly copy files over the network
The features included in Robocopy allow you to copy files very quickly, but keep in mind that you will need a wired connection for the best experience. The time it takes for the transfer to complete depends on the speed of the network connection and drive performance.
This is a two step process. You must first configure file sharing on the source device and then use Robocopy on the target device to perform the transfer.
1. Configure file sharing in Windows 10
Follow the steps below to share files on your local network using Windows 10 Express Settings:
Open minded File manager under Windows 10.
Navigate to the folder that contains the files that you want to migrate.
Right click on the folder and select the properties Opportunity.
On the Properties page, click the share Tab.
Press the share Button.
Use the drop-down menu to select the user or group to share files or folders – for example the Anyone Group.
Press the Add to Button.
Under “Permission Level”, select the sharing permissions that the folder should have. For example, you can choose Read (Default) if you want users to only view and open files. If you choose Read Write, users can view, open, change, and delete the contents of the shared folder.
Press the share Button.
Make a note of the network path to the folder that other users will need to access the content over the network and click complete Button.
Press the Close Button.
After completing the steps, make a note of the folder path and IP address of your source computer.
2. Use Robocopy to quickly copy files over the network in Windows 10
Once file sharing is configured on the source device, you can use Robocopy to copy the files from the target device.
To use Robocopy to quickly copy files on Windows 10, do the following:
Open minded begin.
Search for command prompt, right click on the topmost result and select that Execute as administrator Opportunity.
Enter the following command to copy the files over the network and press Enter:
robocopy source-device-ippathtosharefolder C:destination-devicepathtostorefiles /E /Z /ZB /R:5 /W:5 /TBD /NP /V /MT:16
robocopy 10.1.2.111UsersadminDocuments C:UsersadminDocuments /E /Z /ZB /R:5 /W:5 /TBD /NP /V /MT:16
In the above command, make sure you change the source and destination paths with your configuration.
Breakdown of Robocopy Command Options
Robocopy has many features that you can use and in the command shown in this guide we are using the following options to make the copy reliable and fast.
- / S – Copy subdirectories, but not empty ones.
- / E – Copy subdirectories, including empty ones.
- /WITH – Copy files in rebootable mode.
- / ZB – Uses rebootable mode. If access is denied, use backup mode.
- / R: 5 – Repeat 5 times (you can specify a different number, the default is 1 million).
- / W: 5 – Wait 5 seconds before trying again (you can specify a different number, the default is 30 seconds).
- / TBD – Wait until share names are defined (retry error 67).
- / ZB – No Progress – Do not show percentage copied.
- / V – Produce verbose output showing skipped files.
- / MT: 16 – Make multithreaded copies with n threads (default is 8).
Perhaps the most important switch to watch out for is / MT, a feature that enables Robocopy to copy files in multithreaded mode. Typically, when you copy files using File Explorer, you are only copying one file at a time. With multithreading enabled, however, you can copy multiple files at the same time, make better use of bandwidth and speed up the process considerably.
If you’re using the “/ MT” switch, then the default number is “8th”, That means Robocopy will try to copy eight files at the same time, but the tool will support it “1” to “128” Threads.
In the command shown in this tutorial we use “16”, However, you can set it to a higher number. The only limitation is that it uses more processing power and bandwidth when using higher numbers. If you have an older processor and an unreliable network connection, this can cause problems. So make sure to test the command before running the command on a large number of threads.
You can always view all available switches by performing the
robocopy /? Command.