I’m over 2 months late with this, but that’s given me time to put Robocopy into production use.  I have found that it’s everything I’d hoped it would be.  First, let me say my suspicions about Iomega Backup were right – it is a piece.  For whatever reason, the installations I did and checked on months to years later were not backing everything up.  This is unacceptable in a business environment.  So I’ve switched my clients to Robocopy where needed and am in the process of switching my offices.

In order to use Robocopy (unless you have Windows Vista in which it is included) you need to download and install the Windows 2003 Resource Kit Tools (rktools.exe).  After this, robocopy will be available from the command line.  I have found frontends for using Robocopy, but instead of using them, I examined them and learned some good switches to use with Robocopy.  The default command I use is robocopy source destination /copy:dat /e /zb /v.  If you want a log of the copy, add /log:logfile.txt to your command where logfile.txt is the destination and filename for your log file.

Some gotchas I found while playing around with Robocopy include the source and destination.  I guess I was used to copy or xcopy where you specify something like “c:\data\*.*”  With Robocopy, you would use c:\data, no final backslash or wildcard needed.  Also, don’t forget to inclose long filenames (e.g., c:\program files)  in quotation marks.

The great thing about Robocopy is it’s a synchronization tool: if the file(s) it is copying are the same, it does not recopy them, only the files that have changed.  So there is no need to format your backup disk everytime before backup or use a /y to  autoanswer a choice to overwrite a file.

If you are looking for a new way to backup, check out Robocopy.  It’s fast, it can be used in a batch file and with the task scheduler, and it just plain works.

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