When you need to copy files to another drive, you typically use the standard select, copy, and paste process. Although this process works perfectly fine, speed becomes a bottleneck as trying to transfer a lot of files can take a very long time.
As an alternative, many tech-savvy users, use Robocopy (Robust File Copy), which is a command-line tool built into Windows 10 that provides more features to move data to a different location more quickly.
One particular feature that makes Robocopy so special (and often overlooked) is its multi-threaded feature that allows you to copy multiple files at the same time. Instead of one file at a time using the copy feature built into File Explorer.
In this guide, you’ll learn to use the multi-threaded copies feature on Robocopy to speed up the transfer process of files and folders to another drive on Windows 10.
How to use multi-threaded feature with Robocopy
If you’re about to copy a large set of files and folders to another drive, use these steps to Robocopy multithreaded feature to copy data super-fast.
Search for Command Prompt, right-click the result, and select Run as administrator.
Type the following command to copy the files and folders to another drive and press Enter:
robocopy C:\source\folder\path\ D:\destination\folder\path\ /S /E /Z /ZB /R:5 /W:5 /TBD /NP /V /MT:32
robocopy C:\Users\admin\Documents D:\Users\admin\Documents /S /E /Z /ZB /R:5 /W:5 /TBD /NP /V /MT:32
In the above command make sure to change the source and destination paths with your configuration.
Robocopy command breakdown
Robocopy has a lot of features, and in the command shown in this guide, we’re using the following switches to make copy reliable and fast.
- /S — Copy subdirectories, but not empty ones.
- /E — Copy Subdirectories, including empty ones.
- /Z — Copy files in restartable mode.
- /ZB — Uses restartable mode, if access denied use backup mode.
- /R:5 — Retry 5 times (you can specify a different number, default is 1 million).
- /W:5 — Wait 5 seconds before retrying (you can specify a different number, default is 30 seconds).
- /TBD — Wait for sharenames To Be Defined (retry error 67).
- /NP — No Progress – don’t display percentage copied.
- /V — Produce verbose output, showing skipped files.
- /MT:32 — Do multi-threaded copies with n threads (default is 8).
The most important switch to focus in the above command is /MT, which is the switch that enables Robocopy to copy files in multi-threaded mode. If you don’t set a number next to the /MT switch, then the default number will be 8, which means that Robocopy will try to copy eight files at the same time. However, Robocopy supports 1 to 128 threads.
In this command, we’re using 32, but you can set it to a higher number. The only caveat is that the greater the number, the more system resources and bandwidth will be utilized. If you have a very old processor, using a high number will affect performance, as such make sure to test before executing the command with a high number of threads.
Once you’ve have completed the steps, you’ll notice that copying files and folders will now take significantly less time.
You’re not limited to copying files and folders to an external or internal drive, this also works to migrate files over the network.
If you need additional help getting Robocopy to work, remember that you can submit your questions in the Pureinfotech forums.