Saturday, October 25, 2008

RoboCop[y] at your service

Back in the days of Windows 98, I used to use Xcopy and Xcopy32 to copy files at the Command Prompt. The built-in simple copy command was not as powerful and customizable as Xcopy.

A few minutes ago, I tried these commands in Vista's command prompt, due to a DVD drive problem that lets me read the disc contents via the Command Prompt, but not through Windows Explorer.

Xcopy32 no longer exists, but Xcopy does. As I was looking through the /? help page of Xcopy, a certain line in the beginning said:

NOTE: Xcopy is now deprecated, please use Robocopy.

Wow, something new. RoboCopy? Ok let's try that... robocopy /?

Almost two and a half screens of help appeared! There are a lot more options than Xcopy, and the options are neatly arranged in groups. Certain options that are new and interesting include controlling what details about the file are copied (dates, permissions, etc.), excluding certain files or folders from the copy and copying directory structure (not files).

I gave RoboCopy a try and was impressed by the detailed information that was provided. during the copy. A summary of copy options is given, then each file is shown with a percentage indication. Folder paths are never repeated, thus the table is very clean and neat. Created folders are also mentioned.

After the copy operation, a conclusive summary is also shown, giving the statistics of the operation, such as files that were skipped or gave errors, and time required. It finally ends with the speed of the operation, given both in bytes/sec and MB/min

Microsoft says RoboCopy is Robust File Copy for Windows. Maybe RoboCopy is what lies behind the new move/copy system of Vista that shows detailed information. Will you please confirm this for me?

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