MS-DOS: Copy folders without overwriting files

What?
A quick note on how to copy files and folders over without overwriting existing files. It's easy to say "Yes" and replace all files. What I need is something that synchronizes files on an internal hard drive to an external one. I wanted it to copy only the files that were new in the original folder and only copy those over (reason being, the archive is 4 terabytes and backing up only the changed files would speed things up).

Applies to:
  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Microsoft Windows 8
  • for Vista and Windows 2008 without XCOPY, try ROBOCOPY.

How?
We're going to use MS-DOS because I'm that old.

Robust File Copy:
  1. Open a command prompt (Start > Run... > CMD > ok)
  2. Type the following:
    copyraw
    ROBOCOPY c:\Sourcepath c:\Destpath /E /XC /XN /XO
    
    -- /E makes Robocopy recursively copy subdirectories, including empty ones.
    -- /XC excludes existing files with the same timestamp, but different file sizes.
    -- /XN excludes existing files newer than the copy in the source directory.
    -- /XO excludes existing files older than the copy in the source directory.
    1.  ROBOCOPY c:\Sourcepath c:\Destpath /E /XC /XN /XO 
    2.   
    3.  -- /E makes Robocopy recursively copy subdirectories, including empty ones. 
    4.  -- /XC excludes existing files with the same timestamp, but different file sizes. 
    5.  -- /XN excludes existing files newer than the copy in the source directory. 
    6.  -- /XO excludes existing files older than the copy in the source directory. 

There's a nice output of the results if you run this in a command prompt.

The Manual:
copyraw
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   ROBOCOPY     ::     Robust File Copy for Windows                              
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              Usage :: ROBOCOPY source destination [file [file]...] [options]

             source :: Source Directory (drive:\path or \\server\share\path).
        destination :: Destination Dir  (drive:\path or \\server\share\path).
               file :: File(s) to copy  (names/wildcards: default is "*.*").

::
:: Copy options :
::
                 /S :: copy Subdirectories, but not empty ones.
                 /E :: copy subdirectories, including Empty ones.
             /LEV:n :: only copy the top n LEVels of the source directory tree.

                 /Z :: copy files in restartable mode.
                 /B :: copy files in Backup mode.
                /ZB :: use restartable mode; if access denied use Backup mode.
            /EFSRAW :: copy all encrypted files in EFS RAW mode.

  /COPY:copyflag[s] :: what to COPY for files (default is /COPY:DAT).
                       (copyflags : D=Data, A=Attributes, T=Timestamps).
                       (S=Security=NTFS ACLs, O=Owner info, U=aUditing info).

           /DCOPY:T :: COPY Directory Timestamps.

               /SEC :: copy files with SECurity (equivalent to /COPY:DATS).
           /COPYALL :: COPY ALL file info (equivalent to /COPY:DATSOU).
            /NOCOPY :: COPY NO file info (useful with /PURGE).

            /SECFIX :: FIX file SECurity on all files, even skipped files.
            /TIMFIX :: FIX file TIMes on all files, even skipped files.

             /PURGE :: delete dest files/dirs that no longer exist in source.
               /MIR :: MIRror a directory tree (equivalent to /E plus /PURGE).

               /MOV :: MOVe files (delete from source after copying).
              /MOVE :: MOVE files AND dirs (delete from source after copying).

     /A+:[RASHCNET] :: add the given Attributes to copied files.
     /A-:[RASHCNET] :: remove the given Attributes from copied files.

            /CREATE :: CREATE directory tree and zero-length files only.
               /FAT :: create destination files using 8.3 FAT file names only.
               /256 :: turn off very long path (> 256 characters) support.

             /MON:n :: MONitor source; run again when more than n changes seen.
             /MOT:m :: MOnitor source; run again in m minutes Time, if changed.

      /RH:hhmm-hhmm :: Run Hours - times when new copies may be started.
                /PF :: check run hours on a Per File (not per pass) basis.

             /IPG:n :: Inter-Packet Gap (ms), to free bandwidth on slow lines.

                /SL :: copy symbolic links versus the target.

            /MT[:n] :: Do multi-threaded copies with n threads (default 8).
                       n must be at least 1 and not greater than 128.
                       This option is incompatible with the /IPG and /EFSRAW options.
                       Redirect output using /LOG option for better performance.

::
:: File Selection Options :
::
                 /A :: copy only files with the Archive attribute set.
                 /M :: copy only files with the Archive attribute and reset it.
    /IA:[RASHCNETO] :: Include only files with any of the given Attributes set.
    /XA:[RASHCNETO] :: eXclude files with any of the given Attributes set.

 /XF file [file]... :: eXclude Files matching given names/paths/wildcards.
 /XD dirs [dirs]... :: eXclude Directories matching given names/paths.

                /XC :: eXclude Changed files.
                /XN :: eXclude Newer files.
                /XO :: eXclude Older files.
                /XX :: eXclude eXtra files and directories.
                /XL :: eXclude Lonely files and directories.
                /IS :: Include Same files.
                /IT :: Include Tweaked files.

             /MAX:n :: MAXimum file size - exclude files bigger than n bytes.
             /MIN:n :: MINimum file size - exclude files smaller than n bytes.

          /MAXAGE:n :: MAXimum file AGE - exclude files older than n days/date.
          /MINAGE:n :: MINimum file AGE - exclude files newer than n days/date.
          /MAXLAD:n :: MAXimum Last Access Date - exclude files unused since n.
          /MINLAD:n :: MINimum Last Access Date - exclude files used since n.
                       (If n < 1900 then n = n days, else n = YYYYMMDD date).

                /XJ :: eXclude Junction points. (normally included by default).

               /FFT :: assume FAT File Times (2-second granularity).
               /DST :: compensate for one-hour DST time differences.

               /XJD :: eXclude Junction points for Directories.
               /XJF :: eXclude Junction points for Files.

::
:: Retry Options :
::
               /R:n :: number of Retries on failed copies: default 1 million.
               /W:n :: Wait time between retries: default is 30 seconds.

               /REG :: Save /R:n and /W:n in the Registry as default settings.

               /TBD :: wait for sharenames To Be Defined (retry error 67).

::
:: Logging Options :
::
                 /L :: List only - don't copy, timestamp or delete any files.
                 /X :: report all eXtra files, not just those selected.
                 /V :: produce Verbose output, showing skipped files.
                /TS :: include source file Time Stamps in the output.
                /FP :: include Full Pathname of files in the output.
             /BYTES :: Print sizes as bytes.

                /NS :: No Size - don't log file sizes.
                /NC :: No Class - don't log file classes.
               /NFL :: No File List - don't log file names.
               /NDL :: No Directory List - don't log directory names.

                /NP :: No Progress - don't display percentage copied.
               /ETA :: show Estimated Time of Arrival of copied files.

          /LOG:file :: output status to LOG file (overwrite existing log).
         /LOG+:file :: output status to LOG file (append to existing log).

       /UNILOG:file :: output status to LOG file as UNICODE (overwrite existing log).
      /UNILOG+:file :: output status to LOG file as UNICODE (append to existing log).

               /TEE :: output to console window, as well as the log file.

               /NJH :: No Job Header.
               /NJS :: No Job Summary.

           /UNICODE :: output status as UNICODE.

::
:: Job Options :
::
       /JOB:jobname :: take parameters from the named JOB file.
      /SAVE:jobname :: SAVE parameters to the named job file
              /QUIT :: QUIT after processing command line (to view parameters). 
              /NOSD :: NO Source Directory is specified.
              /NODD :: NO Destination Directory is specified.
                /IF :: Include the following Files.
  1.  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
  2.     ROBOCOPY     ::     Robust File Copy for Windows 
  3.  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
  4.   
  5.                Usage :: ROBOCOPY source destination [file [file]...] [options] 
  6.   
  7.               source :: Source Directory (drive:\path or \\server\share\path)
  8.          destination :: Destination Dir  (drive:\path or \\server\share\path)
  9.                 file :: File(s) to copy  (names/wildcards: default is "*.*")
  10.   
  11.  :: 
  12.  :: Copy options : 
  13.  :: 
  14.                   /S :: copy Subdirectories, but not empty ones. 
  15.                   /E :: copy subdirectories, including Empty ones. 
  16.               /LEV::: only copy the top n LEVels of the source directory tree. 
  17.   
  18.                   /Z :: copy files in restartable mode. 
  19.                   /B :: copy files in Backup mode. 
  20.                  /ZB :: use restartable mode; if access denied use Backup mode. 
  21.              /EFSRAW :: copy all encrypted files in EFS RAW mode. 
  22.   
  23.    /COPY:copyflag[s] :: what to COPY for files (default is /COPY:DAT)
  24.                         (copyflags : D=Data, A=Attributes, T=Timestamps)
  25.                         (S=Security=NTFS ACLs, O=Owner info, U=aUditing info)
  26.   
  27.             /DCOPY::: COPY Directory Timestamps. 
  28.   
  29.                 /SEC :: copy files with SECurity (equivalent to /COPY:DATS)
  30.             /COPYALL :: COPY ALL file info (equivalent to /COPY:DATSOU)
  31.              /NOCOPY :: COPY NO file info (useful with /PURGE)
  32.   
  33.              /SECFIX :: FIX file SECurity on all files, even skipped files. 
  34.              /TIMFIX :: FIX file TIMes on all files, even skipped files. 
  35.   
  36.               /PURGE :: delete dest files/dirs that no longer exist in source. 
  37.                 /MIR :: MIRror a directory tree (equivalent to /E plus /PURGE)
  38.   
  39.                 /MOV :: MOVe files (delete from source after copying)
  40.                /MOVE :: MOVE files AND dirs (delete from source after copying)
  41.   
  42.       /A+:[RASHCNET] :: add the given Attributes to copied files. 
  43.       /A-:[RASHCNET] :: remove the given Attributes from copied files. 
  44.   
  45.              /CREATE :: CREATE directory tree and zero-length files only. 
  46.                 /FAT :: create destination files using 8.3 FAT file names only. 
  47.                 /256 :: turn off very long path (256 characters) support. 
  48.   
  49.               /MON::: MONitor source; run again when more than n changes seen. 
  50.               /MOT::: MOnitor source; run again in m minutes Time, if changed. 
  51.   
  52.        /RH:hhmm-hhmm :: Run Hours - times when new copies may be started. 
  53.                  /PF :: check run hours on a Per File (not per pass) basis. 
  54.   
  55.               /IPG::: Inter-Packet Gap (ms), to free bandwidth on slow lines. 
  56.   
  57.                  /SL :: copy symbolic links versus the target. 
  58.   
  59.              /MT[:n] :: Do multi-threaded copies with n threads (default 8)
  60.                         n must be at least 1 and not greater than 128
  61.                         This option is incompatible with the /IPG and /EFSRAW options. 
  62.                         Redirect output using /LOG option for better performance. 
  63.   
  64.  :: 
  65.  :: File Selection Options : 
  66.  :: 
  67.                   /A :: copy only files with the Archive attribute set. 
  68.                   /M :: copy only files with the Archive attribute and reset it. 
  69.      /IA:[RASHCNETO] :: Include only files with any of the given Attributes set. 
  70.      /XA:[RASHCNETO] :: eXclude files with any of the given Attributes set. 
  71.   
  72.   /XF file [file]... :: eXclude Files matching given names/paths/wildcards. 
  73.   /XD dirs [dirs]... :: eXclude Directories matching given names/paths. 
  74.   
  75.                  /XC :: eXclude Changed files. 
  76.                  /XN :: eXclude Newer files. 
  77.                  /XO :: eXclude Older files. 
  78.                  /XX :: eXclude eXtra files and directories. 
  79.                  /XL :: eXclude Lonely files and directories. 
  80.                  /IS :: Include Same files. 
  81.                  /IT :: Include Tweaked files. 
  82.   
  83.               /MAX::: MAXimum file size - exclude files bigger than n bytes. 
  84.               /MIN::: MINimum file size - exclude files smaller than n bytes. 
  85.   
  86.            /MAXAGE::: MAXimum file AGE - exclude files older than n days/date. 
  87.            /MINAGE::: MINimum file AGE - exclude files newer than n days/date. 
  88.            /MAXLAD::: MAXimum Last Access Date - exclude files unused since n. 
  89.            /MINLAD::: MINimum Last Access Date - exclude files used since n. 
  90.                         (If n < 1900 then n = n days, else n = YYYYMMDD date)
  91.   
  92.                  /XJ :: eXclude Junction points. (normally included by default)
  93.   
  94.                 /FFT :: assume FAT File Times (2-second granularity)
  95.                 /DST :: compensate for one-hour DST time differences. 
  96.   
  97.                 /XJD :: eXclude Junction points for Directories. 
  98.                 /XJF :: eXclude Junction points for Files. 
  99.   
  100.  :: 
  101.  :: Retry Options : 
  102.  :: 
  103.                 /R::: number of Retries on failed copies: default 1 million. 
  104.                 /W::: Wait time between retries: default is 30 seconds. 
  105.   
  106.                 /REG :: Save /R:n and /W:n in the Registry as default settings. 
  107.   
  108.                 /TBD :: wait for sharenames To Be Defined (retry error 67)
  109.   
  110.  :: 
  111.  :: Logging Options : 
  112.  :: 
  113.                   /L :: List only - don't copy, timestamp or delete any files. 
  114.                   /X :: report all eXtra files, not just those selected. 
  115.                   /V :: produce Verbose output, showing skipped files. 
  116.                  /TS :: include source file Time Stamps in the output. 
  117.                  /FP :: include Full Pathname of files in the output. 
  118.               /BYTES :: Print sizes as bytes. 
  119.   
  120.                  /NS :: No Size - don't log file sizes. 
  121.                  /NC :: No Class - don't log file classes. 
  122.                 /NFL :: No File List - don't log file names. 
  123.                 /NDL :: No Directory List - don't log directory names. 
  124.   
  125.                  /NP :: No Progress - don't display percentage copied. 
  126.                 /ETA :: show Estimated Time of Arrival of copied files. 
  127.   
  128.            /LOG:file :: output status to LOG file (overwrite existing log)
  129.           /LOG+:file :: output status to LOG file (append to existing log)
  130.   
  131.         /UNILOG:file :: output status to LOG file as UNICODE (overwrite existing log)
  132.        /UNILOG+:file :: output status to LOG file as UNICODE (append to existing log)
  133.   
  134.                 /TEE :: output to console window, as well as the log file. 
  135.   
  136.                 /NJH :: No Job Header. 
  137.                 /NJS :: No Job Summary. 
  138.   
  139.             /UNICODE :: output status as UNICODE. 
  140.   
  141.  :: 
  142.  :: Job Options : 
  143.  :: 
  144.         /JOB:jobname :: take parameters from the named JOB file. 
  145.        /SAVE:jobname :: SAVE parameters to the named job file 
  146.                /QUIT :: QUIT after processing command line (to view parameters)
  147.                /NOSD :: NO Source Directory is specified. 
  148.                /NODD :: NO Destination Directory is specified. 
  149.                  /IF :: Include the following Files. 



Extended Copy
  1. Open a command prompt (Start > Run... > CMD > ok)
  2. Type the following:
    copyraw
    ECHO N | XCOPY /E c:\Sourcepath\*.* c:\Destpath\*.*
    
    -- since January 1st 2010
    XCOPY /E /D:01-01-2010 c:\Sourcepath\*.* c:\Destpath\*.*
    
    // D: is in mm-dd-yyyy format
    1.  ECHO N | XCOPY /E c:\Sourcepath\*.* c:\Destpath\*.* 
    2.   
    3.  -- since January 1st 2010 
    4.  XCOPY /E /D:01-01-2010 c:\Sourcepath\*.* c:\Destpath\*.* 
    5.   
    6.  // D: is in mm-dd-yyyy format 
    This will copy any files modified since January 1st 2010. If the destination file does not exist, it will copy the original over.
The Manual:
copyraw
XCOPY source [destination] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S [/E]] [/V] [/W]
                           [/C] [/I] [/Q] [/F] [/L] [/G] [/H] [/R] [/T] [/U]
                           [/K] [/N] [/O] [/X] [/Y] [/-Y] [/Z] [/B]
                           [/EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]...]

  source       Specifies the file(s) to copy.
  destination  Specifies the location and/or name of new files.
  /A           Copies only files with the archive attribute set,
               doesn't change the attribute.
  /M           Copies only files with the archive attribute set,
               turns off the archive attribute.
  /D:m-d-y     Copies files changed on or after the specified date.
               If no date is given, copies only those files whose
               source time is newer than the destination time.
  /EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]...
               Specifies a list of files containing strings.  Each string
               should be in a separate line in the files.  When any of the
               strings match any part of the absolute path of the file to be
               copied, that file will be excluded from being copied.  For
               example, specifying a string like \obj\ or .obj will exclude
               all files underneath the directory obj or all files with the
               .obj extension respectively.
  /P           Prompts you before creating each destination file.
  /S           Copies directories and subdirectories except empty ones.
  /E           Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty ones.
               Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T.
  /V           Verifies the size of each new file.
  /W           Prompts you to press a key before copying.
  /C           Continues copying even if errors occur.
  /I           If destination does not exist and copying more than one file,
               assumes that destination must be a directory.
  /Q           Does not display file names while copying.
  /F           Displays full source and destination file names while copying.
  /L           Displays files that would be copied.
  /G           Allows the copying of encrypted files to destination that does
               not support encryption.
  /H           Copies hidden and system files also.
  /R           Overwrites read-only files.
  /T           Creates directory structure, but does not copy files. Does not
               include empty directories or subdirectories. /T /E includes
               empty directories and subdirectories.
  /U           Copies only files that already exist in destination.
  /K           Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only attributes.
  /N           Copies using the generated short names.
  /O           Copies file ownership and ACL information.
  /X           Copies file audit settings (implies /O).
  /Y           Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an
               existing destination file.
  /-Y          Causes prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an
               existing destination file.
  /Z           Copies networked files in restartable mode.
  /B           Copies the Symbolic Link itself versus the target of the link.
  /J           Copies using unbuffered I/O. Recommended for very large files.

The switch /Y may be preset in the COPYCMD environment variable.
This may be overridden with /-Y on the command line.
  1.  XCOPY source [destination] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S [/E]] [/V] [/W] 
  2.                             [/C] [/I] [/Q] [/F] [/L] [/G] [/H] [/R] [/T] [/U] 
  3.                             [/K] [/N] [/O] [/X] [/Y] [/-Y] [/Z] [/B] 
  4.                             [/EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]...] 
  5.   
  6.    source       Specifies the file(s) to copy. 
  7.    destination  Specifies the location and/or name of new files. 
  8.    /A           Copies only files with the archive attribute set, 
  9.                 doesn't change the attribute. 
  10.    /M           Copies only files with the archive attribute set, 
  11.                 turns off the archive attribute. 
  12.    /D:m-d-y     Copies files changed on or after the specified date. 
  13.                 If no date is given, copies only those files whose 
  14.                 source time is newer than the destination time. 
  15.    /EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]... 
  16.                 Specifies a list of files containing strings.  Each string 
  17.                 should be in a separate line in the files.  When any of the 
  18.                 strings match any part of the absolute path of the file to be 
  19.                 copied, that file will be excluded from being copied.  For 
  20.                 example, specifying a string like \obj\ or .obj will exclude 
  21.                 all files underneath the directory obj or all files with the 
  22.                 .obj extension respectively. 
  23.    /P           Prompts you before creating each destination file. 
  24.    /S           Copies directories and subdirectories except empty ones. 
  25.    /E           Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty ones. 
  26.                 Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T. 
  27.    /V           Verifies the size of each new file. 
  28.    /W           Prompts you to press a key before copying. 
  29.    /C           Continues copying even if errors occur. 
  30.    /I           If destination does not exist and copying more than one file, 
  31.                 assumes that destination must be a directory. 
  32.    /Q           Does not display file names while copying. 
  33.    /F           Displays full source and destination file names while copying. 
  34.    /L           Displays files that would be copied. 
  35.    /G           Allows the copying of encrypted files to destination that does 
  36.                 not support encryption. 
  37.    /H           Copies hidden and system files also. 
  38.    /R           Overwrites read-only files. 
  39.    /T           Creates directory structure, but does not copy files. Does not 
  40.                 include empty directories or subdirectories. /T /E includes 
  41.                 empty directories and subdirectories. 
  42.    /U           Copies only files that already exist in destination. 
  43.    /K           Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only attributes. 
  44.    /N           Copies using the generated short names. 
  45.    /O           Copies file ownership and ACL information. 
  46.    /X           Copies file audit settings (implies /O)
  47.    /Y           Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an 
  48.                 existing destination file. 
  49.    /-Y          Causes prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an 
  50.                 existing destination file. 
  51.    /Z           Copies networked files in restartable mode. 
  52.    /B           Copies the Symbolic Link itself versus the target of the link. 
  53.    /J           Copies using unbuffered I/O. Recommended for very large files. 
  54.   
  55.  The switch /Y may be preset in the COPYCMD environment variable. 
  56.  This may be overridden with /-Y on the command line. 

Other Sources:
Category: MS-DOS :: Article: 548

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