Windows File Transfer Options

Transferring files from a Windows server/pc/laptop to a file share can be achieved by several means. The fastest method, however, usually depends on the network conditions, file size, and other factors. Here are several options:

  1. Robocopy: This is a command-line tool built into Windows. It’s robust, reliable, and has many features that aren’t found in the default copy command, such as the ability to recover from network interruptions, mirror directories, and copy file data and attributes. It is also faster than the regular copy command.

Here is a basic usage example:

Robocopy \\SourceServer\Share \\DestinationServer\Share /MIR /Z /W:5 /R:2 /MT:32 /LOG:C:\temp\robocopy.log
  • /MIR mirrors the source directory and the destination directory.
  • /Z ensures Robocopy can resume the transfer of a large file in DoS mode without starting over.
  • /W:5 reduces the wait time between failures to 5 seconds instead of the default 30 seconds.
  • /R:2 limits the number of retries on failed copies to 2 instead of the default one million.
  • /MT:32 uses 32 threads to do the copying (can make the copying faster but uses more network bandwidth; you can adjust the number to meet your need).
  • /LOG specifies where to store log files.
  1. PowerShell: PowerShell offers cmdlets like `Copy-Item` which you can use to transfer files. However, for large-scale file transfer, Robocopy or dedicated file copy tools would be a better choice. PowerShell scripts can be used to provide more flexible control over file transfers if needed.
  2. Dedicated File Copy Tools: There are several tools designed to copy files over networks as quickly as possible. Examples include TeraCopy, FastCopy, or GS RichCopy 360. These tools offer a GUI and are more user-friendly than command-line tools like Robocopy.
  3. File Transfer Protocol (FTP): If the file share supports it, you can use FTP for the transfer. This might be faster if the network connection between the server and the file share is slow or unreliable.
  4. Direct Server to Server Transfer: If possible, performing a server-to-server transfer can be faster than a client-to-server transfer, as it eliminates the need to move data across the network twice.

Remember that the speed of the file transfer also greatly depends on the network bandwidth, the I/O speed of your storage systems, and the sizes of the files to be transferred. For very large amounts of data, physical transfer methods (like using an external hard drive) may actually be faster.