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Why does the following robocopy command get confused? Remove the trailing slash from the dest ("S:\Temp Backup") and it works as expected.

robocopy "S:\Temp\" "S:\Temp Backup\" /mir /ndl /mt /r:0

Output:

enter image description here

It causes the parser to include the options as part of the dest string. The main reason for asking is if you use tab completion with PowerShell, it sticks a trailing slash on the directory. Same problem happens in cmd.exe so not a PowerShell quirk.

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Why does the trailing slash on the target confuse robocopy?

Because \ is being treated as an escape character.

This applies to both the source and destination paths, but only when used in conjunction with a folder surrounded by double quotes (with or without spaces in the file name). The final (incorrect) string literal " is plainly visible when encountering this problem.

The source path version of this issue complains that a destination path hasn't been specified (since any destination path is included in the improperly escaped source path).

Solutions to this issue include using:

  • No double quotes (assuming there are no spaces in the path).

  • No trailing \ (ex. C:\path\to\folder)

  • Double trailing \\ (ex. C:\path\to\folder\\)

  • Trailing \. (ex. C:\path\to\folder\.)

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  • I hadn't a clue that robocopy even had escape characters! Makes perfect sense now. I've wrapped robocopy in a generic PowerShell script so a bit of regex/string manipulation strips the trailing backslash – munrobasher Apr 29 '20 at 22:36

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