I am trying to deploy a website from my desktop to my webserver and so right now I am doing this:

 xcopy C:\source X:\destination /s

My desktop is a Windows XP machine, and I need to copy to a Windows Server 2008 machine, but this copies everything and the whole site is very large and it takes a really long time to finish copying.

Is there a way to specifically just copy new or updated files? I see you can pass in a changed-since date, but I wanted to see if there is a simpler way to compare against the destination file...

Also, I am open to using anything outside of xcopy that can do the job as well...


6 Answers 6


From the XCOPY documentation:

/d[:mm-dd-yyyy] : Copies source files changed on or after the specified date only. If you do not include a mm-dd-yyyy value, xcopy copies all Source files that are newer than existing Destination files. This command-line option allows you to update files that have changed.

So, with your example, it should read:

xcopy C:\source X:\destination /s /d
  • 2
    the "/d" seems like you have to give it a date. as mentioned in the question, I don't have a cutoff date in mind. i just want to copy over new and updated files
    – leora
    Jul 8, 2011 at 18:32
  • 14
    No, the date is optional! Thats why it is in square brackets. Did you actually read that line? It says it does exactly what you want it to do!
    – Mark
    Jul 8, 2011 at 18:36
  • 4
    The only thing to be careful about with this answer is that the web server and your workstation are set to the same time! If they aren't both using NTP this could either miss files or copy more files than necessary.
    – CarlF
    Jul 8, 2011 at 20:52
  • 5
    While the documentation states it precisely, it's easy to overlook the /d because it's not that salient that the date is optional, then look at the other options and think there's no solution. :-) Aug 31, 2015 at 14:52
  • 2
    If a file doesn't exist in the destination folder, it seems that /D with no date specified WILL copy it, which may not be the desired outcome.
    – tbone
    May 16, 2016 at 21:31

Robocopy is a good alternative as well:

By default Robocopy will only copy a file if the source and destination have different time stamps or different file sizes.

Plus, you can do a lot more - the mirror command is handy for websites where you are deleting files as well.

  • 1
    Thanks for mentioning robocopy - its always nice to learn some of the new utilities available. Mar 22, 2013 at 12:56

Use the /A option. All the new or modified files will have archive attribute set.

Check the below link for details:

Xcopy command syntax and examples

  • 2
    Yes, but unless you xcopy /M, then the source files will still have the archive attribute set after you've copied them, and will be copied the next time as well. Requires write-access to the source files. Aug 22, 2014 at 13:24

There's rsync, but I haven't used in on Windows. The way I normally use it on Linux is:

rsync -avuz src/ remote:dst/

which only sends updates (new and modified files).


I have following task scheduled for ~80k files and ~2k folders:

xcopy \\sourceserver\share\ Q:\backuptarget\folder\ /i /d /y /he /C /EXCLUDE:C:\backup\list.txt > C:\backup\backup.log

the /C option continues the copy even if "access is denied" to file or folder due to it being open or not having permission under service account you run this scheduled task under.

the ">" overwrites the log each time if you want to append you can use ">>" pipe.


BitTorrent Sync works wonderfully. It will update automatically whenever you change a file. Peer to peer. Update multiple locations at once if you need to. Easy to use.

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