Create exact image of Windows partition with Robocopy

Creating images of a directory or partition means an exact duplication sector by sector. So, when you restore, it reflects the exact structure you had when creating the image. It will create an exact copy or image or Windows partition, which later can be used to recover the Windows 10 OS.

Windows comes with an inbuilt utility called Robocopy or Robust File Copy. It is a command-line directory replication command which can copy files & directory trees in Windows 11/10. It can mirror a complete directory tree (partition) that you can use to create a stable image of your Windows Drive (like backup software or even doing a partition repair ) and save the time you spend reinstalling everything.

Create an exact image of the Windows partition with Robocopy

Open the Command Prompt and type in Robocopy, and it outputs the below help on how to use it.


ROBOCOPY     ::     Robust File Copy for Windows


Simple Usage :: ROBOCOPY source destination /MIR

source :: Source Directory (drive:path or serversharepath).

destination :: Destination Dir  (drive:path or serversharepath).

/MIR :: Mirror a complete directory tree.

To create a backup of your Primary Drive, use this command:  ROBOCOPY C:\ <externalstorage>  /MIR

While you can create a copy in another Windows 11/10 partition, we will always suggest you use an external hard drive or USB. If you face Hard drive failure or corruption, the backup will be of no use.

You can run this utility while logged in to Windows for any drive, but if you are making an image of your primary partition or Windows installation drive, there is a different method. We would suggest you boot into Advanced Recovery Mode, and then from the Command Prompt, execute the command.

RoboCopy Error or Exit Codes:

Value Description
0 No files were copied. No failure was encountered. No files were mismatched. The files already exist in the destination directory; therefore, the copy operation was skipped.
1 All files were copied successfully.
2 There are some additional files in the destination directory that are not present in the source directory. No files were copied.
3 Some files were copied. Additional files were present. No failure was encountered.
5 Some files were copied. Some files were mismatched. No failure was encountered.
6 Additional files and incompatible files exist. No files were copied, and no faults were encountered. It means that the files already exist in the destination directory.
7 Data were copied, a file mismatch was present, and additional files were current.
8 Several files did not copy.


There are a lot of options available with the Robocopy command. Complete details are here.

Download Robocopy GUI

If you do not want to use Robocopy from the command line, we suggest using the GUI version, which you can download from here. The interface allows you to select a set of arguments you want to use, source, destination, and then perform the copy job.

create image Windows partition

Robocopy is a powerful tool. The best part is that it can keep the NTFS attributes and properties intact during the copy process. That is something not followed by every copy program. We hope the tutorial was easy to follow.


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