[Solved] Xcopy Is not Recognised as An Internal Command

In this guide, you are able to learn how to fix xcopy is not recognized as an internal command with provided 2 ways, and you can learn a bonus tip to transfer your files securely as well.


By Miya Updated on May 9, 2024

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Overview of xcopy command

Xcopy is a command-line utility in Microsoft Windows used for copying files and directories from one location to another. It is an efficient way of copying large amounts of data quickly across different drives, folders or servers.

But when some users attempt to use the xcopy command, they may encounter an error message stating that "xcopy is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file." This error typically occurs when the operating system is unable to locate the xcopy.exe executable file, which is responsible for executing the xcopy command.

Xcopy Is not Recognised as An Internal Command

In this guide, we will figure out what are the reasons that cause this error and how to fix it with some easy steps. Keep reading if you are interested.

Possible causes of xcopy not working

There are several reasons why this error may occur, several possible causes of this error message can be listed below:

📝Incorrect Syntax: The xcopy command requires specific parameters to be entered correctly, and if any are missing or mistyped, it can result in an error.

🎯Missing System Files: If the xcopy.exe file is missing from your Windows installation, you'll see the error message. This could occur due to a virus attack or file deletion.

💻PATH Environment Variable: Sometimes the PATH environment variable may not contain the directory where the xcopy.exe file is located. Thus, you'll need to add the directory to the PATH environment variable so that the Command Prompt can find the file.

🥇User Permissions: If you are not logged in as an administrator, you may not have the required permissions to execute the xcopy command. In such a case, you'll need to run the Command Prompt as an administrator.

How to fix xcopy is not recognized as an internal command

Here are 2 solutions for you to take to fix this issue "xcopy is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file". Try them and see if one of them works.

#1. Add the location of xcopy.exe to your system path

This error occurs when "C:\Windows\System32 " variable value is not added at the beginning of the PATH system variable. Hence the installer is not able to find the required setup files for the installation and it is throwing the error.

1. Right-click the Start button and select System.

2. Click Advanced system settings and then Environment Variables.

Environment Variables

3. Under System variables, scroll down to find Path and click Edit.

System Variables

4. Click New to add the location of xcopy.exe (for example, "C:\Windows\System32") to the end of the list of paths, separated by a semicolon.

5. Click OK to save the changes. Then restart your PC and check if you have removed this error.

#2. Use correct syntax

Make sure you are using the correct syntax for the xcopy command. The basic syntax is xcopy source [destination] /switch, where "source" is the file or directory you want to copy, "destination" is the location where you want to copy it, and "/switch" is an optional parameter that modifies the behavior of the command.

For example, xcopy C:\Users\Username\Documents D:\Backup\Documents /E. When you run this command in cmd, make sure you run the Command Prompt as an administrator.

Useful tip: Use the best xcopy alternative to transfer files

This error message can be frustrating because it prevents you from using a useful command that is commonly used for copying files and directories to other desired locations. Without the ability to use xcopy, you may need to resort to other methods for transferring files. In addition, troubleshooting the error can take time away from other important tasks, leading to delays and reduced productivity.

Thus, it is recommended to apply other methods to transfer files. Luckily, there’s one best file transfer tool called AOMEI Backupper Standard that can help you synchronize files from one location to another such as from one computer to another, transfer files from external drive to PC or vice versa, etc. You can learn about its outstanding features from the following list.

Multiple sync paths: You are allowed to sync files or folders to cloud, external hard disk, U disk, NAS, network, etc.
Schedule Sync: You can set a scheduled sync interval to run sync tasks automatically, such as daily/weekly/monthly/etc.
Support different OS: For Windows system, it is able to sync files in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, XP, and Vista. For server users, you can pick AOMEI Backupepr Server.

Download and install the freeware first and then follow the graphic tutorial below.

Download FreewareWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard and click Sync > Basic Sync.

Basic Sync

✍ You can upgrade to enjoy more advanced sync modes:
Real-Time Sync: sync changed files from the source directory to the destination directory in real time.   
Mirror Sync: always keep the files in the destination directory exactly the same as the source directory.
Two-Way Sync: any changes in the source of destination directory will be synced to the other side mutually.

Step 2. Click Add Folder to select folder on your PC you want to move. You can add multiple folders as you like by clicking the + button. 

Add Folder

Step 3. Then click the destination box, and select a destination to save your files.

Add Share or NAS

Step 4. Click Schedule Sync to create daily, weekly, or monthly automatic sync task, and click Start Sync. And it will auto sync the changes to the target folder at the next scheduled sync after you modify these files.

Sync Automatically

In the end

Now you know how to fix xcopy is not recognized as an internal command after reading the whole passage carefully. With the provided solutions, I hope you can get rid of this error message without effort. If you think that troubleshooting takes a lot of time and delays your work, then you can try using AOMEI Backupper, the best alternative to xcopy to transfer files with fast speed.

It is also the best backup and restore software that allows you to create full backup of Windows 11 PC, and restore the image if you encounter some severe problems. It also owns other powerful features such as disk clone, disk wipe, create bootable USB, etc. waiting for you to explore.

Miya · Editor
Miya has an excellent insight and receives professional and systematic technical training since joining AOMEI. She has a comprehensive understanding of computer issues, aiming at helping users troubleshoot all kinds of problems. A lot of computer users around the world have found her articles very helpful!