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Fastest way to copy files on Windows

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Joe_Z on 22 May 2020
Commented: Rik on 22 May 2020
I am interested in the fastest way to copy files from one directory to another in MATLAB on Windows platform. I have two questions, one about the quickest way and the second about how memory is used in MATLAB which is why I did not just go ahead and test this myself.
A file structure driveA: main_folder > subfolders > files.ext could be copied by
% 1) Copy entire main folder
copyfile('driveA:\main_folder', 'driveB:\main_folder');
% 2) parallel copy the subfolders
subfolders = dir('driveA:\main_folder\*'); % ignoring . and .. for now
parfor i = 1:length(subfolders)
copyfile(fullfile(subfolders(i).folder, subfolder(i).name), ...
fullfile('driveB', subfolder(i).name));
% 3) parallel copy every individual file
files = dir('driveA:\main_folder\*\*.ext')
parfor i = 1:length(files)
path_split = strsplit(files(i).folder, filesep);
path_no_drive = path_split(2:end);
copyfile(fullfile(files(i).folder, files(i).name), ...
fullfile('driveB', path_no_drive, files(i).name));
Q1: is there likely to be much difference in performance, particularly between methods 2 and 3?
Q2: the reason I did not test this myself is I have a feeling that when repeating copying files, if repeating a copyfile procedure the files copy much faster if they have been copied recently, as if they were still held in memory. Is this is the case?
Thanks for your help
  1 Comment
Rik on 22 May 2020
About your second question: that depends on the storage medium you're using. Most drives will use some form of caching. If the files are still in the cache, the writing will be much faster.
I doubt there will be much difference between these three methods, although the second and third might trigger multiple threads of the file transfer, which would speed up the copying.

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