Copying Your Hard Drive With RobocopyPosted by Dylan Beattie on 12 November 2021 • permalink
Time to reinstall Windows - after 18 months of running Insider builds, hacking around with weird WSL/Docker network configurations, and trying out more weird video streaming hardware than you can possibly imagine, I’ve hit the point where certain things just don’t work any more.
- Copy everything from the C: drive to somewhere safe.
- Do a clean reformat & reinstall.
- Yay everything works now.
Turns out it’s actually way harder to copy everything from your C: drive onto another drive when you’re still running from that C: drive. Lots of files are locked because they’re in use, and a bunch of weird junction points (Windows-speak for symbolic links) that in some cases can actually lead to infinitely deep recursive nested directories.
Here’s the command that worked in the end:
robocopy /s /b /z /xo /xj /V /R:0 /W:0 /copy:DT C:\ G:\backups\c\
And here’s how that breaks down:
robocopy /s Copy all subdirectories (except empty ones - use /e for that) /b Copies files in backup mode (overrides file & folder permissions) /z Copy files in restartable mode /xo Ignore older files - useful if you need to restart the whole thing /xj Ignore junction points. /V Verbose. List everything as it's copied. Handy to see what's going on. /R:0 Retry files zero times if there's an error /W:0 Wait zero seconds before retrying /copy:DT Copy only data and timestamps (i.e. do not copy permissions, attributes)
Check out the full Robocopy docs at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/windows-commands/robocopy