Copy directories with xcopy

When copying large directory structures in Windows (when moving to a new disc or server for example), you often encounter locked or inaccessible files which interrupt a normal file copy operation with Windows Explorer. xcopy will save you 🙂 Use the following command to do it. The output will be saved to c:filemovelog.txt, which you can search for exceptions at the end of the copy process.

xcopy sourceserversourcedir c:destdir /E /C /H /Y /Z /F > c:filemovelog.txt

Add the switch /D to only copy files that not already exist on the destination (or older on destination).

Windows 2000/2003 and XP xcopy syntax

XCOPY source [destination] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S [/E]] [/V] [/W] [/C] [/I] [/Q] [/F] [/L] [/H] [/R] [/T] [/U] [/K] [/N] [/O] [/X] [/Y] [/-Y] [/Z] [/EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]…]

source
Specifies the file(s) to copy.

destination
Specifies the location and/or name of new files.

/A
Copies only files with the archive attribute set, doesn’t change the attribute.

/M
Copies only files with the archive attribute set, turns off the archive attribute.

/D:m-d-y
Copies files changed on or after the specified date. If no date is given, copies only those files whose source time is newer than the destination time.

/EXCLUDE:file1 [+file2][+file3]…
Specifies a list of files containing strings. When any of the strings match any part of the absolute path of the file to be copied, that file will be excluded from being copied. For example, specifying a string like obj or .obj will exclude all files underneath the directory obj or all files with the .obj extension respectively.

/P
Prompts you before creating each destination file.

/S
Copies directories and subdirectories except empty ones.

/E
Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty ones. Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T.

/V
Verifies each new file.

/W
Prompts you to press a key before copying.

/C
Continues copying even if errors occur.

/I
If destination does not exist and copying more than one file, assumes that destination must be a directory.

/Q
Does not display file names while copying.

/F
Displays full source and destination file names while copying.

/L
Displays files that would be copied.

/H
Copies hidden and system files also.

/R
Overwrites read-only files.

/T
Creates directory structure, but does not copy files. Does not include empty directories or subdirectories. /T /E includes empty directories and subdirectories.

/U
Copies only files that already exist in destination.

/K
Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only attributes.

/N
Copies using the generated short names.

/O
Copies file ownership and ACL information.

/X
Copies file audit settings (implies /O).

/Y
Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file.

/-Y
Causes prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file.

/Z
Copies networked files in restartable mode.

The switch /Y may be preset in the COPYCMD environment variable.
This may be overridden with /-Y on the command line.