xcopy Options for Backup

xcopy Options for Backup

This post is part of a project to move my old reference material to my blog. Before 2012, when I accessed the same pieces of code or general information multiple times, I would write a quick HTML page for my own reference and put it on a personal site. Later, I published these pages online. Some of the pages still get used and now I want to make them available on my blog.

Photo by [Annie Spratt](https://cdn.hashnode.com/res/hashnode/image/upload/v1627409914681/l85aJOyu9.html)Photo by Annie Spratt

The command-line program xcopy can be a useful tool for scheduled backups. It can be used to mass-copy files and folders to another location such as a network attached storage device. Use the options below for best results.


xcopy [source] [destination] /C /E /G /H /I /K /M /R /X /Y

Switch Explanations

  • /C — Continues copying even if errors occur. Without this option, a backup could could end unexpectedly because of one corrupt file.

  • /E — Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty ones. We want to preserve the exact file and folder structure.

  • /G — Allows the copying of encrypted files to destination that does not support encryption. Making sure everything is being copied exactly.

  • /H — Copies hidden and system files also. Again, making sure everything is being copied exactly.

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

  • /K — Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only attribute. Again, making sure everything is being copied exactly.

  • /M — Copies only files with the archive attribute set, turns off the archive attribute. This ensures only files that have changed since last backup are backed up.

  • /R — Overwrites read-only files. Since the /K switch is copying all attributes including read-only, use this option to make sure read-only files that were changed are backed up.

  • /X — Copies file audit settings (implies /O). Again, making sure everything is being copied exactly.

  • /Y — Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file. Many files are probably going to be overwritten, this will automatically overwrite them without prompting on each one.


xcopy C: \\backup-server\user1 /C /E /G /H /I /K /M /R /X /Y