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  1. #1
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    Copying contents of one hard drive to another

    I have two external hard drives attached to my Dell XPS 8700 desktop PC. One is a Western Digital USB 2.0 1TB drive, and the other is a new Seagate USB 3.0 2TB drive. I've used the Western Digital (old) drive as a file archive. My aim is to copy all the files from the old drive to the new, larger, faster drive. The PC is running Windows 7 Home Premium with all available updates as of today.

    The copy process will involve a total of 83,679 files in 4,738 folders, taking up about 155 GB of hard drive space.

    I've worked with PCs for almost 30 years, but I've never copied that many files at one time. Can I just use Windows Explorer to grab all the files on one drive and drag-and-drop them (or copy and paste them) from the old drive to the new drive, or am I asking for trouble? If such a massive file copy is problematic, is there a better way? The files are in 18 directories (and lots of subdirectories within those), so I could copy the files in chunks, but it would be more convenient just to do it all in one big (and probably hours-long) process.

    --Larry

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Whatever you do don't copy all that data at once, do it in manageable chunks of 10GB or less, and stay near
    so that you can monitor the entire process. You can graduate the process up to higher GB transfers, but keep it reasonable.

    YES, it IS going to take a few hours at least, so plan on doing little else.

    *There is no need for any other software or processes other than simple copy and paste.
    *Checkdisk both drive to ensure they are error free.
    *Don't do much of anything else with the system.
    *You might start off with a freshly booted system so that the memory is fresh. (optional)

    I've attempted similar backups with large video files, as long as the above is done you'll be fine.
    If I can do it with 1-2TB worth of data you can do it with just 155GB. (smaller than my music collection)
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2016-01-11 at 16:16.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    Whatever you do don't copy all that data at once, do it in manageable chunks of 10GB or less, and stay near so that you can monitor the entire process.
    Why? I've done over 500GB of data in a single copy. Just started it running Friday night.

    Does help if both devices are USB 3
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Why? I've done over 500GB of data in a single copy. Just started it running Friday night.
    Just because it CAN be done does not mean that it SHOULD be done.

    I've outlined the safest way to do it, the OP has the option of graduating the process as he sees fit.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    I also recommend the copy process, regardless of how much chunk or all-at-once you do. Pooblematic recovery can be the effect if something goes wrong during said Move process. With Copy, you can quick-compare both source and destination HDs before deleting source material.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  6. #6
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    I'd recommend RoboCopy (builtin Win 7+ you can download it for XP) as it is more efficient than standard copy. At least use a command window and XCopy. Just my opinion of course.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  8. #7
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    I wondered if you'd chip in with that RG! I concur, having started using it, it's quite simple and deals with a lot of data easily.

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    Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions so far. Here are some initial thoughts after reading your posts:

    I asked my question partly because of an experience I had probably 10 years ago. I tried dragging-and-dropping a few thousand files from one hard drive to another (copying, not moving), and somewhere in the process Windows threw up an error message and just stopped the process. The error message wasn't that helpful in telling me what had been copied and what hadn't, and it took me quite some time to figure out how to resume the process without omitting some files. I'm guessing I was using Windows XP at the time, but I don't remember exactly. In any case, that adventure made me a little shy about copying files en masse. I was thinking that Windows 7 might be safer for this sort of task, but based on the bulk of responses so far, I'm not so sure.

    I will definitely be copying and not moving. I plan to take the old drive off-line and store it off-site as a backup of all the files I've accumulated so far.

    CLiNT, Thanks for the suggestion regarding doing the copy right after booting the PC, and not doing much of anything else with the PC while the files are being copied. I'm guessing that anything else I do will just slow down the process. I figure I'll grab a good book or watch a good movie in the same room so I can keep an eye on it.

    RetiredGeek, I've never used RoboCopy, but it certainly sounds promising. Would I be able to do the sort of mass copying I'm contemplating with it? I've done some command-line stuff, but it's been a while (I'm retired, and I've probably forgotten most of what I used to know). Is there a "getting started" guide to using RoboCopy?

    --Larry

  10. #9
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    TechNet Magazine recommend RichCopy over RoboCopy.

    If you are going to use RoboCopy then it may help to use the Microsoft GUI to it. The article doesn't make it particularly clear but the GUI can be downloaded using the UtilitySpotlight2006_11.exe link at the top of the page.

    Hope this helps...

  11. #10
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    I've migrated plenty of file servers and I always use Robocopy. Never had an issue.

    Here's a little batch file to help you on your way.

    cheers, Paul
    Code:
    @echo off
    rem *****************************************************************************
    rem Script Robocopies the File Server files to a new Location
    rem 
    rem *****************************************************************************
    
    setlocal
    
    REM CHANGE the following lines to a new folder ; make sure there is enough space on the destination server.
    set Orig_Server=D:\
    set Dest_server=E:\
    
    Rem Additional options if required.
    set _opt=/quit
    ::set _opt=/XD RECYCLER /XF pagefile.sys
    set _opt=/XD RECYCLER /XD $RECYCLE.BIN /XD "System Volume Information"
    
    Rem Collect date and set up log file
    call %0\..\GetDate.cmd
    Rem Set log file location and name. Create directory if required.
    set _logdir=%~dp0Logs
    if not exist %_logdir% md %_logdir%
    set _log=%_logdir%\MigrateData%yy%%mm%%dd%%hr%%min%.log
    
    Rem Edit the file for whichever command you want to use. 
    Rem Use steps in order for efficient copying.
    
    Rem STEP 1 - RUN MANUALLY
    Rem Create file/directory structure only, do NOT copy security.
    Rem Prevents directory fragmentation and improves file system performance.
    Rem Verbose output.
    :::robocopy %Orig_Server% %Dest_server% /NDL /NFL /NP /S /E /COPY:DAT /CREATE /V /TEE /R:1 /W:1 /log+:%_log% %_opt%
    
    Rem STEP 2 - SCHEDULE TO RUN NIGHTLY
    Rem Update, only copy files that are newer than the destination. Do NOT include offline files.
    Rem Delete files not in source.
    Rem Do NOT copy security.
    Rem Quiet, log summary and errors only.
    ::robocopy %Orig_Server% %Dest_server% /XA:O /NDL /NFL /NP /MIR /COPY:DAT /R:1 /W:1 /log+:%_log% %_opt%
    
    Rem STEP 3 - RUN MANUALLY AFTER THE LAST RUN OF STEP 2
    Rem Copy Security, ownership and auditing data only. Do NOT include offline files.
    Rem Quiet, log summary and errors only.
    ::robocopy %Orig_Server% %Dest_server% /XA:O /NDL /NFL /NP /S /E /IS /COPY:SOU /TEE /R:1 /W:1 /log+:%_log% %_opt%
    
    Rem STEP 4 - UPDATE ANY FILES THAT WERE IN USE DURING THE LAST SYNC - RUN MANUALLY
    Rem Copy all newer files, do NOT delete files not in source. Do NOT include offline files.
    Rem Quiet, log summary and errors only.
    ::robocopy %Orig_Server% %Dest_server% /XA:O /NDL /NFL /NP /S /E /COPYALL /TEE /R:0 /W:1 /log+:%_log% %_opt%
    
    Rem STEP 5 - RESTORE OFFLINE FILES FROM BACKUP.
    Rem Robocopy is not suited to migrating offline files.
    
    Rem ALTERNATE COMMAND - PERFORM FIRST 3 STEPS AT ONCE
    Rem Copy all data including security, delete files not in source. Do NOT include offline files.
    Rem Verbose output.
    robocopy %Orig_Server% %Dest_server% /S /E /XA:O /NDL /NFL /NP /R:1 /W:1 /log+:%_log% %_opt%
    Rem RESTORE OFFLINE FILES FROM BACKUP.
    
    Rem errorlevel checking
    if errorlevel 16  echo ERROR: ***FATAL ERROR***  >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel 15  echo ERROR: FAIL MISM XTRA COPY >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel 14  echo ERROR: FAIL MISM XTRA      >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel 13  echo ERROR: FAIL MISM      COPY >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel 12  echo ERROR: FAIL MISM           >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel 11  echo ERROR: FAIL      XTRA COPY >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel 10  echo ERROR: FAIL      XTRA      >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  9  echo ERROR: FAIL           COPY >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  8  echo ERROR: FAIL                >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  7  echo OK:      MISM XTRA COPY >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  6  echo OK:      MISM XTRA      >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  5  echo OK:      MISM      COPY >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  4  echo OK:      MISM           >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  3  echo OK:           XTRA COPY >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  2  echo OK:           XTRA      >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  1  echo * SUCCESSFUL COPY * >>%_log% & goto end
    if errorlevel  0  echo Notice:    --no change, no data copied--    >>%_log% & goto end
    :end

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  13. #11
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    I've outlined the safest way to do it, the OP has the option of graduating the process as he sees fit.
    Why is it the safest? What's wrong with XCopy or RoboCopy or HoboCopy or EIEIOCopy of the entire thing in one chunk?
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryc43230 View Post
    I have two external hard drives attached to my Dell XPS 8700 desktop PC...My aim is to copy all the files from the old drive to the new, larger, faster drive.
    Hello Larry,

    I had a similar task recently, copying nearly 3Tb of data from an existing 4Tb external drive to another, new one. My backup software, SyncBack Pro, did the work for me, with the old drive as the source and the new drive the destination. Did it one go (slowly, of course) but it was a start and forget process.

    The software has error reporting, so had there been any problems I feel I could have dived in at the right place to fix them.

    Roger
    Last edited by RogerGW187; 2016-01-12 at 11:44.

  15. #13
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryc43230 View Post

    RetiredGeek, I've never used RoboCopy, but it certainly sounds promising. Would I be able to do the sort of mass copying I'm contemplating with it? I've done some command-line stuff, but it's been a while (I'm retired, and I've probably forgotten most of what I used to know). Is there a "getting started" guide to using RoboCopy?

    --Larry
    Larry,

    Click on the RoboCopy link in my post for the syntax. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
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  16. #14
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Doing our own copies in one block is OK, we (should) know our own PC's are stable and cool enough to cope, what we don't know is anything about the state of other people's PCs.

  17. #15
    3 Star Lounger
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    My recommendation is to use Backup software that can do a file and folder backup. Just set it up to copy everything you want from the source drive to the target drive and start it. Most of these programs can do a file verify and error reporting.

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