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Tags copying files , USB drives , windows xp

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Old 1st May 2012, 05:52 PM   #1
b33fj3rky
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Major Headache: Copying one external drive to another

I've got a 1TB USB drive that's nearly full. It contains hundreds of thousands of documents, photos, .mp3s and other files, poorly organized into thousands of folders and sub-folders. Knowing I was nearly out of room, I bought a 2TB drive.

Trying to get everything to copy from the 1TB drive to the new 2TB drive has proven nearly impossible. A little background: both drives are Western Digital; both seem to be fine, both have been scanned with WD's extended scan tool and shown no errors.

Here's what I've tried:

-Simply copy/paste in Windows XP. This works on some folders, but others--for example, ones with thousands of small files--won't copy. Instead, early in the copy process, the copying terminates with errors.

-Acronis True Image, WD edition--this has a function to copy an old drive to a new drive. But it terminates with errors.

-Acronis Migrate Easy - Again, it SHOULD copy the old to the new, but it terminates with errors.

The only thing that does work successfully--I call this the "Insanely Slow" method--copying folders from the 1TB external drive to the computer's internal hard drive, then copying the folder from the internal drive to the 2TB drive. (Again, I have thousands of folders on this hard drive, and to use the "Insanely slow" method, I have to transfer each one, by hand, one at a time.)

Apparently this computer can handle copying files to/from an external drive to/from an internal drive, but it just can't deal with copying large numbers of files from one USB drive to another USB drive.

Could anyone suggest a better solution?
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Old 1st May 2012, 06:09 PM   #2
Brian-M
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There's no reason why it should fail, unless there's a problem in the OS. You could try a different OS just for the transfer, something that can run directly from a bootable CD (so you don't need to install it on your computer). Puppy Linux for example.
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Old 1st May 2012, 06:17 PM   #3
GodMark2
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Download a live boot CD/DVD for a Linux distribution, boot from it, and use it's copy tool. If it's Windows that's messing things up, this should work.

Crack open the old drive, disconnect it's USB-IDE or USB-SATA controller, and plug it directly into the MB. Most 'external' drives are just internal drives with fancy housing and extra plugs. You do run the risk of destroying the drive and voiding the warranty.
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Old 1st May 2012, 07:21 PM   #4
rjh01
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What are the errors?
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:26 AM   #5
ddt
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Originally Posted by GodMark2 View Post
Download a live boot CD/DVD for a Linux distribution, boot from it, and use it's copy tool. If it's Windows that's messing things up, this should work.
This. And if you don't want those stupid graphics (I've seen them slow down copying on Windows at least), do the copying on the command line - it's really only one command.

1) Attach the old drive; wait a couple of seconds until an icon appears on your desktop with the name of the drive (let's say "Old Drive")
2) Attach the new drive; same procedure
3) Open a terminal window; you'll find that typically under "System Tools"
4) In the terminal window, change directory:
Code:
cd "/media/Old Drive"
Pressing <TAB> after the first couple of letters of the old drive's name gives you name completion, depending on how much of the two drive names differ.
5) Then the copy command:
Code:
cp -a . "/media/New Drive"
Again, use <TAB> with typing the new drive's name to give you name completion.

Any copying errors will show up on the terminal window.


Originally Posted by GodMark2 View Post
Crack open the old drive, disconnect it's USB-IDE or USB-SATA controller, and plug it directly into the MB. Most 'external' drives are just internal drives with fancy housing and extra plugs. You do run the risk of destroying the drive and voiding the warranty.
If there's something wrong with the drive itself, you also run the risk of frying your motherboard. Better buy an empty external case, with its own power, put the drive in there, and attach it with USB. You've now minimized the risk to only frying the USB controller of the MB - and probably your MB has multiple USB controllers.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 01:46 AM   #6
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If you want to try something that should be reasonably quick and easy, try downloading Microsoft's robust file copy command line utility - robocopy.

It's part of the Windows Server resource kit:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl....aspx?id=17657

but it should run on XP.

Instructions for use are here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l...=ws.10%29.aspx

I've had success in the past copying drives with deep/complex folder structures using this.

Good luck!
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Old 2nd May 2012, 02:51 AM   #7
DrDave
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There's a portable app I use called toucan that's good for doing this sort of thing.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:41 AM   #8
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Just a suggestion, hook your old and new drives up to your home network. No need to copy anything then. If it's portability that you need, then how much hassle can it be to carry around the old and new drives? They're only about the size of a sandwich.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 03:57 AM   #9
a_unique_person
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Windows XP

It was made in the days before 1TB drives, and is really showing it's age now.

As someone else said, use the command line. Even better, use xcopy. Even better, robocopy.

(robocopy is a part of the windows 2003 server toolkit, but according to this, works on XP)
http://jamesrossiter.wordpress.com/2...in-windows-xp/
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Old 2nd May 2012, 08:17 AM   #10
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I'd boot a linux flash key and use rsync.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 12:46 PM   #11
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Another vote for linux and rsync here. Any version of Windows seems to be utterly useless at file copying, there are times I have shouted at windows 7 at how aggravatingly slow and unreliable it is.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 05:55 PM   #12
b33fj3rky
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Thank you all for the help. The errors from Acronis programs involve problems reading the source disk. Copying purely through Windows from 1 USB drive to another gives "Delayed write failed" errors.

I'd never heard of robocopy; I'll try that first. If it doesn't work, I'll try a Linux live CD.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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Bon chance!

Don't forget to let us know how you get on.
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Old 4th May 2012, 03:48 PM   #14
bruto
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If you're not doing a bootable disk, just data, how about going into command mode and using the old DOS Xcopy function. You can use various switches to include subdirectories, hidden files, etc.

Xcopy syntax

If you need to transfer the operating system as well as all files and installations, and make the disk bootable, Maxblast, the program that comes with Maxtor drives (or at least it used to) will do it.
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Old 7th May 2012, 01:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Brian-M View Post
There's no reason why it should fail, unless there's a problem in the OS. You could try a different OS just for the transfer, something that can run directly from a bootable CD (so you don't need to install it on your computer). Puppy Linux for example.
You're making me redundant.
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:29 PM   #16
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Install Supercopier2 and copy the files using that. It supports resuming, and will alow you to see which files are having problems and choose to skip them (if there is file corruption).

Another option is Unstoppable Copier which retries if errors are encountered and is very useful for if there are sic errors.
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Old 12th May 2012, 04:44 PM   #17
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Drag-and-drop in Windows doesn't work so well if the full path (file name + path) is > 256 characters or something. That could be a problem, too.

Assuming there aren't corrupt files due to bad file pointers, one of those utilities should work. And if the Microsoft "robust" copy is really robust, it should be able to repair (during copy) or skip the bad files, or at least notify you which are unrecoverable.
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Old 17th May 2012, 01:15 AM   #18
Andrew Wiggin
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
Windows XP

It was made in the days before 1TB drives, and is really showing it's age now.[/url]
This. Beg or borrow a windows 7 laptop or netbook, plug in both drives, drag and drop. Then walk away and find something else to do for the rest of the day while it churns.
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Old 17th May 2012, 01:18 AM   #19
Andrew Wiggin
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Drag-and-drop in Windows doesn't work so well if the full path (file name + path) is > 256 characters or something. That could be a problem, too.

Assuming there aren't corrupt files due to bad file pointers, one of those utilities should work. And if the Microsoft "robust" copy is really robust, it should be able to repair (during copy) or skip the bad files, or at least notify you which are unrecoverable.
I've had this problem too. Sometimes what needs to happen is that I have to do some rearranging and presorting before copying to shorten the path length.
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Old 17th May 2012, 01:22 PM   #20
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Are you sure there isn't a problem with your USB drivers/ USB chipset? I had an old PC here (Pentium D, I believe) that had the same issue. The USB architecture wouldn't allow two external drives to operate simultaniously. I had to do the old copy to internal, then to new external.
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Old 17th May 2012, 05:01 PM   #21
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As an FYI, I've been collating my disparate hard drives into one 1TB hard drive with Win7 (for the moment) and I couldn't get robocopy to do what I wanted, so I reverted to xcopy and it was fast and efficient copying. Robocopy can move the files while I don't think xcopy can though. For me, in this case, it wasn't an issue.

At any rate, I recommend using xcopy as Bruno stated above.
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