Windows

Simplify file management with the XCopy Tool

The XCopy command has risen from the ashes of deprecation to save you time and make your file management tasks easier. This tool automates the process for XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

If you needed to copy hundreds of files from one local hard disk to another or from one system to another across a network, would you perform the operation from Windows Explorer? Possibly. However, if you wanted to do something fancy, such as copy only those files that have changed on or after a certain date or maybe copy only those files that have the archive bit set, performing the operation in Windows Explorer would be time consuming and difficult. So you'd probably shell out to a Command Prompt window and use the good old DOS-based XCopy command, along with its detailed set of switches.

Microsoft tried to do away with the XCopy command in Vista (when you run xcopy /? you see the message NOTE: Xcopy is now deprecated, please use Robocopy) in favor of its powerful cousin, Robocopy. But too many XCopy fans must have complained, because XCopy is back in Windows 7, and there's even a new switch added to the extensive list.

Since XCopy is still a viable file management tool, I updated the XCopy Tool, an HTML application I created back in 2002. This updated version, which you can download for free, works in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Installation

Once you download the Windows Vista IP Configuration Tool package, simply copy its three files to a folder of your choice:

  • XCopy Tool.hta
  • FileCab.ico
  • XCopy Tool-ReadMe.doc

The XCopy Tool.hta file is the HTA file that you'll use to launch the application. The FileCab.ico file contains the icon that the HTA uses for the control menu and the taskbar. Vista XCopy Tool-ReadMe.doc is the documentation file.

Using the XCopy Tool

Using the XCopy Tool is easy: Just double-click on the HTA file. Once you launch the XCopy Tool, you'll see the main screen, shown in Figure A. As you can see, all XCopy command's switches are available as check boxes. You can simply hover your mouse pointer over a switch to find out what it does.

Figure A

The XCopy Tool makes it easy to take advantage of the DOS-based XCopy command and its parameters.
To get started, click the Select Source and Select Destination buttons and make your folder/ drive selections. When you do, you'll see the Browse for Folder dialog box, shown in Figure B. In addition to providing a nice interface for selecting your source and destination folders, the Browse for Folder dialog box allows you to easily create new destination folders via the Make New Folder button.

Figure B

The Browse for Folder dialog box lets you choose your source and destination folders.
Once you've selected both the source and destination folders, you'll see a confirmation dialog box like the one shown in Figure C. If you click Yes, you can begin selecting options. If you click No, both the source and destination will be cleared out and you can start from scratch.

Figure C

Before you select any options, the XCopy Tool prompts you to confirm your choices for the source and destination folders.

You can then choose from any of the 30 available XCopy command options. However, you have to understand the XCopy command and know how the options work together when selecting a combination of options.

When you click OK, you'll see that current command line displayed in the dialog box and you'll be prompted to confirm the operation before you proceed, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

The XCopy Tool will display the command line so that you can confirm that this is indeed the command you want to use.
When you click Yes, a Command Prompt window will open and display the results, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

In the Command Prompt window, you'll see the XCopy operation unfold.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

31 comments
sdijakovic
sdijakovic

I believe that extending the timeout for ToolTips baloon would greatly help. Wouldn't be great to be able to save each configuration in a file, say? Add these features to this already great job, please! Thanks, Mi?o sdijakovic@bluewin.ch

janlucas
janlucas

I can't get xcopy to work on Winders 7 - I keep getting "Access Denied" even though I've set mysel up with full control on the file security tab. (and this always worked on XP)

Data Ninja
Data Ninja

Under the heading "Installation" you state: "Once you download the Windows Vista IP Configuration Tool package" I think you meant the XCopy Tool package? Excellent article, BTW.

bsf
bsf

Maybe a dream team, but I would love to see x-copy tool have an option so that it would run at a scheduled time and re run at specified intervals, any chance ?

whatisnew
whatisnew

Xcopy is a very good file management tool. The xcopy tool just makes it easy to use xcopy command.

FrankH
FrankH

I learned robocopy because xcopy was deprecated and I'm glad I did; its a great program. However there are times when xcopy would be better. I'm glad it is no longer deprecated. I don't use the GUI add-ons because I mostly use it in batch files.

drmckinzie
drmckinzie

It works great to compare, sync, or echo files between folders on different PCs, laptops, or thumb drives across XP, Vista, or Win7. I've used it for years. It remembers folder pairs so it's fast and simple to execute.

henry
henry

I am not sure if I am not on the same wave ---- but Karen Replicator has been my mainstay for years and it seems to always work perfectly for me an my clients, even across networks or to update my laptop before I hit the road. go to www.karenware.com and take a look. New Zealand

Dave O
Dave O

Great tool Greg. I made one change to the .hta on my machine. I added a button to open the Windows help file for Xcopy so I don't need to remember all those darn command line switches!

frank_s
frank_s

I never missed Xcopy in Vista, I copied it over from XP and it worked just fine. I've used a batch file and Xcopy since the days of Windows 95 to copy a few files that are very important to me to two different locations.

J-R-Doe
J-R-Doe

Thanks for the good how to use the XCopy Tool program. Please make above article available as a .pdf ...

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

I don't see an option to specify a file mask, ie: *.exe or dec*.log.

teresa.levy
teresa.levy

what I search for an app like this one. Thanks. Teresa

pgit
pgit

Someone should put together a cheat sheet 'splaining the switches in layman's terms. I could see some of my end users using this tool, especially if they could easily figure which switches they' d need.

rasilon
rasilon

Excellent tool! Thanks!! Hank Arnold (MVP)

julioa.morales
julioa.morales

I really mised xcopy in Vista but, since I transfer a lot of files between systems thru the lan, I had to migrate to robocopy becase xcopy doesn't support UNC paths. So you have to map the share first, in order to copy.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...Copy and Paste operation can come back to haunt you. Thanks!

gherardini
gherardini

...there is no need for xcopy anymore. robocopy proves its name... robust copy. from using unc paths, to its mirror feature [ /mir] to its ability to keep trying to copy a file if it is unavailable or a network interruption breaks connectivity [xcopy would just tank] there is no reason to use xcopy any more save for one reason.. change is bad and users hate change.

Realvdude
Realvdude

and not free for business use. From a technical standpoint, not being able to select by file date or attributes, would limit this products usefulness.

Realvdude
Realvdude

for long file name support. We used xcopy32 to move Win9x installations to new drives.

ITOdeed
ITOdeed

What a wonderful tool for Vista users. Thank you for it.

creis
creis

Xcopy /? doesn't have the following switches?? /B & /J What do they do?

afgcons
afgcons

perhaps Greg will be kind enough to issue a pushd ahead of the xcopy command, e.g. pushd \\julioa\SomeSharedFolder xcopy d:\Logs\*.txt popd

paganiniy
paganiniy

What about RichCopy? Microsoft said: "There was a cast that RichCopy 8 times faster than XCOPY. Of course it is faster than RoboCopy with more features."

Realvdude
Realvdude

though it is not free for commercial use. They didn't abandon the older OS versions either and added support for 64 versions.

bcjinsantafe
bcjinsantafe

Back in the days of DOS, I used XCopy quite a bit but you had to realize then that it would only copy certain files and often you would check the destination and some files were missing, The problem came because some of the files you might want to send were hidden or otherwise untouchable so you didnt know unless you made sure all the files were visible to start

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