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.


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.


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.

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