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Xcopy hard drive

By michaelh ·
Is it possible to use xcopy to copy a primary drive as a backup hard drive and still retain the bootable properties?

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by TheChas In reply to Xcopy hard drive


You need to do 2 things to a FAT file system drive in order to make it bootable.

1. The primary DOS partition needs to be active.
This setting is changed by running fdisk.
Only 1 drive on a system can be the active DOS partition.

2. The system files must be installed, not just copied to the drive.
From the proper boot disk, run the command:
sys c:

I have to admit that I have not played with this issue on a NTFS system.
I'm sure that you still need to mark the primary partition as active, and create a master boot record.


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by wcp In reply to Xcopy hard drive

You want to image your primary HD using XCOPY. If this is what you meant the answer is YES.
I have done it in Windows 2K Pro and Windows XP.

You need two computers to accomplish it and you must use XCOPY from Command Prompt while you are in Windows XP (or 2000).

The reason you need another computer is that Windows files (SAM, DEFAULT, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM, and SECURITY) CANNOT be copied from the Boot volume (or your primary HD).

It is essential the HD that you are trying to image to should not have been connected when the Windows XP was on. If this was the case, turn the computer off, disconnect the HD, turn the computer on, and off.

Disconnect the two HDs and connect them to the second computer. Again, this second computer must have Windows XP (or 2000). You may connect the two HDs as Secondary Master and Slave. Let?s say the old primary HD is and the HD you want to image the old primary HD is E: in your second computer. If E: is not already partitioned and formatted in NTFS, you have to do that in Disk Management.

Open the Disk Management (Right click on My Computer < Manage < Disk Management).
On the right pane, you will see three HDs; C, D, and E. You will also notice that the C: and are Active. You have to make E: Active (Right click on E and click on Mark Partition as Active).

Navigate to Command Prompt and use the following command.

Xcopy *.* /s/h/e/c/k/y/r E:

Once it is done, disconnect the two HDs ( and E:). Now you may connect the E: as Primary Master in the first computer and it will boot to Windows XP as the old primary HD did.

If you need more help, please add a comment.

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by michaelh In reply to Xcopy hard drive

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