Thursday, February 18, 2016

Copy files without permissions, Robocopy cmd line or Richcopy GUI for Windows

Need to back-up laptop and desktop drives without file permissions getting in the way? 
1) Command Line - GUI tool see below

Use RoboCopy (Robust File Copy) a command-line file copying tool built into Windows. It is designed for high-speed multi-threaded reliable copying to target destination, especially with long and peculiar file names that Windows Explorer has trouble copying. 
This particularly useful when back-up from old drives to external USB drive, in this example. Additionally, you can specify that file permission NOT be included when copying the files over so, any computer that uses the external harddrive can see those files.

This command worked well for me.

  1. Restartable mode (/Z) has to do with a partially-copied file. With this option, should the copy be interrupted while any particular file is partially copied, the next execution of Robocopy can pick up where it left off rather than re-copying the entire file. That option could be useful when copying very large files over a potentially unstable connection.
  2. Backup mode (/B) has to do with how Robocopy reads files from the source system. It allows the copying of files on which you might otherwise get an access denied error on either the file itself or while trying to copy the file's attributes/permissions. You do need to be running Command Prompt or Poweshell as Administrator context or otherwise have backup rights to use this flag.

This command works well and the /B swicth ignores file permissions. Make sure you understand the other switches, see below.

RoboCopy Command Line Syntax:

RoboCopy has a handy command line progress indicator too which comes useful while copying large files and will indicate what and which files failed to copy. Summary is excellent as well.
    Total    Copied   Skipped  Mismatch    FAILED    Extras
    Dirs :      318         0         0         0         0         0
    Files :     773         0         0         1         0         0

    Bytes :   2.158 g   2.158 g       0         0         0         0

    Times :   0:05:00   0:05:00    0:00:00   0:00:00   
0:00:00   0:00:00

    Speed :             7717714 Bytes/sec.

    Speed :             441.611 MegaBytes/min.

    Ended : Thur Feb 18 12:23:14 2016

Robocopy is built-in on the following Operating Systems: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 
Robocopy was available for free download with the Windows 2003 Resource Kit since Windows NT 4.0., Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 or Microsoft Windows NT version 4.0.

If you have a problem following command lines, then there's

2) RichCopy a utility with a GUI available from Microsoft MSDN Magazine.
This is an improvement and separate tool from Robocopy GUI.
Get RichCopy download  and the full MSDN Article about this is here. Help here.

RichCopy is a free utility that comes to us from Ken Tamaru of Microsoft. The tool was first developed in 2001. It too is multi-threaded will allow you to ignore file permissions.

Multi-threaded means that rather than copying one file at a time in serial order, RichCopy can open multiple threads simultaneously, allowing many files to be copied in parallel and cutting the total time required to complete the operation several times over. You can also pause and resume file copy operations, so if you lose network connectivity at any point, you can just pick up where you left off.

How to ignore file attributes (permissions) when copying
Firstly, choose Advanced

Choose Copy Options

Select 1) File attributes, Error Handling and then Unheck 2) File Attributes 

Additionally, you can select which File attributes to set or File Attributes to remove. The tool is very extensive!  Tool comes with help file, but for reference Online help is here.

Richcopy errors with Path Too Long Issue

Richcopy just bombs out and closes when it runs into an errors such as path too long errors and permission errors.

3)  FastCopy 

FastCopy is free open source C project written by Shirouzu Hiroaki 

Touted as "The Fastest Copy/Delete Software on Windows."  and  "It supports UNICODE and over MAX_PATH (260 characters) file path names."

This means you can over come "paths too long" or "Source Path is too long" "Destination Path is too long"  or  "File cannot be copied" errors in most cases.

How? You can copy all you long paths to new location with shorter path.

However, this is only 1/4 of the solution. This does not solve the problem of the filename itself is too long, and your are still perpetuating this error.  You will still get these errors "The file name(s) would be too long for the source/destination folder", next time you copy. To correct these errors, see Path Tool Long Auto Fixer tool below.

4)  Path Too Long Auto Fixer 

Better still, get Path Tool Long Auto Fixer tool I build to solve this issue completely. It's the 1st tool of it's kind to find all directories and files that are too long and auto correct them!

It supports UNICODE as well and finds paths and fixes over the MAX_PATH (260 characters) limit.

Download free demo at