I tried this before but had troubles and don't think anything posted. Had trouble getting logged back on so sorry if this seems old news. Wife got laptop a few years ago. Toshiba Satellite 5105-S901 running XP Home. I had Sony W95 desktop and accumulated "stuff" running 2 businesses for many years. Backup habits terrible but I was happy.

Brother transferred desktop stuff to laptop with some magic fairy dust but warned not everything would work under XP so time to house clean. Got a WD USB external hard drive (80gb) larger than HD on laptop (60gb). If I try to copy lap top HD to external (highlight, copy, paste) I get an error after a while that a file is in use. Guessing this is a windows file 'cause nothing else is open.

Maybe I have to "format" the external because I tried a backup that took hours and I can't ID any file structure--just a big backup file. Maybe I'm just old fashioned but I want to "see" what I have the external drive and pick a file if I want to transfer it back to the internal HD. Tnks, Thor :?:

Is that more software to buy? If I have to get something I would like it to work. Like back in prehistoric times (DOS) P C Tools could handle multitasks. When wife bought computer the data could be transferred but not software--made for a lot of work and nobody remembered where the freeware/shareware stuff came from. Thor

Nobody knows/cares about copying their hard drive? I know somebody is out there. Give me an idea....thanks. Thor

I agree, but sometimes it happens. And then you need to recover from it by yourself... If you wish, you can buy the free tool and donate MS with the amount you want. The tool is free. Because the toolkit itself is distributed free of charge The backside of it is that it is somewhat limited in what it can do and commercial software can offer more. So for one-time task you can try if it will do the trick. But be careful. The option above (the /MIR switch) will delete all existing files on the destination drive that do not exist on the source drive! Because it mirrors the whole drive file and folder structure. By the way, it's now included in Vista distribution. For the complete list of supported switches and parameters refer to this site page. Belt up or you will be hit down from your seat with the single view of the list. It's huge. Really! Don't try to remember all switches it supports.
One important note to put here. Keep in mind that robocopy will reset your folder timestamps to the time when the operation was actually performed. That the weird thing when we are talking about folder mirroring. Nice joke... But unfortunately it's not a joke but rather a sad true. If you do that regularly (mirror my storage to the backup network drive or something else), you need to script this functionality manually. Store the filename and its timestamp say in CSV file and then extract it and apply it to copied file based on the information you've stored in the CSV file. You can use this free tool written in C++ to do that (sourcecode is also available so you can tweak it as you wish). And as always there should be commercial tools able to do that. As far as I remember, someone was talking that Scriptlogic migration products migrate the timestamps. Google says it really is so.

I have thousands of files plus programs used in running 2 businesses. Tweaking just isn't in the cards. In DOS days and even the earlier versions of windows there was always a backup or duplicating utility. Not in XP Home? I just want to copy what I have to this WD USB connected hard drive. If I plug it in I want to see a directory structure and the files (folders) just like I can see on the internal. Maybe it requires some week long copy paste routine--but I just can't believe things have gone backword so far.
KISS is my motto. Thor

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