Social Question

HungryGuy's avatar

How can I back up my entire C drive?

Asked by HungryGuy (15944 points ) May 30th, 2010

I’m trying to back up my entire C drive. But I keep getting “Such-and-such file is in use. Try closing any open programs and try again.” It won’t just skip over the offending file, it just stops the backup cold. I’ve closed everything, and still get the error. I tried copying one folder at a time from the root directory, and still get the error. There are thousands upon thousands of files and sub-folders, and I can’t possibly copy them all one-at-a-time. Help!

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

18 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

If you can start from another disk, then none of those files will be in use.

I like UBCD4Win (Ultimate Boot CD for Windows) for jobs like this.
http://www.ubcd4win.com/

You need a Windows® XP CD, with at least Service Pack 1, to burn the UBCD4Win.

HungryGuy's avatar

Thanks! I’ll look into that. I had a hunch that the solution requires booting from something other than the C: drive. After asking this Q, it occurred to me to try booting from an old DOS floppy, and then copying the C: drive.

jaytkay's avatar

If you have a DOS CD and floppy drive, I’d try that first. Burning the UBCD4Win is kind of tedious.

Linux works, too, like an Ubuntu Live CD. I’m just more familiar with UBCD4Win.

Also, UBCD4Win Windows drag & drop always failed for me with a large number of files. So I used the command line XCOPY or the newer ROBOCOPY.

HungryGuy's avatar

Oh, poo poo! Booting DOS didn’t work! I mean, it booted DOS just fine. And yes, that’s exactly what I planned to do: XCOPY the whole frigging C: drive to a sub-folder on a gimungous external USB drive… It was a hoot seeing DOS start up with all its messages and getting to a DOS prompt. But it wouldn’t recognize my C: drive. Nor would it recognize my external USB drive. Grumble…

I have an Ubuntu install CD in the wings, but not a bootable CD that’ll put me into Linux…

jerv's avatar

I use a USB Flash drive with PartedMagic for this sort of stuff. It includes Partclone , amongst many other handy utilities.

You need either a CD burner or a USB drive for it and a computer that can boot from them.

HungryGuy's avatar

@jerv – Thanks! I don’t know if I can boot from my CD drive. But I went to that link, and it just listed the filesystems that it supports. Does it give me a file-by-file backup? I don’t want to back up just an image of the partition—I want to copy all the files to a USB drive so that I can get to them from my new computer. I don’t really care about copying the swap file or .DLLs that are of no use to me any more. But Windows won’t let me copy all my files because some system files are in use by Windows. Aaaargh!

jerv's avatar

@HungryGuy If you just boot up PartedMagic then you will have a Linux desktop. It’s not a utility in and of itself, but a boot disk with a shitload of useful tools. You can copy your stuff from there just like you would from any other desktop, though I believe that you need to mount your C: drive first (there is a simple button for that that pops up after the GUI loads).

I only mentioned Partclone as one of the options included with PartedMagic, but there are many, many more. PartedMagic is a Swiss Army knife :)

HungryGuy's avatar

@jerv – That’s great, then! Thanks! I like Linux, and am familiar with the concept of mounting drives.

XOIIO's avatar

You could also use an external hard drive, buy one and there should be an option to back up your computer.

HungryGuy's avatar

@XOIIO – That’s exactly what I am trying to do: copy my C: drive to a sub-folder on a gimungous external USB drive so that I can access my old files from my new computer.

XOIIO's avatar

Is your USB drive big enough though? I would invest in an external hard drive.

HungryGuy's avatar

@XOIIO – Yup! My USB drive is a real drive, not a thumbdrive! My old C: drive is only about 20 GB, whereas my USB drive still has over 100 free out of 250 GB total. Plenty of space!

@jerv – And I downloaded that PartedMagic. When the download finished, I didn’t have a clue what to use to open an ISO file with or what to do with it. But I clicked on it anyway, and it asked me to register and then told me to insert a blank CD into my drive and created the CD for me automagically! I love software that makes itself easy to use like that!

XOIIO's avatar

Huh. What OS?

HungryGuy's avatar

@XOIIO – Okay, here’s the poop for those who haven’t been following. I bought a new computer yesterday. It came with Windows 7. I want to copy all my files off my old XP machine onto an external USB drive so that I can access them from my new computer, but XP has been blocking everything I try to do, such as telling me that the files are in use and cancelling the copy, and making my C: drive invisible when I boot a DOS floppy. There are literally thousands of files in hundreds of folders, and so I don’t want to copy them file-by-file; I want to copy the whole frigging disk from the root directory. And since I want to access my files from the new computer, I can’t just use a backup utility that creates a single compressed backup image of the drive.

HungryGuy's avatar

@jerv – woot! It works! My old machine booted off the Parted Magic CD that I created a moment ago, and I’m looking at a Linux desktop! I can see my C: drive, and it even recognizes my external USB drive.

The copy is in progress and is 12% complete. This looks like it’s going to work!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!

(And because I’m such a nice guy, GA’s to everyone who helped me by participating in this thread!)

XOIIO's avatar

LOL glad it’s working.

Just please, please don’t eat us.

HungryGuy's avatar

@XOIIO – Only if you’re a cute female are you at risk of being eaten :-p

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther