Using Microsoft's RichCopy Tool

Using Microsoft's RichCopy Tool

Sometimes copying and pasting from Windows Explorer just isn't good enough. It's fine for every-day file handling, but if you have to migrate all the files on a drive, but can't use a program like Ghost to carbon copy the volume, Windows Explorer just won't do. If you are copying all night and one file has a problem, Windows Explorer will just pop up a dialog and stop copying, leaving you unsure exactly what is done and what isn't.

I had just this issue as I was migrating a server RAID drive from the a MBR formatted drive set to a GUID formatted drive set to get past the 2TB size limit on MBR. But people everywhere will have exactly the same challenges as they copy around all of their data prior to upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Fortunately, Microsoft has published a couple of their internal system tools to help with mass copying like this. The latest one is RichCopy. RichCopy will copy directories a lot faster than Windows Explorer, and if any problems arise, it will make a note in a log window and keep on going. It was just the thing to migrate my 2 million files.

The only thing I didn't like is that it didn't have an option to retain the folder creation dates from the source directory tree. Like copying with Windows Explorer, all new folders get the date of the copy. One way to avoid this is to Move files instead of Copy them in Windows Explorer, but I don't like that because I don't like to modify my source volume until my copy is complete.

So, what I did to get the folder creation dates the same was to use EMC Retrospect's Duplicate function after copying the files using RichCopy. I realize that Retrospect Duplicate could do the job all by itself, but I found that RichCopy could move the files about 10 times faster (I'm still using Retrospect 7.6). Then, after the files were in place, Retrospect was pretty efficient about picking up any stragglers and perfectly duplicating all file and folder permissions as well as my folder creation dates.

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