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[ The PC Guide | Articles and Editorials | Xcopy Xposed ]

It Looks Good On Paper...

This method seems to make sense. After all, that's exactly what Xcopy was designed to do: duplicate files and directory (folder) trees. There's only one teensy problem: it doesn't work reliably. Xcopy does not identically duplicate all the files and folders on the partition.

The problem with using Xcopy to clone a hard drive partition is related to the way Windows implements long file names (LFNs). Every long file name, which is a file or directory name that is longer than 8 characters plus a 3 character extension, also has a short file name alias. For example a folder named "Microsoft Windows 95.doc" will also have a short file name of say, "MICROS~2.DOC". The way that LFNs work is described in detail here.

When you use Xcopy, there is the potential for these short file name aliases to be changed. So the alias for "Microsoft Windows 95" could be changed to "MICROS~1.DOC". This can cause programs to malfunction and strange behavior to begin on your system. And you will have no idea at all what is causing this problem, since you used the "guaranteed to work" Xcopy method that Joe Blow on Usenet told you about.

Next: "But! But! You're Wrong! It Does Work, I Did It Myself!"


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