Not knowing about your IT lingo level, let's have a a short "Path 101
followed by colon are used by Windows computers to identify disk drives. This system we still have and use exists thanks for early DOS
operating systems. Traditionally drive identifiers A:
are (were) reserved for floppy drives, C:
for first hard drive where you OS is installed and D:
for first removable media drive, normally CD and / or DVD drive.
Floppy drives are almost extinct so basically also the identifiers A:
are today free for hard drives and removable media drives but to keep the logics of the system if you use default settings when installing Windows it skips A:
installing OS on C:
instead and gives identifier D:
for your first CD/DVD drive, naming additional hard drives and other possible (internal and external) drives starting from E:
The Backslash "\
" is used on DOS / Windows command language to separate folders (earlier Directories) on a path statement. Thus a typical path statement consists a drive identifier followed by a root level (main) folder and possible subfolders, all separated with backslashes. When path statement does not end with so called wildcards
or a filename, it points to the last subfolder on path and all content of it. If it ends with a filename or wildcards it points to that/those files that match the criteria.
- By default a Windows 7 user folder is located on C: hard drive, in root level folder Users' subfolder USERNAME, so for instance my user folder could by default be found in C:\Users\Kari. Notice the backslash signs, first one to separate drive C: from the root level folder Users, the second to separate root level folder from its subfolder Kari.
- I want to copy everything including subfolders but no empty folders on my user folder to an external hard drive X:, creating a subfolder Kari on X: root level folder Backup Files. The syntax is:
Notice I did not put the source path (C:\Users\Kari) within quotation marks. I could have done it, no prob there, but because that path statement does not have any spaces the quotation marks are not needed. Target however has a space so quotation marks are obligatory.
xcopy C:\Users\Kari\*.* /s "X:\Backup Files\Kari\"
- I want to copy all photos from My Pictures taken last year to a USB stick currently having the drive identifier P:, to its root level folder Photos 2011. As I know my digital camera names all photos as YEAR-MONTH-DAY-IDNUMBER.png (for instance 2012-NOV-18-PIC0112.png), I can use XCOPY with source and target paths, using wildcards to pick the files to be copied. Syntax:
xcopy "C:\Users\Kari\My Pictures\2011*.png" "P:\Photos 2011\"
Path 102 only if requested