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Windows 7: Copying oddity


08 Oct 2009   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Copying oddity

I have a personal habit, whenever I am about to re-format my OS drive, I copy every single directory and file off of it, to an external HDD. So that after I have installed the new OS, I can dig back through the old one for any configuration files, etc, that I need to manually recover and stick back where they need to be.

So, I have been using 7 RC for a while. And I just got my party pack (woo!) with retail in it. I want to format my drive, obviously.

So, I revealed hidden folders and everything (as I always do when I do this), selected all on C drive, and then tried to copy to external drive. Well, for some reason it keeps only copying a small portion of the root folders (either first 10 or last 10 when there are about 50 total) and then just stopping as if it is finished. All in all only transfering about 5GB data when there is 50GB I need. It just doesn't even attempt to copy most of the folders and items I am dragging. WTF? Try it out and see for yourself...


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Oct 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Alternately, it tells me that my 50GB of data is 232GB large and cannot fit on the external drive I am copying to. LOL.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

Have you tried the Windows Easy Transfer tool? For a test of that a temp install of the 7 RC was seen on an extra drive where the backup made was then restored completely.

That included custom folders as well as the usual user account folders and even things like the wallpapers set with the DisplayFusion program for dual monitors. As the restoration was inprogress the default desktop stretched across from the primary to secondary display suddenly saw the same two separate wallpapers set as they had been.

The compression of some 232gb was down to about 95-98gb total. For going from RC to retail however you wouldn't want to be restoring programs but seeing fresh installs of each for the obvious reasons. But you can pick and choose which files and folders are archived for restoration later once you have the retail installation up and running properly.

For running out of space and seeing more then you bargained for as far as size you have to remember that folders contain sub folders within sub folders where some are not visible by default. You have to calculate the actual size of each once you have taken ownership and made hidden files and folders visible.

You may inadvertently included restore points along with the folders you selected which would also explain why certain files seemed much larger then you assumed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Oct 2009   #4

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Is it possible you are copying over the entire C drive? Including all the junctions and hardlinked files/folders? There is also an issue with permissions, you may not have the permissions required to copy a file/folder.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
Have you tried the Windows Easy Transfer tool? For a test of that a temp install of the 7 RC was seen on an extra drive where the backup made was then restored completely.
I am not sure what you mean by that second sentence, but I don't need any special tools to back up data folders directly.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
The compression of some 232gb was down to about 95-98gb total. For going from RC to retail however you wouldn't want to be restoring programs but seeing fresh installs of each for the obvious reasons.
Again, I'm not sure what you mean by that first sentence. I am not "restoring programs" but simply configuration files. For example, here is a list of things I save when I go to a new OS install:

internet favorites
game cfg's
game saves
photoshop cfg's and actions
firefox cfg's
EVEREST cfg's

The list goes on. I used to manually grab things one by one before formatting the drive, but I risk forgetting something. So since I have tons of external storage, I just like to copy the WHOLE thing and pick and choose what I want to save from it at a later date.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
For running out of space and seeing more then you bargained for as far as size you have to remember that folders contain sub folders within sub folders where some are not visible by default. You have to calculate the actual size of each once you have taken ownership and made hidden files and folders visible.
I do understand how folders work... and I know the total size of the data I wanted to transfer was 50GB. However, I found the cause of the "data too big" dilemma. I have a folder buried down in my TF2 installation for recording demos which I mapped to an external drive. Apparently it was trying to copy that entire external drive as a subfolder, although it didn't include it in my size calcs when I did "properties" on the top parent folder. Tricky.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Is it possible you are copying over the entire C drive? Including all the junctions and hardlinked files/folders? There is also an issue with permissions, you may not have the permissions required to copy a file/folder.
As I mentioned above, it had to do with an external drive mapped to a "folder" on my C drive.

However, there are still certain folders on my C drive I can't copy. Some I can't even open. Like "Documents and Settings" for example. It has a lock symbol and I cannot open it. I am not sure why that folder even exists since it sounds like a remnant of XP, since Vista/7 use "Users" folder instead. However, regarding permissions, how is it possible that as an ADMINISTRATOR on my own computer there are certain folders I cannot access? How does that make any sense? Besides "Documents and Settings" there is also one other folder "System Volume Information" which I am denied access to. I really don't care what's in there, but on principle, how can I be denied access to the contents of my own disk?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #7

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

Administrator is not the full powerful user group as you think it is. SYSTEM account is what has root power. System Volume Information contains system sensitive files there is nothing in there you actually need to see or copy. As for Document and Settings folder it is but a junction to the Users folder. Review the permissions assigned to this folder, the "Everyone" account is listed with a single DENY permission. This folder is best discarded along with the rest of the junctions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

Another thing to ask here would be just how large is the external drive as well as how much actual free space is now available on it in order to see a rather large backup. If you are going with the Ultimate edition the system image for the RC would present a large problem trying to restore that on a clean install of the finished retail 7 for a start.

With multiple drives here the option of regular backups eliminates worry about losing files and running into problems later since files are stored in separate custom folders and sub folders for further separation of file types, utilities, system and hardware updates, etc. there.

For simply copying entire folders of all types from C onto the external drive I have to agree with logicearth about running into immediate problems of all sorts. Think back to how you would save files and data out of the Windows.old folder to get an idea of what you would be able to save.

The Windows Easy Transfer tool also saves settings as well as the files and folders selected. But the retail 7 will obviously be working with several changes made including the system registry itself.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Night Hawk View Post
For simply copying entire folders of all types from C onto the external drive I have to agree with logicearth about running into immediate problems of all sorts. Think back to how you would save files and data out of the Windows.old folder to get an idea of what you would be able to save.
There are no problems with this... I've been doing it like this for years. The only files which I am going to "harvest" out of the backed up folder are OS agnostic files like .cfg's. I don't even know what a Windows.old folder is... I'm guessing it's something that comes from doing a Windows "upgrade"... but I always format and do clean installs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2009   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by logicearth View Post
Administrator is not the full powerful user group as you think it is. SYSTEM account is what has root power. System Volume Information contains system sensitive files there is nothing in there you actually need to see or copy. As for Document and Settings folder it is but a junction to the Users folder. Review the permissions assigned to this folder, the "Everyone" account is listed with a single DENY permission. This folder is best discarded along with the rest of the junctions.
Yes you are right, there is a single deny permission for Everyone... but my admin account has identical permissions to the system account (nothing denied), and I cannot access the folder with the admin account. Even the everyone account has "read" permissions to it.

Assuming there is something I could do with a system account but not an admin, how do I become system?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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