How To Make Windows Continue When Copy Fails

Win XP SP2.

I have a dying hard drive, so I got a replacement and I’m trying to get as much off as I can. None of this is critical data, but it would still suck to lose it.

Most of the files are readable, but some just aren’t, and I get cyclic redundancy errors when I try to copy them. The problem I have is that when I try to copy a directory, Windows willl go as far as the first file error and then just stop. Since I may have hundreds or thousands of bad files, I’m not looking forward to copying them individually. I know that not all my files will be recoverable, but I need something that will just copy the files it can, even if some won’t work. Is there a simple script or application that will do this? If I copy from the command line, will it work?

I don’t think you can get it to work from Windows XP. You can try a dedicated copying and imaging utility such as Norton Ghost among others. Try to see if there are any copying utilities for free or which a trial period that you can get to work.

this drives me nuts as well, but I don’t have a solution.

I do recall there being a -quiet and -igonre errors switches for commandline, so it might be worth a look in if you do it a lot.

In Windows 2000 at the command line you can use xcopy /c which, according to xcopy/?, is the Continues copying even if errors occur switch.

Note that it’s the xcopy command, not just copy.

If the information is important enough to you, go to and buy a copy of SpinRite ($90). It will get as much as possible off the old disk. Heck, it may even repair enough it enough for you to continue using it for a while.

You could also use “for” to copy each file individually, if the xcopy thing doesn’t work for some reason. But I’m pretty sure this will only copy the files in the current directory, it won’t read sub-directories.

The command would be something like:

C:\ > for %i in (*) do copy %i d:

xcopy will probably do the job, but robocopy.exe from the Windows 2003 Resource Kit Tools is better. It will repeatedly try to copy each file until the destination directory and the source directory are synchronized. This process will take a very long time on a damaged drive, but it may recover more complete files than other methods.

xcopy did it for me, with the following options: /c /s /y. /c ignores errors, /s does a recursive copy of all subdirs, and /y keeps it from prompting you about overwriting files. here is Microsoft’s reference on it.