Backing Up Files and Folders with the XCOPY Command

Back in the days before a graphical backup utility was included with Windows, the XCOPY command line tool handled this job. XCOPY is still a great tool for backing up files and folders to an alternate location, and supports a large number of switches to control everything from overwriting files to whether the archive attribute should be changed during the process.

The XCOPY command also supports wildcard characters such as * to allow you to select files with certain names or extensions in a single command. As an example, to back up all files in the c:\documents directory that have changed since October 28, 2005 to a directory called e:\backup, the correct syntax would be XCOPY c:\documents e:\backup /D:10-28-2005.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.