Batch file help needed

Posted on 2006-11-14
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
A friend gave me a batch file for me to configure and schedule to run my own backups, but it's not working.

Here is the original file:

@echo off
xcopy C:\Mydocu~1\*.* g:\backup\Mydocuments\*.* /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy C:\MyFile~1\*.* g:\backup\My Files\*.* /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy C:\Mypict~1\*.* g:\backup\Mypictures\*.* /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy C:\MyBusi~1\*.* g:\backup\MyBusinessInformation\*.* /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy C:\MyCHOf~1\*.* g:\backup\MyCHOfiles-inactive\*.* /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy C:\Docume~1\owner\*.* g:\backup\DocumentsAndSettings\owner\*.* /k/r/y/c/h/e/f

First question: What do the switches mean (/k/r/y/c/h/e/f)? I've searched online, but haven't found answers.

Second related question: I'm using Windows XP and whenever I've customized this to work on my machine (substituting the correct names and paths), it either won't work (is this because one of the users I'm trying to back up has an "&" in the name?) or, if I bypass the "&" in the command, it only performs the first five backup operations, but not the rest.

Also, where can I go to learn about simple batch files and how to troubleshoot them?

Thanks for the help--I'd like to get this resolved today, if possible, which is why I'm giving it 500 points.

Question by:reckon
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LVL 83

Accepted Solution

oBdA earned 450 total points
ID: 17940222
As for your first question: no need to search online. Open a command prompt, enter "xcopy /?", and you'll get a help on what the switches mean.
Two golden rules:
* Never use the short path (unless you've verified it with "dir /x"); there's no guarantee that a short name is always "<first six letters>~1", whereas the full name's there and always correct.
* Always use quotes around the path when copying.
So change your script to something like (guessing on the full names here, obviously)

xcopy "C:\My Documents\*.*" "g:\backup\Mydocuments\*.*" /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy "C:\My Files\*.*" "g:\backup\My Files\*.*" /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy "C:\My Pictures\*.*" "g:\backup\Mypictures\*.*" /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy "C:\My Business Information\*.*" "g:\backup\MyBusinessInformation\*.* /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy "C:\My CHO Files\*.*" "g:\backup\MyCHOfiles-inactive\*.*" /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy "C:\Documents and Settings\owner\*.*" "g:\backup\DocumentsAndSettings\owner\*.*" /k/r/y/c/h/e/f

And, yes, the ampersand is a special character. It should work if you use quotes, though.
Nice place to start with batch scripts:
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

Shift-3 earned 50 total points
ID: 17940299
Looks like most of what I was going to say has already been said.  Here's what's left:

Robocopy.exe from the Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools is more configurable and reliable than xcopy.  It can be downloaded here:

A good reference site for XP commands and syntax:

Author Comment

ID: 17942196
The quotes and being able to spell out the complete path (rather than xxxxx~) are what was needed--thanks!

So if I wanted to backup my files to alternating directories so that no backup is overwritten until another backup exists, would the simplest solution be to have two batch files, each pointing to different backup directories and scheduled to run on alternating weeks?
LVL 83

Expert Comment

ID: 17945758
That's probably the easiest solution for you at the moment, yes.
You could use the same script and pass a command line parameter in the tasks to define a target folder, but you might want to do that once you have aquired a bit more experience with batch scripts.
It would look something like that:

REM *** Target folder is passed as first argument in the command line, for example 'backupscript.cmd G:\Backup01':
REM *** Set variable TargetFolder to first argument, stripping potential quotes:
set TargetFolder=%~1
xcopy "C:\My Documents\*.*" "%TargetFolder%\Mydocuments\*.*" /k/r/y/c/h/e/f
xcopy "C:\My Files\*.*" "%TargetFolder%\My Files\*.*" /k/r/y/c/h/e/f

Author Comment

ID: 17946856

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