Can Xcopy Corrupt The Files It Copies?

Posted on 2008-11-09
Last Modified: 2013-12-05
On Server 2000, I use xcopy in a batch file to make daily backups to an external HD of several directories. I am having problems with a single directory. The backup copies of the files are fine. However, for files created in Office 2007 on a Vista machine, the ORIGINAL files are corrupted after the xcopy. When I copy the backup files (created with xcopy) over the original files, all is OK again. Any ideas?
Question by:BobGipson
    LVL 35

    Expert Comment

    To make sure I got this correctly: from your Win2k server you are accessing the Vista client with this script? And is this the first Vista machine you used it on?

    No file corruption by xcopy has been officially reported, so I can only assume that it may have to deal with some of the NTFS file properties and attributes that possibly are altered/reset by xcopy after copying. Which, in this hypothesis, would only matter to Vista and/or Office 2k7, not to earlier versions.

    Have you tried using robocopy instead? Xcopy has been deprecated with Vista; maybe there was a reason for it.

    Author Comment

    Thank you for your reply.

    The files are stored on the Server 2K in a share. The Vista machine and a couple other machines all with Office 2K7 access the files on the share. Xcopy runs on the Server 2K machine in a batch file every night. The entire directory is Xcopied to a USB external HD attached to the Server 2K.  The Server 2K version of Xcopy is doing the copying. There is no Robocopy on the Server 2K machine. All the files were created in Office 2K7 Excel. Some were saved in native xlsx format and some were saved in Excel 2K3 xls format to allow broader access on older systems. I use the /F /D /V /E /C /I /H /R /Y switches with Xcopy. I don't think any of them should alter the original file.

    Thanks for any help you can give.

    Author Comment

    Preliminary research suggests that Server 2003 Robocopy may work on Server 2000. I will try this approach tomorrow and will keep you posted.
    LVL 35

    Accepted Solution

    How does the file corruption get noticed? Via validation on the Win2k machine, or when the Vista machine tries to reopen them?

    In the latter case, have you tried opening those seemingly corrupt files from one of the non-Vista machines to see whether they could still open them?

    Have you made a file comparison of the seemingly corrupt files and their backup versions to check whether there are really physical differences?

    As far as I remember xcopy, the commands you are using will not touch the archive bit. That's the only impact I know of that xcopy could have on a file.
    Are you definite that the file corruption is caused by xcopy? Have you tried opening one of those files immediately before and after the xcopy process to verify this?

    There is a version of Robocopy that comes with the Win2k Resource Kit Tools. However, the more recent and improved version that is integrated in the Win2k3 Server RK Tools is reported to work fine in Win2k as well. These tools are free downloads:

    Author Closing Comment


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