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Backup "Documents and Settings" In Windows 7

Posted on 2014-09-18
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Last Modified: 2014-09-19
Hello Experts -
 
Does anyone out there know how to copy the "Documents and Settings" subdirectory from one drive to another? I am not talking about moving it - just making a backup copy. Windows 7 is the environment and a would like the file copied in a DOS format - so that I can restore it if need be.

Special utility programs are fair game so long as they don't run me hundreds of dollars.

This has certainly got to be a topic that many of you have had to deal with. Thanks.
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Question by:gbmcneil
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Expert Comment

by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40331792
In Windows 7 Documents and Settings is not used.  The files that were stored there in XP are now under "Users\user name".
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Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 40331813
You can copy/backup everything or anything using DriveImageXML from Runtime software.
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by:gbmcneil
ID: 40331828
Very interesting, Larry. Thanks for your reply.

One more thing. When I try to backup the Users subdirectory, there is a group of files that won't allow themselves to be copied. They seem to have long Id numbers at the end of their names. Here is one  example -

9/18/2014 9:33:35 PM  Unable to copy C:\Users\gordon\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Recovery\High\Active\{86CFDD15-3F98-11E4-BFD2-0024BED76982}.dat: The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process

Is there any way to copy these in a backup?
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 40331829
Hi Tom. Thanks for your input, but I really want the copied version to be in a DOS compatible format.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40331830
Or with windows backup....
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Larry Struckmeyer MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 40331832
Is there any way to copy these in a backup?

Yes, any proper backup program will back them up.  But you are not really asking about backup, you are asking about copy.  You could try robocopy and maybe from safe mode.  Or you could boot on some other device, such as a usb stick or a dvd and copy them while not in use.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 40331835
Are you saying that there is a Windows backup executable that I can use to copy all data in the \Users subdirectory?
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Expert Comment

by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40331881
Honestly I have not tried selective backup.  But Windows backup, starting with Windows Vista and carried over to 7 and 8.x use block level backups, not file based and are "smart" enough to backup all the files on all the local drives on the system.  Further, they are incremental, backing up ONLY the changed bits (not the changed files) and keeping the any bits until they are replaced by new bits, but only if there is not room on the target for the new bits.

So, if you have the history of the universe on your system and back it up to a USB drive, then change what happened  to the dinosaurs after the comet hit the planet, which would be a very small part of the entire history, only the changed part would be backed up on the next run.  If you should lose your hard drive you would have a choice to restore the original version or the revision.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 40332522
That depends on where your backup is located.  If there is a catastrophic problem (lightening strikes the room where your computer is or there is a fire or flood that demolishes your house), if it isn't baked up in the cloud or somewhere else - like on a portable harddrive kept in another location, it might not as well be backed up at all.
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 40332559
Thanks for your advice, Tom.

The one thing that makes me feel more secure is that each file be individually restorable without a lot of fane fair. That is why I want my backups in a DOS readable/native file format.
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Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 40332579
Like I suggested earlier, try DriveImageXML.  It is not in the format you want, but it is a free app that will do a file-by-file backup of your entire disk and is easily reinstalled to restore any backup you have made.  I use it to create backups when upgrading a system so the end user can easily access any file and restore it or a folder or the whole thing (you would need to buy it if you want to use on more than one machine at a time - the free version is for private use only).
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Author Comment

by:gbmcneil
ID: 40332958
Thanks for that info, Tom. I will look into it.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 40333047
No problem.  Good luck.
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