I need to make a backup of my entire Users folder from within Windows, but I also really need to be able to use my computer normally. I'm planning to use Robocopy for this purpose, and want to clarify its behaviour when it comes to open files.

If I ran the following command:

robocopy SOURCE_PATH DESTINATION_PATH /e /z /copyall /r:30 /w:15 /mt:64 /v /eta

...how would Robocopy handle files from the source that I'm working on? Is there a possibility that the command will break, or will it simply skip the file after the specified amount of retries?

If it's just the latter, I'm planning to manually copy the modified files to the new directory at a later point and then compare the total size of the two User folders to be sure everything copied successfully.

In addition, what is the situation with using programs like Firefox while Robocopy is copying? What files, if any, does Firefox leave open while browsing, and will it be necessary to copy these over after the backup?

  • Just as FYI... I'd consider using /ZB rather than just /Z so it can. Just let it run and look over the logs to see if it errors out or not on in-use files with the /B switch for "backup mode". Consider volume shadow snapshots for additional in-use temp snap shot backups along with off hours Robocopy runs of the backup jobs to get anything otherwise in use previously and look over the logs some more to become familiar with who has what in use if it errors, to train then, etc. and get the process down. I've used RC successfully for many backup jobs with in-use files, etc. including PSTs. – Pimp Juice IT Nov 7 '17 at 4:10
  • @TheFurryITSnuggleBuddy Is looking over logs really necessary? I wasn't planning to configure any additional logs at all, and I believe without a log file RC defaults to console input only? I figured that since I was using /copyall, comparing total sizes after manually copying over in-use files would be sufficient to ensure everything was copied as intended. In this case, I am the end user, it's just a home machine. – Hashim Nov 7 '17 at 22:12
  • I suppose not then........ – Pimp Juice IT Nov 8 '17 at 3:09

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