Short version:

How can I copy an NTFS folder and files from an old SSD completely, independently of NTFS permissions, to a NAS? All attempts failed, many files omitted or copy stopped completely. The SSD is not in its original Win-8.1 environment, but it is mine and I have username/password of original environment (laptop), but I am not sure how to use the (Win login) credentials in this case and if it would help.


I am trying to create a copy from an SSD from my laptop (Win-8.1) before handing it in for repair since it does not start properly. I realized I had previously backed up the main data folder (c:\users\username\documents), but missed the AppData folder, which seems to be particularly hard to back up because of permission problems. I put the SSD in an external USB-3 case and can connect it to my desktop USB-3 or directly to my Wd Mycloud NAS (connected to the router by cable). I'd like to use the copy for working and touch the original SSD as little as possible.

I tried without success:

  • SSD via PC: robocopy, with and without full copy:xxx attributes: omits many files with errors reported b/o NTFS permission problem
  • SSD via PC, AOEMI file sync (to get the folder structure instead of an image): simply omits many files.
  • SSD via PC, Windows Explorer copy-paste: usually omits some files because of path length problems. Asks me to change permissions before copy. I do not want to modify the original SSD.
  • SSD directly via NAS, copy using WdMyCloud App on PC: stops as soon as it has written the first folder, no single file copied. Error message: "file (sic, i.e., singular) not copied. This can happen, if the folder name is changed". Neither file nor folder name was changed. The "file" name displayed is in fact the uppermost folder I want to copy ("users", or "username" in users, same problem).

I am happy for suggestions. Preferably preserving time and attributes, even though I am afraid WdMyCloud does possibly not use NTFS and cannot handle Windows NTFS attributes, never mind. Preferably in Windows which I use (so far...), but if necessary Linux.

  • Would e.g. rsync on Linux have access to all files independent of Windows permissions and do the job? (as suggested here)?
  • Is it possible to change permissions on the original SSD for copying and back to the original state (in an easy and safe way!) afterwards? How would that be accomplished without risking chaos of permissions (e.g., not set for each file separately)?
  • Making the SSD NTFS permissions and new PC/user "match" by creating the same user/pw/SID sounded way to complicated from what I read?

You can bypass NTFS permissions entirely by using the ROBOCOPY /ZB command (along with any other needed options ) to enable the backup privilege as long as you're running with administrative privileges. There's more information in #976864 - "What is backup mode in Robocopy".

Note that if you have any EFS-encrypted files on the volume, this will probably not decrypt them, so be sure to export any encryption keys. Note that there are several junctions in the typical Windows 10 profile (such as "Application Data", "Cookies", "Local Settings", "My Documents", and several others). To exclude those, you'll need something like /XJD.


If ROBOCOPY /ZB as suggested by @David doesn't work, you could reset the NTFS permissions on your drive from an elevated CMD or PowerShell window using the commands:


(Assuming X: is your external SSD - replace it with the actual drive letter).

This will give you full access to all files on your drive whilst preserving normal file attributes and timestamps.

  • Does this make changes on the SSD (vs. only on the machone that is using the drive)? Is there a way to set NTFS permissions back to exactly the previous state (I assume there are plenty of different states)? – Martin Jan 20 '20 at 20:42
  • Ah, no the changes are permanent (on the target SDD). You can backup and restore the permissions later, but it's not worth the effort and will likely not work 100% if you intend to boot Windows back from the SDD (eg some permissions like the Trusted Installer or some other system-level permissions might not be restored correctly). In that case I'd suggest going with David's ROBOCOPY /ZB suggestion. – d3Xt3r Jan 21 '20 at 2:50

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