I am trying to write a batch file to back up my locally stored files to a network drive. Some folders are being successfully copied, but others are not; instead the destination folder is being deleted when the command is executed.

Working as expected (copies all files into destination folder):

XCOPY /Y "C:\APPS\lse_jboss-4.2.3.GA-1.1\server\default\deploy\lse_datasources-esl_sourcesdedonnees" "H:\My Documents\RESTORE\Data sources"
XCOPY /Y "%AllUsersProfile%\Desktop" "H:\My Documents\RESTORE\Desktop - Global"
XCOPY /Y "%UserProfile%\Desktop" "H:\My Documents\RESTORE\Desktop - mwa700"
XCOPY /Y "%UserProfile%\Favorites" "H:\My Documents\RESTORE\Favorites"
XCOPY /Y "%UserProfile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates" "H:\My Documents\RESTORE\Office templates"

Not working as expected (copies 0 files, and deletes destination folder):

XCOPY /Y "%UserProfile%\java_libraries" "H:\My Documents\RESTORE\java_libraries"
XCOPY /Y "%UserProfile%\workspaces" "H:\My Documents\RESTORE\workspace"

Are there contents or properties of either folder that could explain this behaviour?

  • Xcopy is sooo 20th century. Have you considered using Robocopy?
    – kinokijuf
    Dec 14, 2011 at 15:08
  • @kinokijuf: Work computer, so installing non-standard software isn't an option.
    – Matt
    Dec 14, 2011 at 15:41
  • 2
    Robocopy is a microsoft app that is included in the server admin pack. Your IT shop shouldn't have a problem with it: google.com/search?q=robocopy+download Dec 14, 2011 at 15:50

3 Answers 3


Yes. By default xcopy copies files only, not directories. So if your source directories only contains other subdirectories it will not copy anything. To make sure you also copy directores use the /E flag to copy directores and subdirectores (including empty ones) or /S to skip the empty directories.

xcopy /Y /E "src" "dest"

Also use /I to assume destination is a directory if more than one file is copied.

xcopy /Y /E /I "src" "dest"

For more help use

xcopy /?

I don't know if this is an answer that works for you, but I used an xcopy command to copy all of a C: folder to a backup location on another disk device (call it folder E:\A). After the copy completed successfully, folder E:\A disappeared from Explorer!

By moving the device at E: to another computer, I could see that xcopy had set the S and H (System and Hidden) attributes of E:\A, causing it to vanish. These attributes had, perhaps correctly, been copied from the C:\ folder to the E:\A folder itself.

I used the attrib command to restore those two attributes, and all is now well. E:\A contains the folders and files that were copied from C: .


Try using the dos formatted filename for the Documents and Settings, or use the %userprofile% path command variable.

The only difference between your two statements above is there are not spaces in the source in the working script, and there are spaces in the path of the non-working script.

Use the %userprofile% path command first, it's easier and supported by all MS OSes.

  • Behaviour is unchanged using this instead (commands that worked before continue to work, commands that deleted the destination folder continue to delete the destination folder). I will update my question to use this format instead, since it does eliminate a variable.
    – Matt
    Dec 14, 2011 at 15:36
  • Downvote? Why? I provided a possible answer and it turned out to be incorrect. Save the downvotes for unhelpful, not merely inaccurate answers and posts. Dec 14, 2011 at 16:29

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