I have drive A: with 16G Space and plenty of files, due to the Hard-link feature in NTFS, the files together is 15G but only takes 2G of real space.

I like to copy all those files to drive B: which is a 4G USB disk, and formatted as NTFS

A: is a tool set in local disk, B: is USB disk for distribution. So I cannot use a bigger USB disk (for the reason of cost), and B: should have all files that can work on another computer.

I tried: robocopy, rsync of windows, and plenty of other disk-clone, backup solution etc.

None work, all simply give out of space error.

My question: how can I copy the files from A: to B: and keep of the hard-link structure?

Any solution welcome, as long as not reboot to non-windows or something. I am using Windows 7.


Have you tried ln.exe with "Smart Copy" function --copy?

Smart Copy basically creates a copy of the directory structure from the source location to the destination, but it preserves the inner hardlink structure and inner junction/symbolic link relations of the source, and recreates this inner hardlink structure and inner junction/symbolic link relation at the destination location

Smart Copy is a must if e.g. the whole content of a hard disk, which has lots of hardlinks/junctions/symbolic links, should be copied to another hard disk.

  • I found a software "Shadow Copy Cloner" can do what I want :) – Eric Yin Aug 30 '13 at 19:22
  • www.goldentroutsoftware.com/scc.html‎ – Eric Yin Aug 30 '13 at 19:24
  • @EricYin Dead link – M.M Jun 20 '16 at 14:19
  • ln.exe crashes consistently for me about 180GB into a copy of a 260GB folder ... any alternatives would be welcome – M.M Jun 20 '16 at 14:20
  • Succeeded with cygwin rsync as described in the other thread – M.M Jun 20 '16 at 23:10

Third party copy utilities do exist that can handle hardlinks. Look for mention of 'hard links' and possibly 'reparse points' in their documentation to help you identify if a utility can handle it.

  • 2
    :( Tried many, none works – Eric Yin Jul 27 '13 at 8:15

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