I'm trying to copy a Users Directory with XCOPY, but parts of it are not working.

(I'm running as Administrator, in a command prompt which was started with Run As Administrator)

The user directory looks like: (abbreviated)

> dir /a /q
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <DIR>          MyPC\JoeBob            AppData
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <JUNCTION>     NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    Application Data [C:\Users\JoeBob\AppData\Roaming]
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <DIR>          MyPC\JoeBob            Contacts
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <JUNCTION>     NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    Cookies [C:\Users\JoeBob\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies]
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <JUNCTION>     NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    Local Settings [C:\Users\JoeBob\AppData\Local]
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <DIR>          MyPC\JoeBob            Music
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <JUNCTION>     NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    My Documents [C:\Users\JoeBob\Documents]
05/18/2014  05:42 PM    <JUNCTION>     NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    NetHood [C:\Users\JoeBob\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts]
05/18/2014  09:31 PM           786,432 MyPC\JoeBob            NTUSER.DAT
05/18/2014  09:31 PM           262,144 NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    ntuser.dat.LOG1
05/18/2014  05:42 PM                 0 NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    ntuser.dat.LOG2
05/18/2014  09:31 PM            65,536 NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    NTUSER.DAT{016888bd-6c6f-11de-8d1d-001e0bcde3ec}.TM.blf
05/18/2014  09:31 PM           524,288 NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    NTUSER.DAT{016888bd-6c6f-11de-8d1d-001e0bcde3ec}.TMContainer00000000000000000001.regtrans-ms
05/18/2014  09:31 PM           524,288 NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM    NTUSER.DAT{016888bd-6c6f-11de-8d1d-001e0bcde3ec}.TMContainer00000000000000000002.regtrans-ms

Note that:

  • Some of the directories are really junctions (aka. symlinks / reparse points)
  • The junctions have owner NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM.

When I run the command:

xcopy C:\Users\JoeBob\*.* E: /O/X/E/H/K/B

the various switches are supposed to do:

  • /O - Copy Ownership info
  • /B - Copy Symlink

But when I actually do the copy, and view the results at the destination E:, all the Junctions have become real directories, and have owner BUILTIN\Administrators

It seems that switches /O and /B both failed.
But I cannot find any mention that those switches don't work for SYSTEM-owned junctions.

Am I missing something? Is there a good fix or workaround for this?

  • Note that Run as Administrator is not the same as Run as System. I can't answer with certaincy why this is failing, but I would assume it is due to it being owned by SYSTEM.
    – LPChip
    May 25, 2014 at 14:48
  • Nope: I changed the owner of one of the Junctions to be my Admin-user, and repeated the copy: The junction still became a Directory, and still had owner BUILTIN\Administrators
    – abelenky
    May 25, 2014 at 15:02
  • 1
    "junctions (aka. symlinks / reparse points)" Those are not the same thing. Jun 7, 2014 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


I think your mixing a directory Symbolic link with directory Junction.

A directory Junction is very different from a directory symbolic link (Symlink). XCOPY does copy Symlinks correctly (with /B) but it can't handle directory Junctions. (See an explanation of all these types here)

You can copy the directory with Robocopy and exclude the directory Junctions (with /XJ) but then you don't have those junctions in your backup. You could Google for it: windows copy junction points.

This way i found this topic with a possible solution of using the tool FastCopy which would preserve the junction points.

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