Windows – Using robocopy and excluding multiple directories


I'm trying to copy some directories from a server before I restore from backup (my latest backup was corrupt, so I have to use an older one 🙁 ). I'm in the Windows Recovery Environment and have access to the server's file system G:\ and my backup media C:\. But, since I'm more familiar with Linux, I'm having a bit of trouble with the command line in Windows, specifically robocopy.

I want to copy multiple directories (maintaining the same directory structure) from G:\ to C:\ while excluding others (namely, the Windows and Program Files folders). I can't figure out the syntax for the /XD option. I was hoping to do something like:

robocopy G: C:\backup /CREATE /XD "dir1","dir2", ...

NOTE: I want to clarify that I want to copy the actual files while maintaining the directory structure too. I just checked, and /create only creates empty files. Weird.

Best Answer

I figured it out with a little trial and error and the /L (to test the command before doing it for real). The command I end up with is:

robocopy G: C:\backup /MIR /XD G:\dir1 "G:\dir 2" G:\dir3 ...

Apparently, including trailing slashes keeps robocopy from parsing the list of directories correctly, so be sure not to include trailing slashes on directory names and remember to put quotes around directories with spaces in the name.

The /MIR option maintains the same directory structure while copying the files.

Edit: After some more research, I improved the command a bit:

robocopy G: C:\backup /MIR /Z /LOG:C:\todaysdate-backup.log /XF *.iso *.log *.au /XD G:\dir1 ...

The additions are as follows:

  • /Z allows the job to be restarted
  • /LOG:<logfile path> is pretty self-explanatory.
  • /XF is being used to exclude certain filetypes so it doesn't take so long
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