It's just so darn hard to copy a lot of files these days. If it's more than 1000 files or larger than a gig, I don't even try with Explorer anymore. It's not worth the angst. I used to do this:
xcopy *.* d: /s /e /z /v
But when there's not a "No to all" option, and I've got it halfway copied, I get pretty frustrated. There's a few really good alternatives...
First, Robocopy. If you have XP or Windows Server you can easily get this in the Resource Kits. If you have Vista, it's already in your path. That's always nice. It's Robust, indeed (hence, Robocopy) but it's legendarily unforgiving. If anything is wrong with the command line options you'll just get the help. It's so hard to use there's even a GUI Frontend you can get. However, when I want to get a directory from here to over there, I just do this (no wildcards allowed! Doh!) and it just gets there, auto skipping files that are already at the destination. It's also wonderful over an unreliable network:
robocopy "H:\Source" "z:\Dest" /S /Z
Where /s means subdirectories, and /z means in restartable mode.
Second, for repeatable jobs, I love SyncBackSE. It's $30, but there is a free version with less features available. SyncBack is option-ful and literally moves nearly every important piece of data in my house around weekly.
It's UI is really amazing. You create as many "profiles" as you like, as complex as they need to be, using it's very nice wizard UI. I've never had to make a profile without the wizard - it's that comprehensive.
It's a huge part of our backup strategy and it even backs up this blog via FTP. Do take a moment and download at least the trial. Profiles can be named and called via the Windows Scheduler or at the command line - that's why it's really for jobs you'll do more than once. It's a great way to deploy or backup a website, and it'll talk to FTP, WebDav, etc. It'll keep folders in sync, and profiles can be grouped and run in tandem as well. It will also backup and ZIP at the same time.
Last, but certainly not least, XXCOPY. It's huge. Epic even. It's even got a nice windows progress bar that pops out of the DOS Box. The Technical Reference is comprehensive to say the least. Here's a summary of the features. It'll sync directories, maintain short names, qualify by date/time, copy security info.
If you are a command-line bad*ss, this is the utility for you. You'll like it immediately because it's command line switches are mostly compatible with xcopy and Robocopy, then it adds a million more so you can tweak your copy or mirror to be most effective. There's both free and pro versions.
The author is quite bold, and even has a section on how XXCopy supersedes RoboCopy. I think I just stepped in a big pile of sassy! But, I've got to give him credit. The options are insane. XXCopy does it all. Truly. Highly recommended.
Regardless of which one you pick, just please stop using XCopy.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.