Copy entire C: on PC - no software possible

October 22, 2011 at 02:21:16
Specs: Windows XP
Have an old (8-9 yrs) XP PC, something happened about a year ago and it suddenly runs very slowly....I mean 20 mins to log in, about 15 mins to open windows explorer slow. Have replaced it with a new PC but have bought an external hard drive hoping to copy all the old stuff off it - no idea where it all is and its too slow to look everywhere. Also too slow to install anything on it

Is there a way I can do a copy command that will copy the entire disk (except sys files etc) so i can just leave it running for a few days and copy all my stuff off it?

See More: Copy entire C: on PC - no software possible

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 03:45:52
Hi Frquinn.

I would look at why it is running so slow first:-

a) if it speeds up after about 20 minutes or so, it could be a Norton Internet Security program (ALUPDATE?) that is hogging the mill.

b) see what programs are loading on start-up.

CNTRL + ALT + DEL, then select TASK MANAGER will help.

For copying the entire disk, check out the dos command XCOPY *and* its options. Try:-

XCOPY C:\*.* ?: /E /V

maybe C:\ will work instead of C:\*.*

? is the drive letter of your external drive.

Please advise back on progress.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 05:54:58
Hi thanks for that. I have turned off all the extra stuff on boot up; its even really slow in safe mode. Anything that uses any graphics seems to take ages - like opening an explorer/command prompt window takes 10 mins....but then using the explorer takes ages, but using the command window is quick enough. Odd. Even switching off takes ages.

Am using xcopy on folders like the My Docs for the family at the mo...just had read up and apparently xcopy stops working when it hits a file it cant copy so seems like I cant do it on c: as a whole, no?

Wondering would a windows re-install help at all.....

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 06:01:55
Remove the old hard drive and connect it to a new system.

If u wanna continue copying files from old system u have to fix it first. Start by checking CPU temp first.
If u re-install windows it will erase drive c contents.

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.

Report •

Related Solutions

October 22, 2011 at 07:10:31
If it takes 10-20 minutes before it starts to run slow, it's probably due to the CPU overheating & throttling back. Is it a P4? Have you opened the case & looked at the CPU cooling fan & heatsink? If they're dust-clogged, it's very likely that overheating is the problem.

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 07:47:48
I did open it and clear out the dust - not sure how i can measure the temp though, is there a way to see if thats happening?

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 08:12:15
U can see the temperature in BIOS.

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 08:49:31
Your computer is old enough that it's hard drive Windows was installed on probably has a relatively small capacity. A common cause of Windows running a lot slower than it used to in that case that we have frequently discovered is the computer user has the situation where the partition Windows was installed on is too full.

What is the size of the C parttition and how much free space is left on it ?
If it has less than about 10% free space, Windows will run slower than it otherwise would. If it's a lot less than that, Windows will run REALLY slow.

If C is too full, you need to un-install programs you aren't using, and/or copy data there is no un-install for to elsewhere and delete the original files, and/or delete data there is no un-install for that you aren't using and no longer want.
If you have another hard drive partition that has free space available, you can un-install programs you DO use, and install them on a different hard drive partition - the vast majority of the program's data will be on the other partition, only a little of it on C including your personal files for that program - but depending on what the program is you may need to backup your personal data for it and re-install it after the porgram has been installed again.

Other possibilities...

- for a severe slowdown

- An inadequate total amount of ram being detected

Sometimes ram develops a poor connection in it's slot(s) over time - if the bios is recognizing less total ram than it used to, if that amount is inadequate for XP to run reasonably well, e.g. 256 mb or less, Windows will load slower and run slower.
Go into your bios Setup and find how much ram is being recognized.
If that amount is less than you remember it being, or if it's a lot less than the total of the capacities listed on the labels on the ram modules, or in any case .....

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

The following would cause the computer to run slower, but each one on it's own wouldn't account for the severity of the slowness you're describing.

- you have a data cable connection problem,

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

If Windows XP detects data transfer errors caused by a poor data cable connection, it will automatically make an entry in the registry that restircts the drive's max speed to PIO mode, rather than the faster UDMA mode it is capable of. The hard drive will transfer data MUCH slower than it is capable of.

Enable DMA mode in XP:

If the connection your drive is on is in PIO mode, try setting it to DMA if available, save settings, go back in, see if it has changed to a higher mode. DVD combo burner optical drives should be in Ultra DMA mode 4, if they are capable of 16X or greater DVD + or DVD - .
If the drive won't go out of PIO mode, you need to remove some lines from the Registry, but if you haven't cured what caused the data errors, Windows will immediately or in a short time insert the lines again and it will be in PIO mode again.
(If you can't get the drive to go out of PIO mode, you need further instructions.)

NOTE that if your mboard has an early 8xx Intel main chipset, you may NOT see the Advanced Settings tab there in the properties for the IDE controllers. If you don't, your Intel chipset may require you install the IAA - Intel Application Accelerator. If that has been loaded, there is a Intel Application Accelerator entry in your Programs list in the Start menu, and the modes the drives are running in are shown in that.
If you don't see the Advanced Settings tab there in the properties for the IDE controllers, and you don't see the Intel Application Accelerator entry in your Programs, go to the Intel website and look up the downloads for your particular main chipset, and download and install the IAA if it is listed - your drives will not be able to run at their max speeds until that has been installed.

- you used a 40 wire data cable for a hard drive that you should have used an 80 wire data cable with.

You must use an 80 wire data cable with any hard drive that is capable of UDMA66 or higher specs (66 mb/sec burst data transfer speed or higher) , otherwise it will not be able to run any faster than UDMA33 specs (33 mb/sec burst data transfer speed)..

- Your main chipset drivers have not been loaded or are are corrupted and because of that your drives are running a lot slower than they should.In most cases you can load the main chipset drivers without having to un-install them first if they had already been installed
(The main chipset drivers for your mboard are usually not built into XP. If you have loaded Windows from scratch, you must load the main chipset drivers for your mboard after Setup has finished.).
We would need to know the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model, or at least the model, of your mboard, for us to be able to point you to where you can get the main chipset drivers.

There are enhanced versions of clones of XCOPY available on the web that are easier to use.

If you have a suitabe XP CD, you DO NOT need to copy the contents of Windows itself.
You DO NOT need to copy data for programs that you can easily install again.

You are much better off doing something such as booting the computer FROM a CD or DVD that has an operating system on it that can read the files on your hard drive, such as a Linux CD, and then copying your personal files to elsewhere.

ALL of your personal data in XP is saved at C:\Documents and Settings\(your user name) \(your user name's files and sub-folders and the files in those subfolders), unless you deliberately chose to save data elsewhere on C or on a different hard drive partition.

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 09:18:29
thanks for this - there is plenty of space in the partition but it used to have an intermittent problem when it gave those bios beeps to say it could not detect any RAM - I reseated them a couple of times and it seemed to go away but when its finished its copy ill reboot and check how much it is seeing.

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 10:07:31
Will not do any harm to check the registry with a program such as easycleaner.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

Report •

October 22, 2011 at 21:43:30
The best method I have used when changing computers is to remove the hard drive and install it into the new computer as a second hard drive. Since the new machine is not prone to the problems of the original machine, you can copy the files much easier directly between hard drives, some immediately, the rest when you have the time. When you are done, you can even format the original hard drive to use as a back up drive on the new computer and keep a back up copy of all important files with Windows back up.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

Report •

Ask Question