XCOPY command : Using the /EXCLUDE flag

   Posted November 7, 2007 by Jimmy Selix in Batch file programming

This recipe will briefly explain how to use the /EXCLUDE flag with XCOPY. This can be very handy if you need to backup a full directory but do not need or want specific file types or folder or file names.

XCOPY is a command that is present in XP’s command prompt.

XCOPY allows one to copy both files and directories in one command vs copying a folder or files in a folder one at a time using the COPY command. COPY does not allow you to copy subdirectories w/the *.*

Here is an example of when would use XCOPY vs COPY:

I have a folder on my C: drive called DATA
and under this folder i have a ton of text files (.txt) and also 3 folders called 1 2 and 3 which also have .txt files in them.

However, in the folders there are files with the name SECRET on them that i do not want copied.

I want to then copy this data w/the folder structure intact to a folder called BKUP on my C: drive.

Here is how we would use XCOPY and the /EXCLUDE tag to do this:

1. either open command prompt up or create new text file (if you plan to make .bat file). we will do a new text file and in turn make it into a batch file. after we create the new text file, rename it to test.bat for now.

2. right click the test.bat file and choose to Edit or Open With > Notepad.

3. we will add this command (i will explain each flag used)

XCOPY C:\DATA\*.* C:\BKUP /S /I /Y /EXCLUDE:c:\excludelist.txt

the /S flag = copies all directories and subdirectories except empty ones (use the /E instead if you want empty folders also copied)

the /I flag = If the destination does not exist and we are copying more than one file, it will assume the destination is a folder

the /Y flag = Suppresses all prompts to overwrite destination file if it already exists

the /EXCLUDE flag = this will point to a file that has the excluded file types or folder or file names. in my example, i created a text file called: excludelist.txt in the root of my C: drive.

in that excludelist.txt, i then added the word SECRET on the first line. If you have more than one excluded item; be sure to put each on a new line.

So once i run this batch file, it will look at the excludelist.txt file and then exclude any thing that contains the terms i put in the file from being copied (so none of my files w/SECRET in the name will be copied).

The main thing to remember when using the /EXCLUDE flag is that you have to put the location of the excluded file list after the flag; not the actual excluded items/terms. That initially was the most confusing part. You can create multiple excluded file lists; you would need to use the + list (ie XCOPY c:\* v:\ /EXCLUDE:c:\excluded1.txt+c:\excluded2.txt )


About Jimmy Selix

Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.
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