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Cannot make a backup copy of C Drive, error messages, XP

SPECIFICATIONS:
Sony VAIO, VCG-RB34G
WIN XP MEDIA
150G INTERNAL DRIVE (WD) (main)
250G INTERNAL DRIVE (WD)(backup)
2 X 512MB RAM

My computer has gotten to that point where it?s running a little sluggish,and programs are freezing up.I'm thinking of doing my semi-annual "recovery to factory specifications". I usually make a C drive backup using one of the usual suspects, Windows Backup, or Nero, or Retrospect, etc. along with exact copies of my main file folders, just in case.
This time, I am trying to make an EXACT COPY of C (32.8 GB used) drive to D drive (109 GB free), my second internal hard drive. I figure if there's anything I need quickly after the backup, I can just go to D drive and open it since it will have XP and everything C drive now has? it?ll be like a second computer on this computer? right? No? Well if that doesn?t fly, I can just drag it to C to open. With the other backup, all I can do is "Restore".
So I created a folder on D drive, ?COPY OF C DRIVE?, opened C drive, selected all the contents, and tried to copy the whole thing to the new folder.
But I keep getting error messages like ?Cannot copy NTUSER: it is being used?

So I started copying the folders one at a time. When I get to the Documents and Settings I start getting error messages. So I move the folders inside, Administrator, All Users, Default User, Guest, My Name, one at a time. Lots of error messages...

Administrator: Cannot copy edb: It is being used?.
MY NAME: Cannot copy NTUSER: it is being used?
Perflib_Perfdata_ex4 is being used?(I can?t even find this file using "search?.)
And others.
At that point it aborts the copy process. I know that the NTUSER has something to do with the current user. What if I log in as a guest?
And I haven?t even started trying to copy Program Files, Windows, etc.
What if I simply open the folders in question and copy everything EXCEPT the files that are producing the errors? (Cannot find one of them?)
I am mainly worried about copies of my email files and other stuff that if you use the normal backup procedure it makes a copy that can be restored, but not opened. I want to be able to open any file presently on my computer by going into D drive and clicking on it after I ?Revert To Factory? and before I get all the software programs loaded back on C drive. I have an older computer with an 80 GB hard drive running XP Pro that I could do an exact copy to if all else fails, and if I knew how.
Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Joe in Houston

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Collapse -
It will always fail...

In reply to: Cannot make a backup copy of C Drive, error messages, XP

In short, you cannot copy-and-paste the contents of C:\ as long as you are running Windows from C:\. As long as you are running Windows from that partition you are always going to encounter dozens, if not hundreds, of files that are in use and cannot be copied. It would take you an awful long time to track them all down and work around them, and you'd actually be copying GBs of files that you don't need.

The simplest solution, since you're doing a clean installation, is to go around and copy the files you actually want, not the entire partition. The File and Settings Transfer Wizard is a very handy tool in cases such as this.

If you'd rather be safe than sorry just backup the entire C:\Documents and Settings directory, which contains all of your documents, settings, favorites, etc. It's still more than you need to backup but at least you'd avoid all of the problems associated with trying to backup C:\WINDOWS while it's in use.

Aside from that if you really want to make an identical copy of your C:\ drive then you'll need to use third-party software such as Norton Ghost.

Hope this helps,
John

Collapse -
Copying C Drive

In reply to: It will always fail...

Yeah, thats kind of what I figured. What about making an exact copy of c drive to another computer? Since I?d have to be logged in I guess I?d run into the same problem. It?s just that I?ve lost all my data a couple of times over the years and am a little obsessed about making backups. I also have an external 80gb drive on a 5? high shelf that I copy all my folders to a couple of times a week, just in case both my internal drives fail at the same time (my computer was under 3 feet of water for two days in 2001 after Tropical Storm Allison.)
I was an unwilling defendant in a class action suit against Western Digital when they were sued for not disclosing the exact amount of space on their hard drives, and I received software as a settlement, the backup program "Retrospect" (the attorneys got $5 million). It has the ability to make restore points just like XP, but I?m afraid that the restore would not work after a recovery to factory specifications. It takes me a couple of days to get all the software and peripherals reloaded after I use the recovery disks, and I?ve been putting it off for a few weeks, but even with a gig of RAM everything is starting to run slow and some of my programs are ?not responding?, so I guess it?s time. It?s amazing how much faster and better my computer runs after I get rid of all the junk.
I guess the File and Settings Transfer Wizard is the best route, and I?d better get started.
Thanks for the suggestions.

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