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Idiots, no Imbeciles guide to copying files via C:\ Prompt to USB


FPCH Member
Feb 18, 2016
PC Experience
Some Experience
Hi Guys,

Okay I have an ongoing issue with my laptop (I will update on that soon - for some daft reason my works firewall blocks me on this website after I've posted so I can't update thread, but will do at home). I can read on phone though.

Anyway, my problem here is I can get into my laptop via the C:\prompt, however I can't for the life of me copy folders and subfolders onto a 128gb usb drive I have.

I really need someone to type it out as exactly it should be.

For example the file I am trying to copy is on my d:, most notably the folder below:-

d:\pictures & videos\

In the above folder I then have loads of sub folders i.e. family, holidays etc etc.

Now I don't know if the d:\pictures & videos\ is actually too big to fit on the USB (this is found in H:\), so I'm trying to at least save a little time and save the folders within this directory onto my usb, but obviously some of these folders have subfolders within them.

I'm trying this xcopy but every time I try it just says 0 files copied.

So therefore I'm obviously using the wrong commands.

What exactly should I type if I want to copy everything within the

d:\pictures & videos\family (<---- the family folder for example has many subfolders within it).

^^^^ that needs copied onto my usb.

Hopefully I've explained that correctly.

Many thanks in advance.



Oct 19, 2008
Wirral UK
I don't know if the d:\pictures & videos\ is actually too big to fit on the USB
If you right click on the folder > Properties it will tell you there what the Size of the folder contents is.

If it is less than the available space on your USB Drive you are good to go.

Plug in the USB Drive and click on it to open [ so that you can see the contents of the drive ]
If necessary - click on the little square next to the X [ top right corner of screen ] to shrink it so that you can see the screen behind it.

Now go to D: so that you can see the folder you want to copy [ do not open it ]
You may need to shrink this screen as you did with the USB Drive

You need to be able to see both screens.

Now left click and hold down the button on the folder you want to copy.
Still holding down the mouse button drag the folder across to the USB Drive
The icon should say "Copy" and / or a + will appear.
You can then let go of the left mouse button.
The folder will be copied to the new location.

Alternatively - you can right click on the folder > click on "Copy"
Then open the USB Drive > right click on a blank space > Paste
This will copy the folder to the new location.

Hope this helps.


FPCH Member
Feb 18, 2016
PC Experience
Some Experience

Sorry I obviously never explained properly.

I have no access to windows functions, c: Prompt only

I am locked out of windows not sure why.

So my only route of access is msdos, its the commands for that I require.


Oct 19, 2008
Wirral UK
I understand now.

Plug your USB Drive in.

Once in DOS type the following at the prompt:
wmic logicaldisk get name .....hit return.
You will get a list of drive letters - Make a note of the one that is your USB Drive. [ It will not be C: or D: ]

Now create a folder on the USB Drive for the files you are going to copy.
At the DOS prompt type in ...... md X:\Backup .....hit Enter ......where X: is the letter of the USB Drive. - and Backup is the name of the new folder.
There is a space after md

Now to copy the files and folders.
At the prompt type in :
xcopy D:\pictures & videos X:\backup /s /i

space after copy - space after videos - space after backup - space after /s

If pictures & videos has spaces you may need to put in quotes ....
xcopy "D:\pictures & videos" X:\backup /s /i

This should work. I have just tried it.
The path to pictures & videos must be correct - i.e. when you access D: the folder pictures & videos is showing and is not inside another folder.
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