How to Copy a Recovery Partition to an External Hard Drive With XCOPY

by Tara Cantore

XCOPY is a Microsoft command-line utility that copies files and directories from one location to another. Using XCOPY it is possible to completely transfer the files on one disk or partition to another. If your system came with a restore partition, you may wish to make a backup of it in case your hard drive is ever damaged. XCOPY allows you to perform the file copy using a single command.


Open the Start menu and type "Command Prompt."


Right-click "Command Prompt" from the list of applications, then click "Run as Administrator."


Click "Yes" when asked to confirm granting administrator access to the Command Prompt. If you are asked to supply the administrative password, enter it when prompted.


Insert your external hard drive into a port on your computer.


Open the Start menu and click "Computer" to see a list of connected drives. Note the letter of your recovery drive and the letter of the drive you have just connected.


Open your Command Prompt window and copy the files from your recovery partition drive to the newly attached drive. For example, to copy all files on the recovery partition "E:\" to the external hard drive location "F:\Backup" type:

XCOPY E:*.* F:\Backup\ /C /S /D /Y /I


Press "Enter" and wait for the process to complete. Large hard drives will take significantly longer to back up than small hard drives.