Cloning an NTFS Drive to an EXFAT drive?

Discussion in 'Software for Windows' started by Madmick, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Madmick

    Madmick Member

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    So I have two 2TB external hard drives. One is with my PC and is formatted in NTFS. I use it for data storage. The other was for my MacBook Pro and was formatted in OS X Extended Journaled (their proprietary format that works with their Time Machine backup software).

    So I wiped the Mac hard drive, and I reformatted it into exFAT because I want to be able to use it with both my MacBook and my PC. Now I want to copy all of the data on the NTFS drive to the exFAT so I can also reformat the NTFS to exFAT. This way I will have two hard drives that are intercompatible with either computer. I tried a simply copy/paste, but many of the files have names that are too long for the destination drive, or have other issues. There are no applications installed on this drive, btw.

    I've used Robocopy before with its shell commands, but it makes me nervous. I experienced a small disaster in the past when I inappropriately used the mirror command. Instead, I tried using a simple freeware called "PC Disk Clone". Unfortunately, the "Disk to Disk" clone feature apparently needs the destination disk to be RAW. It says the disk is not empty and that I must remove the partition. So it's impossible for me to clone the data from the source drive in NTFS to the destination drive in exFAT. It wants to clone the NTFS partition itself.

    So how would you guys suggest I most simply clone all the data from the NTFS to the exFAT?
     
  2. ViRGE

    ViRGE Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus

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    Disk cloning is for when you want to copy the whole disk at a low level, file system and all. You had the right idea in the first place with Robocopy; you need to use a traditional copy utility to copy all the files over.

    Though I'm at a loss to explain why you're running into file name length restrictions. exFAT supports 255 characters, the same length as NTFS.
     
  3. Madmick

    Madmick Member

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    I had the same problem when I tried to copy from NTFS to NTFS. My theory is that it's because somehow the names of the folders themselves are counted towards the total filename length in a basic Windows 7 copy. Is there a copy utility that anyone would recommend? I guess I'll give Teracopy a go.

    *Edit*
    I ran a trial and it turns out I have files with names longer than 255 characters. I'm not sure how this is possible, but they are eBook files. I've edited their titles/metadata in Calibre.
     
    #3 Madmick, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  4. ViRGE

    ViRGE Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus

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    Robocopy and Teracopy are the big two. I'm not immediately aware of any other utilities that are as widely used and tested.
     
  5. mikeymikec

    mikeymikec Diamond Member

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    exFAT IIRC doesn't like paths longer than 255 characters, I think.

    I use robocopy a heck of a lot in my daily work.
     
  6. Madmick

    Madmick Member

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    Okay, well, then let's do Robocopy. I think Robocopy doesn't care about file length.

    I just don't want to screw it up like I did last time. The difference is that last time I was trying to add files from one hard drive to another (some with characters longer than 255). In that case, the target hard drive already had some files. I just wanted to add a bunch from the source hard drive on top of them. I don't recall exactly how it went, but my initial attempts at copying were unresponsive. Eventually I used the /MIR command, and it took off. I was happy, but when it was done, I found it had deleted all the files that were originally on the destination drive; it recognized that some of the files on the destination drive weren't on the source drive, so in its task to mirror the drives, it deleted the files that already existed on the destination drive. Unrecoverable. It was a disaster.

    But I'm guessing that wouldn't be a problem since I'm working with an empty, freshly formatted drive. What Robocopy command should I use to copy the whole drive over? Refresh my memory.
     
  7. mikeymikec

    mikeymikec Diamond Member

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    If you just want to copy the contents of one drive to another (and the destination is blank), the command is, I think:

    ROBOCOPY SOURCEDRIVE:\ DESTINATIONDRIVE:\ /MIR /R:0

    Admittedly I've never done a drive to drive copy, usually mine would be the source drive to a folder on the destination drive, at which point one should note that the destination folder gets super-hidden (ATTRIB +H +S).

    The /R:0 sets it so that if a file cannot be copied, it is not retried at all. The default (if nothing is specified) is /R:3 (retry 3 times) /W:30 IIRC - /W specifies how long to wait between each retry.

    In my example, the source drive contents are left completely intact.

    If you want a robocopy guide, I have a Word document written by Microsoft that I can upload somewhere. There are a lot of potentially useful command switches.