Copy files in Command Prompt or Recovery Console

cmd xpIf you are unable to load Windows, it is useful to know how you can still access your files and copy them to a safe location. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll assume that Safe Mode does not work and the only way to access your documents is through the Recovery Console. You can also practise this in the Command Prompt window.

To open the Recovery Console, please read my previous post. To open the Command Prompt, go to Start, Run and type in cmd, and click OK. Another way of accessing cmd is through Start, All Programs, Accessories, Command Prompt.

Once you have opened the cmd window, you’ll be in the c:\documents and settings\your username directory, or in c:\Windows if you are using the Recovery Console. Type HELP to see the list of available commands.

To view the list of subfolders in the directory, type DIR. If you want to access one of the directories listed, type CD and the name of the subfolder. To return to the previous (upper) level, type CD..

Once you find the directory you want to copy files from, for example C:\Documents and Settings\X\My Documents, you can use the following commands to copy files to another location (external hard drive, USB memory stick, SD card, floppy disk):

  • copy somedocument.doc X:\  (where X is the name of the drive the file is being sent to), or
  • copy *.* X:\ (the asterisk sign means copy everything to X drive)
  • copy *.doc X:\ (copy all documents to X drive)
  • copy *.mp3 X:\ (copy all mp3 songs to X drive)

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