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Microsoft Backup Utility won't copy 'all information'

I would like to copy the entire contents (about 12 GB, including the Windows XP Operating System) of my 80 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive onto my Western Digital 80 GB Essential USB External Hard Drive (formatted to NFTS). When I try to use the Microsoft Backup Utility that comes with XP, it fails when I select "all information on the computer," regardless of the backup media (external hard drive, zip disk or even floppies) and will only backup "my documents and settings." I have tried to copy the internal hard drive but it will not paste onto the external hard drive. What do I need to do?

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Without knowing much about the specific circumstances in which you are trying to create a backup, and being far from a Windows XP expert, the situation you are describing seems to point to a permission issue rather than a backup problem. You must run the Windows backup utility (BU) as an administrator or backup operator to successfully backup data for which you don't have ownership rights. Since you have formatted the USB drive with NTFS, this excludes the 4 GB maximum file size imposed by FAT32. Other than that, you may want to look at the unlikely possibility that you have quotas set on the USB drive, which would limit the amount of data you can write to that file system.

This was first published in December 2004

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