Mar 102008

HoboCopy is a backup/copy tool. It is inspired by robocopy in both name and in functionality. It differs greatly from robocopy, however, in two respects:

It is not as full-featured as robocopy.

It uses the Volume Shadow Service (VSS) to “snapshot” the disk before copying. It then copies from the snapshot rather than the “live” disk.

Installing HoboCopy

Most users can simply unzip the file containing hobocopy.exe into the directory of your choice. However, HoboCopy uses the Visual C++ 8.0 runtime, which may not be present on some machines. If HoboCopy does not work for you, run the vcredist executable available from the same location you downloaded HoboCopy.

Note: on Windows Vista you will need to launch an Administrator mode command prompt by right-clicking on the Command prompt in the start menu and choosing Run as Administrator.

Download Hobocopy from here

Using HoboCopy

HoboCopy Syntax

hobocopy [/statefile=FILE] [/verbosity=LEVEL] [ /full | /incremental ]
[ /clear ] [ /skipdenied ] [ /y ] [ /simulate ] [/recursive]
<src> <dest> [<file> [<file> [ ... ] ]

Recursively copies a directory tree from <src> to <dest>.

/statefile – Specifies a file where information about the copy will
be written. This argument is required when /incremental
is specified, as the date and time of the last copy is
read from this file to determine which files should be

/verbosity – Specifies how much information HoboCopy will emit
during copy. Legal values are: 0 – almost no
information will be emitted. 1 – Only error information
will be emitted. 2 – Errors and warnings will be
emitted. 3 – Errors, warnings, and some status
information will be emitted. 4 – Lots of diagnostic
information will be emitted. The default level is 2.

/full – Perform a full copy. All files will be copied
regardless of modification date.

/incremental – Perform an incremental copy. Only files that have
changed since the last full copy will be copied.
Specifying this switch requires the /statefile switch
to be specified, as that’s where the date of the last
full copy is read from.

/clear – Recursively delete the destination directory before
copying. HoboCopy will ask for confirmation before
deleting unless the /y switch is also specified.

/skipdenied – By default, if HoboCopy does not have sufficient
privilege to copy a file, the copy will fail with an
error. When the /skipdenied switch is specified,
permission errors trying to copy a source file result
in the file being skipped and the copy continuing.

/y – Instructs HoboCopy to proceed as if user answered yes
to any confirmation prompts. Use with caution – in
combination with the /clear switch, this switch will
cause the destination directory to be deleted without

/simulate – Simulates copy only – no snapshot is taken and no copy
is performed.

/recursive – Copies subdirectories (including empty ones). Shortcut: /r

<src> – The directory to copy (the source directory).
<dest> – The directory to copy to (the destination directory).
<file> – A file (e.g. foo.txt) or filespec (e.g. *.txt) to copy.
Defaults to *.*.


hobocopy c:\directory1\ d:\backupdirectory\ <filename>

For example, I want to backup my c:\users\mark\mail\outlook.pst file to d:\backups\outlook.pst. Here’s the syntax that I’d use:

C:\> hobocopy c:\users\mark\mail\ d:\backups\ Outlook.pst

Incoming search terms:

  3 Responses to “HoboCopy – Backup/Copy Files that are “In Use” or “Locked” in Windows Vista/XP/2003/2000”

  1. I couldn’t use it with windows server 2003, I got an error that the application configuration is incorrect, even I tried to run it on another PC with windows XP, but it appears another error: there was a COM failure 0×80042308. can anybody help me? Thanks

  2. Hi,

    D:\Program Files\CopyLockedFiles> is the directory where hobocopy.exe is located

    Can you give me you advice on the following:

    Typing the following:

    D:\Program Files\CopyLockedFiles>hobocopy.exe /simulate c:\”Documents and Settings”\Christian\”Local Settings”\”Application Data”\Thunderbird\ h:\temp *.*
    HoboCopy (c) 2006 Wangdera Corporation.

    Starting a full copy from C:\Documents and Settings\Christian\”Documents to D:\Program Files\CopyLockedFiles\and
    Backup successfully completed.
    Backup started at 2011-04-20 17:52:24, completed at 2011-04-20 17:52:24.
    0 files (0.00 bytes, 0 directories) copied, 0 files skipped

    hobocopy seems not understanding my path and copying file
    in the wrong directory

    tks in advance

  3. How to type the and with blanks in the full path?

    Put ” characters at the beginning and at the end of the paths. However include two \ at the end of the paths. Example:


    hobocopy “c:\documents and settings\ahmetgns\local settings\temp\\” “c:\documents and settings\ahmetgns\my documents\my videos\\” “locked video.tmp”

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>