Dear All

Lets's assume you are a user running a fat16 or fat32 formatted hard drive, and have a boot floppy that will read the drive.

You are in a real bind, cannot connect the hard drive into another machine, and would like to make all hidden files visible to simple commands and you have to do this in real mode from the DOS command prompt.

ATTRIB is the tool you could use.

attrib *.* -h /s /d
(oh yes, that will run for a while... but the time lost by losing data would surely be worse. Quite often you find that some sorts of data is not ever reproducable...)

I am not a geeky command prompt guru, yet, I will mention that one could start like this.
set dircmd = /s /w /o /p /a:h (works in all DOS and windows versions)

with /a:h DIR will show hidden files.
If your result of a search for *.dbx with DIR shows there are such files in many folders, what often is the case... then one will use attrib on that entire drive. I would, because missing a folder would probably have me make mistakes when I get to copy data.

I MOST definately prefer using XCOPY over COPY.

What when you want to copy a file?
At the prompt, copy of a correctly typed (name.ext) file will work even when the file is hidden, whereas copy *.* (star dotstar) would skip hidden files if attrib had not set it unhidden.

However, XCOPY, with the correct options, will copy just about anything you want.

Attrib will take a long time running the entire hard disk, and with files telling you where they are at, you can run attrib for the folders you want, and its subfolders.
attrib "C:\documents and settings" -h /s /d
attrib "C:\documents and settings"\*.* -h -s /s /d would do all files and subfolders and the files in subfolders
the -s removes system tag
the -h removes hidden tag

(note that at the prompt, when you specify a folder with a long name or a long name with spaces in it, like "documents and settings", you use "quotation marks"

I thought I should try explain about this, because some windows users may boot from a floppy, and might not have XCOPY available.
you have booted from floppy...
dir xcop*.* /s
(in windows 98 you find xcopy.exe and xcopy32.mod)
copy C:\windows\command\xcop*.*
(that is where they normally are in windows 98)
and now you have it on the floppy too, so you can use it...

here's an example of how one can use XCOPY...
from the command prompt
xcopy C:\*.dbx /e /h /i /c D:\save001
now, there are other files in the folders where *.dbx files are in... and you want the entire folder.
so, let me show another example
xcopy "C:\documents and settings"\*.* /e /h /i /c D:\save001

in XP, things are different.
try this, in XP, from cmd prompt
dir /?
you see a list of the options, and with /Q, you'll see the users the files types you searched for belong to.
Now, if the filename don't tell you whose file it was, that would...
so, I would set the DIR command to behave like this for the session at the prompt.
set dircmd = /Q /s /w /o /p /a:h

and what do you see when you do xcopy /?
there you see an option /G
I am really curious about that one now... I saw that it mentions encryption.
It is high time I get me XP for dummies... it might explain this.
Oh, I realised I just repeated that old tip.
a command followed by /? will tell you at least something of what it can do.

And while I talk about the prompt, I really hate the limitations in that XP prompt...
I know I hated the XP command prompt and its copy functions when I ran the prompt from recovery console... I start to hate this even more... one is in a mess, and may not be able to do something as simple like copy and xcopy between drives.

At least, if windows is not totally bollixed, one can run commands in a window in safe mode.

I once got to work on a computer where checksum errors caused a failure to boot to safe mode too and I had to transfer files putting its hard disk in another machine because the recovery console was of no help in this.
I did a few swaps and copy, each time to see different files wih checksum error preventing windows to load... and finally, after a few more files were copied it booted, but many functions still didn't work at all.
(sfc failed from the safe mode command prompt... The only tool I could work from was task manager... Could not run help from the start menu, nor could I use RUN dialog... it was THAT bad... The windows CDROM didn't let me do an upgrade... )
And yes, system repair utility was of no help.

Charlie White's solution could have worked, maybe, as I did see old snapshots while it was in my machine... but I didn't go for it I had found nasties when I scanned that drive... and I did not want to have them majestically reappear after spending far too much time on this...
It would have been an interesting experiment, but the important data was already saved, and a fresh legal copy of windows replaced the blackflag copy this one ran.