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Linux / Unix Command: cp
Command Library


cp - copy files and directories


cp [OPTION]... --target-directory=DIRECTORY SOURCE...


Copy SOURCE to DEST, or multiple SOURCE(s) to DIRECTORY.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-a, --archive
same as -dpR
make a backup of each existing destination file
like --backup but does not accept an argument
copy contents of special files when recursive
same as --no-dereference --preserve=link
never follow symbolic links
-f, --force
if an existing destination file cannot be opened, remove it and try again
-i, --interactive
prompt before overwrite
follow command-line symbolic links
-l, --link
link files instead of copying
-L, --dereference
always follow symbolic links
same as --preserve=mode,ownership,timestamps
preserve the specified attributes (default: mode,ownership,timestamps), if possible additional attributes: links, all
don't preserve the specified attributes
append source path to DIRECTORY
same as `--no-dereference'
-R, -r, --recursive
copy directories recursively
remove each existing destination file before attempting to open it (contrast with --force)
specify how to handle the prompt about an existing destination file
control creation of sparse files
--strip-trailing-slashes remove any trailing slashes from each SOURCE
-s, --symbolic-link
make symbolic links instead of copying
-S, --suffix=SUFFIX
override the usual backup suffix
move all SOURCE arguments into DIRECTORY
-u, --update
copy only when the SOURCE file is newer than the destination file or when the destination file is missing
-v, --verbose
explain what is being done
-x, --one-file-system
stay on this file system
display this help and exit
output version information and exit

By default, sparse SOURCE files are detected by a crude heuristic and the corresponding DEST file is made sparse as well. That is the behavior selected by --sparse=auto. Specify --sparse=always to create a sparse DEST file whenever the SOURCE file contains a long enough sequence of zero bytes. Use --sparse=never to inhibit creation of sparse files.

The backup suffix is `~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX. The version control method may be selected via the --backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable. Here are the values:

none, off
never make backups (even if --backup is given)
numbered, t
make numbered backups
existing, nil
numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise
simple, never
always make simple backups

As a special case, cp makes a backup of SOURCE when the force and backup options are given and SOURCE and DEST are the same name for an existing, regular file.


The full documentation for cp is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and cp programs are properly installed at your site, the command
info cp

should give you access to the complete manual.

Important: Use the man command (% man) to see how a command is used on your particular computer.

>> Linux/Unix Command Library

>> Shell Command Library

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