Linux Copy File Command [ cp Command Examples ]

by on May 29, 2006 · 13 comments· LAST UPDATED September 14, 2011

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How do I copy files under Linux operating systems? How do I make 2nd copy of a file?

To copy files and directories use the cp command under Linux, UNIX, and BSD like operating systems. cp is the command entered in a Unix / Linux shell to copy a file from one place to another, possibly on a different filesystem. The original file remains unchanged, and the new file may have the same or a different name.

cp Command Syntax

The syntax is as follows to copy files and directories using the cp command:

 
cp SOURCE DEST
cp SOURCE DIRECTORY
cp SOURCE1 SOURCE2 SOURCE3 SOURCEn DIRECTORY
cp [OPTION]  SOURCE DEST
cp [OPTION]  SOURCE DIRECTORY
 

Where,

  • In the first and second syntax you copy SOURCE file to DEST file or DIRECTORY.
  • In the third syntax you copy multiple SOURCE(s) (files) to DIRECTORY.

Linux Copy File Examples

To make a copy of a file called file.doc in the current directory as newfile.doc, enter:
$ cp file.doc newfile.doc
$ ls -l *.doc

To copy a file in your current directory into another directory, enter:
$ cp filename /tmp
$ ls /tmp/filename
$ cd /tmp
$ ls
$ rm filename

To copy a file to a new file and preserve the modification date, time, and access control list associated with the source file, enter:
$ cp -p filename /path/to/new/location/myfile

To copy all the files in a directory to a new directory, enter:
$ cp * /home/tom/backup

To copy a directory, including all its files and subdirectories, to another directory, enter (copy directories recursively):
$ cp -R * /home/tom/backup

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Genami Lakau June 5, 2010 at 11:33 pm

My Oracle runs on UNIX plat form. It could be best to know the basiz linus command.

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2 Anonymous June 5, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I would like to know the basic UNIX / LINUS commands.

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3 loki2441 September 4, 2010 at 8:27 am

cp -v file.doc{,.bak} will also be good

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4 milind dhuri August 22, 2011 at 8:15 am

sir

i am having server where user are created in home partition i want to copy one file to eache users desktop wheather i.e. possible with one command of cp if somebody knows please mail me

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5 adsf March 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm

actually this is wrong. It doesn’t copy subdirectories

To copy all the files in a directory to a new directory, enter:
$ cp * /home/tom/backup

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6 Magesh M March 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Today i have copyed all the files and folder to new directory using below commands

$ cp -R * /home/tom/backup

$ cp * /home/tom/backup

Reply

7 sophea October 18, 2013 at 4:53 am

Dear all,
I want to copy folder1 to folder2 folder3 folder4 folder5… so what the command line should i type in a single line?

Thanks

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8 nixCraft October 18, 2013 at 7:16 am
cp -avr folder{1,2,3,4,5} /path/to/dest

OR

cp -avr folder* /path/to/dest

OR

cp -avr folder1 folder2 folderN /path/to/dest

Read the cp syntax for more info.

Reply

9 sophea February 25, 2014 at 3:38 am

Dear NixCraf,
Its not mean that. suppose i have one folder named folder1 but i need 6-more folder.
usually i type command as bellow to do my job,
cp folder1 folder2
cp folder1 folder3
cp folder2 folder3
….
i don’t want to use for-loop so, have any option in cp command to do that?
thanks for your reply
sophea

Reply

10 amol February 4, 2014 at 6:39 am

what is meanning of cp -b command??

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11 sarmaji April 13, 2014 at 4:14 pm

How to avoid the overwriting of the file while copying if the file is already existing ?

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12 Nix Craft April 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

cp -i file dest
See -i option.

Reply

13 NHK July 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Hi dear,
I want to know how to create schedule copy script on red hat Linux. I mean database server to backup server.

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