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Shell Scripting Hack: cp Command With a Progress bar

This is a nice shell scripting hack. It allows you to give a progress bar like wget to cp command.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • mastrboy January 24, 2008, 1:36 pm

    great script function, i have tried something like it before called bar: http://www.theiling.de/projects/bar.html

  • nixCraft January 24, 2008, 2:02 pm


    bar – great find!

  • unixfoo January 24, 2008, 2:31 pm

    This is a good one ..


  • drivesoslow January 24, 2008, 4:08 pm

    It won’t do anything for me. I try to use it and it just come right back to the prompt.

  • Jerod January 24, 2008, 5:40 pm


    same here :(

  • nixCraft January 24, 2008, 6:15 pm

    drivesoslow / Jerod ,

    Open a shell prompt and just paste the code. Type the following (it will not work with wildcards)
    cp_p /path/to/big/file.ext /copy/here

  • Jeff Schroeder January 24, 2008, 7:08 pm


    This is cool and all, but the overhead of strace make this not very useful. rsync -av shows a progress bar. You can also get a progress bar if you use scp locally. Yes, scp supports local file transfers without using any network or connecting to a local sshd instance.

    jeff@omniscience:~$ du -h windows.tar.bz2
    822M windows.tar.bz2
    jeff@omniscience:~$ time cp_p windows.tar.bz2{,.new}
    99% [====================================================================================================>]
    real 2m18.957s
    user 0m11.589s
    sys 0m23.469s
    jeff@omniscience:~$ ls window*
    windows.tar.bz2 windows.tar.bz2.new
    jeff@omniscience:~$ time cp windows.tar.bz2{,.new2}
    real 1m39.597s
    user 0m0.096s
    sys 0m5.092s
  • Daemones January 25, 2008, 2:04 am

    How i can use this script?

  • Buddy Friend February 1, 2008, 9:54 pm

    LOL at the nubs who can’t get this to work. Go back to your Vista box and stay there.

    Only thing I had to do was set my terminal to ANSI. Also, the width of this progress bar is fixed, it will not scale with the width of your terminal.

    Also note that for trivial transfers they might complete before the script has a chance to output the progress bar. So if the file copies and you didn’t see a progress bar, it’s because you didn’t need one.

    yes scp and rsync are alternatives but this is very cool nonetheless. Thank you for posting it!

  • leebret July 25, 2010, 8:28 pm

    Altho my system didn’t support bar I did find pipeview (pv):


    tar -Ocf – $srcdir | pv -i 1 -w 50 -berps `du -bs $srcdir | awk ‘{print $1}’` |
    7za a -si $outfile

  • Ladislav October 5, 2011, 2:05 pm

    take a look at freebsd utils http://www.freshports.org/sysutils/vcp/. Successfully compiled on Redhat 5.7.

  • Aris Boch May 8, 2012, 1:31 pm

    This script doen’t work… And what is it for anyway, rsync does the same job without all this mumbo-jumbo of arkward custom scripts.

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