cp(1) General Commands Manual cp(1)
cp - copy files and directory subtrees
extarg] file1 new_file
extarg] file1 [file2 ...] dest_directory
extarg] directory1 [directory2 ...] dest_directory
extarg] file1|directory1 [file2|directory2 ...] dest_directory
o file1 to new or existing new_file,
o file1 to existing dest_directory,
o file1, file2, ... to existing dest_directory,
o directory subtree directory1, to new or existing dest_directory. or
o multiple directory subtrees directory1, directory2, ... to new or existing dest_directory.
fails if file1 and new_file are the same (be cautious when using shell metacharacters). When destination is a directory, one or more files
are copied into that directory. If two or more files are copied, the destination must be a directory. When copying a single file to a new
file, if new_file exists, its contents are destroyed.
If the access permissions of the destination dest_directory or existing destination file new_file forbid writing, aborts and produces an
error message "cannot create file".
To copy one or more directory subtrees to another directory, the option is required. The option is ignored if used when copying a file to
another file or files to a directory.
If new_file is a link to an existing file with other links, overwrites the existing file and retains all links. If copying a file to an
existing file, does not change existing file access permission bits, owner, or group.
When copying files to a directory or to a new file that does not already exist, creates a new file with the same file permission bits as
file1, modified by the file creation mask of the user if the option was not specified, and then bitwise inclusively ORed with S_IRWXU. The
owner and group of the new file or files are those of the user. The last modification time of new_file (and last access time, if new_file
did not exist) and the last access time of the source file1 are set to the time the copy was made.
(interactive copy) Causes
to write a prompt to standard error and wait for a response before copying a file that would overwrite an existing file. If the
response from the standard input is affirmative, the file is copied if permissions allow the copy.
(force copy) Forces existing destination pathnames to be removed before copying,
without prompting for confirmation. This option has the effect of destroying and replacing any existing file whose name and direc-
tory location conflicts with the name and location of the new file created by the copy operation.
When the flag is set and if the destination file exists and the user has write permission on the destination file, then the desti-
nation file is not removed.
(preserve permissions) Causes
to preserve in the copy as many of the modification time, access time, file mode, user ID, and group ID as allowed by permissions.
(recursive subtree copy) Causes
to copy the subtree rooted at each source directory to dest_directory. If dest_directory exists, it must be a directory, in which
case creates a directory within dest_directory with the same name as file1 and copies the subtree rooted at file1 to dest_direc-
tory/file1. An error occurs if dest_directory/file1 already exists. If dest_directory does not exist, creates it and copies the
subtree rooted at file1 to dest_directory. Note that cannot merge subtrees.
Usually normal files and directories are copied. Character special devices, block special devices, network special files, named
pipes, symbolic links, and sockets are copied, if the user has access to the file; otherwise, a warning is printed stating that the
file cannot be created, and the file is skipped.
dest_directory should not reside within directory1, nor should directory1 have a cyclic directory structure, since in both cases
attempts to copy an infinite amount of data.
Under the UNIX Standard environment (see standards(5)), will exit with error if multiple sources are being copied to a non-existing
(recursive subtree copy) The
option is identical to the option.
With the and options, in addition to regular files and directories, also copies FIFOs, character and block device files and sym-
bolic links. Only superusers can copy device files. All other users get an error. Symbolic links are copied so the target points
to the same location that the source did.
Warning: While copying a directory tree that has device special files, use the option; otherwise, an infinite amount of data is
read from the device special file and is duplicated as a special file in the destination directory occupying large file system
Causes to traverse the symbolic link specified as an operand and copy it to the destination.
Causes to traverse the symbolic link specified as an operand or any symbolic links encountered during traversal of a file hierarchy, and
copy it to the destination.
Causes to copy the symbolic link specified as an operand and any symbolic links encountered during traversal of a file hierarchy. This
option will not follow any symbolic links.
Specifies the handling of any extent attributes of the file[s] to be
copied. extarg takes one of the following values.
Issues a warning message if extent attributes cannot be copied,
but copies the file anyway.
Does not copy the extent attributes.
Fails to copy the file if the extent attribute can not be copied.
Extent attributes can not be copied if the files are being copied to a file system which does not support extent attributes or if
that file system has a different block size than the original. If is not specified, the default value for extarg is
Specifies "safe" mode. This option minimizes the impact of
on the performance of the system by opening the target file using the flag. This is recommended when the total size of the copy
(not of a single file) is a significant portion of the size of system buffer cache. Usage of this option increases copy time.
Specifying more than one of the mutually-exclusive options and will not be considered an error. The last option specified will determine
the behavior of the utility.
Access Control Lists (ACLs)
If new_file is a new file, or if a new file is created in dest_directory, it inherits the access control list of the original file1, file2,
etc., altered to reflect any difference in ownership between the two files (see acl(5) and aclv(5)). In JFS file systems, new files cre-
ated by do not inherit their parent directory's default ACL entries (if any), but instead retain the ACLs of the files being copied. When
copying files from a JFS file system to an HFS file system or vice versa, optional ACL entries are lost.
For information about the UNIX standard environment, see standards(5).
determines the interpretation of text as single and/or multi-byte characters.
and determine the local language equivalent of (for yes/no queries).
determines the language in which messages are displayed.
If is not specified in the environment or is set to the empty string, the value of is used as a default for each unspecified or empty vari-
able. If is not specified or is set to the empty string, a default of "C" (see lang(5)) is used instead of If any internationalization
variable contains an invalid setting, behaves as if all internationalization variables are set to "C". See environ(5).
International Code Set Support
Single- and multi-byte character code sets are supported.
The following command moves the directory sourcedir and its contents to a new location (targetdir) in the file system. Since creates the
new directory, the destination directory targetdir should not already exist.
The option copies the subtree (files and subdirectories) in directory sourcedir to directory targetdir. The double ampersand causes a con-
ditional action. If the operation on the left side of the is successful, the right side is executed (and removes the old directory). If
the operation on the left of the is not successful, the old directory is not removed.
This example is equivalent to:
To copy all files and directory subtrees in the current directory to an existing targetdir, use:
To copy all files and directory subtrees in sourcedir to targetdir, use:
Note that directory pathnames can precede both sourcedir and targetdir.
To create a zero-length file, use any of the following:
Access control lists of networked files are summarized (as returned in by but not copied to the new file. When using or on such files, a
is not printed after the mode value when asking for permission to overwrite a file.
was developed by AT&T, the University of California, Berkeley, and HP.
cpio(1), ln(1), mv(1), rm(1), link(1M), lstat(2), readlink(2), stat(2), symlink(2), symlink(4), acl(5), aclv(5), standards(5).