CP(1) BSD General Commands Manual CP(1)
cp -- copy files
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i | -n] [-pv] source_file target_file
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f | -i | -n] [-pv] source_file ... target_directory
In the first synopsis form, the cp utility copies the contents of the source_file to the
target_file. In the second synopsis form, the contents of each named source_file is copied
to the destination target_directory. The names of the files themselves are not changed. If
cp detects an attempt to copy a file to itself, the copy will fail.
The following options are available:
-H If the -R option is specified, symbolic links on the command line are followed. (Sym-
bolic links encountered in the tree traversal are not followed.)
-L If the -R option is specified, all symbolic links are followed.
-P If the -R option is specified, no symbolic links are followed. This is the default.
-R If source_file designates a directory, cp copies the directory and the entire subtree
connected at that point. This option also causes symbolic links to be copied, rather
than indirected through, and for cp to create special files rather than copying them
as normal files. Created directories have the same mode as the corresponding source
directory, unmodified by the process' umask.
Note that cp copies hard linked files as separate files. If you need to preserve hard
links, consider using tar(1), cpio(1), or pax(1) instead.
-f For each existing destination pathname, remove it and create a new file, without
prompting for confirmation regardless of its permissions. (The -f option overrides
any previous -i or -n options.)
-i Cause cp to write a prompt to the standard error output before copying a file that
would overwrite an existing file. If the response from the standard input begins with
the character 'y' or 'Y', the file copy is attempted. (The -i option overrides any
previous -f or -n options.)
-n Do not overwrite an existing file. (The -n option overrides any previous -f or -i
-p Cause cp to preserve in the copy as many of the modification time, access time, file
flags, file mode, user ID, and group ID as allowed by permissions.
If the user ID and group ID cannot be preserved, no error message is displayed and the
exit value is not altered.
If the source file has its set user ID bit on and the user ID cannot be preserved, the
set user ID bit is not preserved in the copy's permissions. If the source file has
its set group ID bit on and the group ID cannot be preserved, the set group ID bit is
not preserved in the copy's permissions. If the source file has both its set user ID
and set group ID bits on, and either the user ID or group ID cannot be preserved, nei-
ther the set user ID nor set group ID bits are preserved in the copy's permissions.
-v Cause cp to be verbose, showing files as they are copied.
For each destination file that already exists, its contents are overwritten if permissions
allow. Its mode, user ID, and group ID are unchanged unless the -p option was specified.
In the second synopsis form, target_directory must exist unless there is only one named
source_file which is a directory and the -R flag is specified.
If the destination file does not exist, the mode of the source file is used as modified by
the file mode creation mask (umask, see csh(1)). If the source file has its set user ID bit
on, that bit is removed unless both the source file and the destination file are owned by
the same user. If the source file has its set group ID bit on, that bit is removed unless
both the source file and the destination file are in the same group and the user is a member
of that group. If both the set user ID and set group ID bits are set, all of the above con-
ditions must be fulfilled or both bits are removed.
Appropriate permissions are required for file creation or overwriting.
Symbolic links are always followed unless the -R flag is set, in which case symbolic links
are not followed, by default. The -H or -L flags (in conjunction with the -R flag) cause
symbolic links to be followed as described above. The -H, -L and -P options are ignored
unless the -R option is specified. In addition, these options override each other and the
command's actions are determined by the last one specified.
The cp utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
Historic versions of the cp utility had a -r option. This implementation supports that
option, however, its use is strongly discouraged, as it does not correctly copy special
files, symbolic links or fifo's.
The -v and -n options are non-standard and their use in scripts is not recommended.
mv(1), rcp(1), umask(2), fts(3), symlink(7)
The cp command is expected to be IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'') compatible.
A cp command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
BSD July 23, 2002 BSD