Cp Command – UNIX

Cp Command UNIX


cp is short of Copy.

To copy files from source to destination, or multiple SOURCE(s) to DIRECTORY copy command is used.


Following options can be used with the cp command:

-a, –archive same as -dR –preserve=all
–backup[=CONTROL] make a backup of each existing destination file
-b like –backup but does not accept an argument
–copy-contents copy contents of special files when recursive
-d same as –no-dereference –preserve=links
-f, –force if an existing destination file cannot be opened, remove it and try again (redundant if the -n option is used)
-i, –interactive prompt before overwrite (overrides a previous -n option)
-T, –show-tabs display TAB characters as ^I
-H follow command-line symbolic links in SOURCE
-l, –link link files instead of copying
-L, –dereference always follow symbolic links in SOURCE
-n, –no-clobber do not overwrite an existing file (overrides a previous -i option)
-P, –no-dereference never follow symbolic links in SOURCE
-p same as –preserve=mode,ownership,timestamps
–preserve[=ATTR_LIST] preserve the specified attributes (default: mode,ownership,timestamps), if possible additional attributes: context, links, xattr, all
-c same as –preserve=context
–no-preserve=ATTR_LIST don’t preserve the specified attributes
–parents use full source file name under DIRECTORY
-R, -r, –recursive copy directories recursively
–reflink[=WHEN] control clone/CoW copies. See below.
–remove-destination remove each existing destination file before attempting to open it (contrast with –force)
–sparse=WHEN control creation of sparse files. See below
–strip-trailing-slashes remove any trailing slashes from each SOURCE argument
-s, –symbolic-link make symbolic links instead of copying
-S, –suffix=SUFFIX override the usual backup suffix
-t, –target-directory=DIRECTORY copy all SOURCE arguments into DIRECTORY
-T, –no-target-directory treat DEST as a normal file
-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
-Z, –context=CONTEXT set security context of copy to CONTEXT
–help display this help and exit
–version output version information and exit


Example 1:

Copy the file “CF0001.dat” with new name “CF_COPY.dat” in same directory.

$ cp CF0001.dat CF_COPY.dat

Example 2:

Copy all files with name starting as “CF” to another directory

$ cp CF* /home/epw/