cp - copy files and directories




Copy SOURCE to DEST, or multiple SOURCE(s) to DIRECTORY.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
-a, --archive
 same as -dR --preserve=all
 make a backup of each existing destination file
-b like --backup but does not accept an argument
 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)
-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 the specified attributes (default: mode,ownership,timestamps), if possible additional attributes: context, links, xattr, all
 don’t preserve the specified attributes
 use full source file name under DIRECTORY
-R, -r, --recursive
 copy directories recursively
 remove each existing destination file before attempting to open it (contrast with --force)
 control creation of sparse files
 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
--help display this help and exit
 output version information and exit
By default, sparse SOURCE files are detected by a crude heuristic and the corresponding DEST file is made sparse as well. That is the behavior selected by --sparse=auto. Specify --sparse=always to create a sparse DEST file whenever the SOURCE file contains a long enough sequence of zero bytes. Use --sparse=never to inhibit creation of sparse files.
The backup suffix is ‘~’, unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX. The version control method may be selected via the --backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable. Here are the values:
none, off
 never make backups (even if --backup is given)
numbered, t
 make numbered backups
existing, nil
 numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise
simple, never
 always make simple backups
As a special case, cp makes a backup of SOURCE when the force and backup options are given and SOURCE and DEST are the same name for an existing, regular file.


Written by Torbjorn Granlund, David MacKenzie, and Jim Meyering.


Report cp bugs to GNU coreutils home page: <> General help using GNU software: <>


Copyright © 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>. This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


The full documentation for cp is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and cp programs are properly installed at your site, the command
info coreutils 'cp invocation'
should give you access to the complete manual.

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