Go to main content

man pages section 1: User Commands

Exit Print View

Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2019
 
 

cp(1)

Name

cp - copy files

Synopsis

/usr/bin/cp [-Pfipz@/] source_file target_file
/usr/bin/cp [-Pfipz@/] source_file... target
/usr/bin/cp -r [-H | -L | -P] [-fipz@/] source_dir... target
/usr/bin/cp -R [-H | -L | -P] [-fipz@/] source_dir... target
/usr/xpg4/bin/cp [-Pfipz@/] source_file target_file
/usr/xpg4/bin/cp [-Pfipz@/] source_file... target
/usr/xpg4/bin/cp -r [-H | -L | -P] [-fipz@/] source_dir... target
/usr/xpg4/bin/cp -R [-H | -L | -P] [-fipz@/] source_dir... target

Description

In the first synopsis form, neither source_file nor target_file are directory files, nor can they have the same name. The cp utility copies the contents of source_file to the destination path named by target_file. If target_file exists, cp overwrites its contents, but the mode (and ACL if applicable), owner, and group associated with it are not changed. The last modification time of target_file and the last access time of source_file are set to the time the copy was made. If target_file does not exist, cp creates a new file named target_file that has the same mode as source_file except that the sticky bit is not set unless the user is super-user. In this case, the owner and group of target_file are those of the user, unless the setgid bit is set on the directory containing the newly created file. If the directory's setgid bit is set, the newly created file has the group of the containing directory rather than of the creating user. If target_file is a link to another file, cp overwrites the link destination with the contents of source_file; the link(s) from target_file remains.

In the second synopsis form, one or more source_files are copied to the directory specified by target. It is an error if any source_file is a file of type directory, if target either does not exist or is not a directory.

In the third or fourth synopsis forms, one or more directories specified by source_dir are copied to the directory specified by target. Either the –r or –R must be specified. For each source_dir, cp copies all files and subdirectories.

Options

The following options are supported for both /usr/bin/cp and /usr/xpg4/bin/cp:

–f

Unlink. If a file descriptor for a destination file cannot be obtained, this option attempts to unlink the destination file and proceed.

–H

Takes actions based on the type and contents of the file referenced by any symbolic link specified as a source_file operand.

If the source_file operand is a symbolic link, then cp copies the file referenced by the symbolic link for the source_file operand. All other symbolic links encountered during traversal of a file hierarchy are preserved.

–i

Interactive. cp prompts for confirmation whenever the copy would overwrite an existing target. This is done regardless of whether the input is coming from a terminal. If the prompt for confirmation fails, it is equivalent to the user answering in the negative. An affirmative response means that the copy should proceed. Any other answer prevents cp from overwriting target.

–L

Takes actions based on the type and contents of the file referenced by any symbolic link specified as a source_file operand or any symbolic links encountered during traversal of a file hierarchy.

Copies files referenced by symbolic links. Symbolic links encountered during traversal of a file hierarchy are not preserved.

–p

Preserve. The cp utility duplicates not only the contents of source_file, but also attempts to preserve its ACL, access and modification times, extended attributes, extended system attributes, file mode, and owner and group ids.

If cp is unable to preserve the access and modification times, extended attributes, or the file mode, cp does not consider it a failure. If cp is unable to preserve the owner and group id, the copy does not fail, but cp silently clears the S_ISUID and S_ISGID bits from the file mode of the target. The copy fails if cp is unable to clear these bits. If cp is unable to preserve the ACL or extended system attributes, the copy fails. If the copy fails, then a diagnostic message is written to stderr and (after processing any remaining operands) cp exits with a non-zero exit status.

–P

Takes actions on any symbolic link specified as a source_file operand or any symbolic link encountered during traversal of a file hierarchy.

Copies symbolic links. Symbolic links encountered during traversal of a file hierarchy are preserved.

–r

Recursive. cp copies the directory and all its files, including any subdirectories and their files to target . Unless the –H, –L, or –P option is specified, the –L option is used as the default mode.

–R

Same as –r, except pipes are replicated, not read from.

–z

Fast Copy. cp will reflink the source and destination files. For more information, see the reflink(3C) man page.

–@

Preserves extended attributes. cp attempts to copy all of the source file's extended attributes along with the file data to the destination file.

–/

Preserves extended attributes and extended system attributes. Along with the file's data, the cp utility attempts to copy extended attributes and extended system attributes from each source file, and extended system attributes associated with extended attributes to the destination file. If cp is unable to copy extended attributes or extended system attributes, then a diagnostic message is written to stderr and (after processing any remaining operands) exits with a non-zero exit status.

Specifying more than one of the mutually-exclusive options –H, – L, and –P is not considered an error. The last option specified determines the behavior of the utility.

/usr/bin/cp

If the –p option is specified with either the –@ option or the –/ option, /usr/bin/cp behaves as follows

  • When both –p and –@ are specified in any order, the copy fails if extended attributes cannot be copied.

  • When both –p and –/ are specified in any order, the copy fails if extended system attributes cannot be copied.

/usr/xpg4/bin/cp

If the –p option is specified with either the –@ option or the –/ option, /usr/xpg4/bin/cp behaves as follows:

  • When both –p and –@ are specified, the last option specified determines whether the copy fails if extended attributes cannot be preserved.

  • When both –p and –/ are specified, the last option specified determines whether the copy fails if extended system attributes cannot be preserved.

Operands

The following operands are supported:

source_file

A pathname of a regular file to be copied.

source_dir

A pathname of a directory to be copied.

target_file

A pathname of an existing or non-existing file, used for the output when a single file is copied.

target

A pathname of a directory to contain the copied files.

Examples

Example 1 Copying a File

The following example copies a file:


example% cp goodies goodies.old

example% ls goodies*
goodies goodies.old
Example 2 Copying a List of Files

The following example copies a list of files to a destination directory:


example% cp ~/src/* /tmp
Example 3 Copying a Directory

The following example copies a directory, first to a new, and then to an existing destination directory


example% ls ~/bkup
/usr/example/fred/bkup not found

example% cp –r ~/src ~/bkup

example% ls –R ~/bkup
x.c y.c z.sh

example% cp –r ~/src ~/bkup

example% ls –R ~/bkup
src x.c y.c z.sh
src:
x.c y.c z.s
Example 4 Copying Extended File System Attributes

The following example copies extended file system attributes:

$ ls -/ c file1
-rw-r--r--   1 foo   staff          0 Oct 29 20:04 file1
                {AH-----m--}

$ cp -/ file1 file2
$ ls -/c file2
-rw-r--r--   1 foo  staff          0 Oct 29 20:17 file2
                {AH-----m--}


Example 5 Failing to Copy Extended System Attributes

The following example fails to copy extended system attributes:


$ ls -/c file1
-rw-r--r--   1 foo    staff          0 Oct 29 20:04 file1
                {AH-----m--}

$ cp -/ file1 /tmp         
cp: Failed to copy extended system attributes from file1 to /tmp/file1


$ ls -/c /tmp/file1
-rw-r--r--   1 foo    staff          0 Oct 29 20:09 /tmp/file1
                {}

Environment Variables

See environ(7) for descriptions of the following environment variables that affect the execution of cp: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_COLLATE , LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH .

Affirmative responses are processed using the extended regular expression defined for the yesexpr keyword in the LC_MESSAGES category of the user's locale. The locale specified in the LC_COLLATE category defines the behavior of ranges, equivalence classes, and multi-character collating elements used in the expression defined for yesexpr. The locale specified in LC_CTYPE determines the locale for interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data a characters, the behavior of character classes used in the expression defined for the yesexpr. See locale(7).

Exit Status

The following exit values are returned:

0

All files were copied successfully.

>0

An error occurred.

Attributes

See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

/usr/bin/cp

ATTRIBUTE TYPE
ATTRIBUTE VALUE
Availability
system/core-os
CSI
Enabled
Interface Stability
Committed

/usr/xpg4/bin/cp

ATTRIBUTE TYPE
ATTRIBUTE VALUE
Availability
system/xopen/xcu4
CSI
Enabled
Interface Stability
Committed

See Also

chmod(1), chown(1), utime(2), fgetattr(3C), attributes(7), environ(7), fsattr(7), locale(7), standards(7)

Notes

The permission modes of the source file are preserved in the copy.

A -- permits the user to mark the end of any command line options explicitly, thus allowing cp to recognize filename arguments that begin with a -.