Linux Command




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

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options

-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

-P, --no-dereference
never follow symbolic links in SOURCE

-p same as --preserve=mode,ownership,timestamps

preserve the specified attributes (default: mode,owner-
ship,timestamps), if possible additional attributes: context,
links, xattr, all

-c same as --preserve=context

don’t preserve the specified attributes

use full source file name under DIRECTORY

-R, -r, --recursive
copy directories recursively

control clone/CoW copies. See below.

remove each existing destination file before attempting to open
it (contrast with --force)

control creation of sparse files. See below.

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

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 behav-
ior 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.

When --reflink[=always] is specified, perform a lightweight copy, where
the data blocks are copied only when modified. If this is not possible
the copy fails, or if --reflink=auto is specified, fall back to a stan-
dard copy.

The backup suffix is ‘~’, unless set with --suffix or SIM-
PLE_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.

Share your experience or ask a question