In the first synopsis form, the
copies the contents of the source file to the
target file. In the second synopsis form, the contents
of each named source file are copied to the
destination 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 options are as follows:
- For each existing destination pathname, remove it and create a new file,
without prompting for confirmation, regardless of its permissions. The
-foption overrides any previous
- If the
-Roption is also specified, symbolic links on the command line are followed. Symbolic links encountered in the tree traversal are not followed.
- 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’, the file copy is attempted. The
-ioption overrides any previous
- If the
-Roption is also specified, all symbolic links are followed.
- If the
-Roption is also specified, no symbolic links are followed.
- 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, neither the set-user-ID nor set-group-ID bits are preserved in the copy's permissions.
- If source designates a directory,
cpcopies the directory and the entire subtree connected at that point. Created directories have the same mode as the corresponding source directory, unmodified by the process's umask.
This option also causes symbolic links to be copied, rather than followed, and special files to be created, rather than being copied as normal files. However,
cpcopies hard linked files as separate files. To preserve hard links, use a utility such as pax(1) or tar(1) instead.
For each destination file that already exists, its contents are overwritten if permissions allow, but its mode, user ID, and group ID are unchanged.
In the second synopsis form, the destination specified by the
directory operand must exist unless there is only one
named source 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
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 conditions must be fulfilled or
both bits are removed.
Appropriate permissions are required for file creation or overwriting.
When a file containing large blocks of zero-valued bytes is
cp will attempt to create a sparse file.
Symbolic links are always followed unless the
-R flag is set, in which case symbolic links are not
followed, by default. The
-L flags (in conjunction with the
-R flag) cause symbolic links to be followed as
described above. The
-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
cp utility exits 0 on success,
and >0 if an error occurs.
Make a copy of file foo named bar:
$ cp foo bar
Copy a group of files to the /tmp directory:
$ cp *.txt /tmp
Copy the directory junk and all of its contents (including any subdirectories) to the /tmp directory:
$ cp -R junk /tmp
mv(1), rcp(1), umask(2), fts(3), symlink(7)
cp utility is compliant with the
IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”)
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 FIFOs.
cp command appeared in
Version 1 AT&T UNIX.