cp - copy files
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-fip] source_file target_file
cp [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-fip] source_file ...
In the first synopsis form, the cp utility 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
target_directory. The names of the files themselves are not
cp detects an attempt to copy a file to itself, the copy
The options are as follows:
-R If source_file designates a directory, cp copies the
and the entire subtree connected at that point.
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. Created directories have the same mode as
source directory, unmodified by the process's
-H If the -R option is also specified, symbolic links
on the command-line
are followed. (Symbolic links encountered
in the tree
traversal are not followed.)
-L If the -R option is also specified, all symbolic
links are followed.
-P If the -R option is also specified, no symbolic
links are followed.
-f For each existing destination pathname, remove it
and create a
new file, without prompting for confirmation, regardless of its
permissions. This option overrides any use of -i.
-i 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
-p Preserve in the copy as many of the modification
time, file flags, file mode, user ID, and group ID
as allowed by
If the user ID and group ID cannot be preserved, no
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 setgroup-ID bit
on and the group ID cannot be preserved, the setgroup-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
nor set-group-ID bits are preserved in the copy's
For each destination file that already exists, its contents
if permissions allow, but its mode, user ID, and group
ID are unchanged.
In the second synopsis form, target_directory must exist unless there is
only one named source_file 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 (umask, see
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
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 setgroup-ID
bits are set, all of the above conditions must be
both bits are removed.
Appropriate permissions are required for file creation or
Symbolic links are always followed unless the -R flag is
set, in which
case symbolic links are not followed, by default. The -H or
-L flags (in
conjunction with the -R flag) cause symbolic links to be
followed as described
above. The -H, -L, and -P options are ignored unless the -R option
is specified. In addition, these options override each
the command's actions are determined by the last one specified.
The cp utility exits 0 on success or >0 if an error occurred.
$ cp foo bar
Make a copy of file foo named bar.
$ cp *.txt /tmp
Copy a group of files to the /tmp directory.
$ cp -R junk /tmp
Copy the directory junk and all of its contents (including
to the /tmp directory.
mv(1), rcp(1), umask(2), fts(3), symlink(7)
Historic versions of the cp utility had a -r option. This
supports that option; however, its use is strongly discouraged, as it
does not correctly copy special files, symbolic links or FIFOs.
The cp utility is expected to be IEEE Std 1003.2
A cp command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
OpenBSD 3.6 April 18, 1994
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