The command cp stands for – copy.
It is used to copy files in the file system. The basic syntax is
$ cp <source> <destination>
The <source> is the existing file’s name. And the <destination> is a new file name. We can also use relative/absolute paths in <source> and <destination>.
In the example, we have created a copy of ‘doc’ and named it as ‘newdoc’. If a file named ‘newdoc’ already exists, then the file will be simply over written. So, we should check first if the new file name is not a existing file name.
To copy file to a different directory
In the previous example, we have copied files in the same directory. But if we want to copy a file in the present directory to a different directory, we need to simply write the relative/absolute path in the <destination> section.
In the example we’ve copied the ‘newdoc’ file from our present directory to /home/infolinux/ directory.
If we want to copy files from a different directory, we need to give the absolute path of the file in the <source>.
Usage with Common Options of cp Command:
- cp <source> <destination> to copy file from source to destination
- cp -r <source> <destination> to copy a whole directory recursively to destination directory
- cp -backup <source> <destination> to backup existing file before overwriting it
- cp -i <source> <destination> asks for confirmation
- cp – I <source> <destination> creates a hard link (note that, this doesn’t create an actual copy)
- cp -p <source> <destination> preserves attribute of a file
- cp -u <source> <destination> copy only when the <source> file is newer than the destination file, or the destination file is missing