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Linux - How to copy...
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Linux - How to copy a directory with all it's content to another location

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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2556
Topic starter  

Since I do not use the command line all that often for copying or moving files, I have to lookup each time what the fine details are of copying a directory with all it's content (files and directories) to another location.

So for my own reference, and maybe useful for others ... here we go.

The basic statement is this (where "-r" indicates to copy recursively)

cp -r source_dir_name destination_dir_name


This is where it always gets a little confusing for me, so here an example.

Say we have this directory, which holds several files and directories that we'd like to copy (the "source_dir_name" without the slash behind it!!):


And I want to copy this directory (copy! not move!) to


and the copied directory should be called (again without a slash at the end!)


The with the "cp" command this is done like so:

cp -r /share/documents/project1 /share/backups/project1_backup


- No trailing slash after the directory names!
- Everything that was found in the original project1 directory, including directories etc, can now also be found in the directory "project1_back".


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