Pete Freitag Pete Freitag

xcopy - Handy tool on windows

Published on December 09, 2003
By Pete Freitag

xcopy is useful program that is included with Windows. Some of the things it can do include: copy directories recursively, copy just the folder structure, copy files changed on or after a given date, exclude files, only copy files that already exist in the destination, overwrite read only files, etc.

Here's an example of copying files recursively:

xcopy /E c:\source c:\dest

You can get a full list of options by typing help xcopy

XCOPY source [dest] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S] 
                    [/E] [/V] [/W] [/C] [/I] [/Q] 
                    [/F] [/L] [/G] [/H] [/R] [/T] 
                    [/U] [/K] [/N] [/O] [/X] [/Y]
                    [/-Y] [/Z]

source  Specifies the file(s) to copy.
dest    Specifies the location and/or name of new files.

/A  Copies only files with the archive attribute set,
    doesn't change the attribute.
/M  Copies only files with the archive attribute set,
    turns off the archive attribute.
    Copies files changed on or after the specified date.
    If no date is given, copies only those files whose
    source time is newer than the destination time.
    Specifies a list of files containing strings.  
    Each string should be in a separate line in
    the files.  When any of the strings match 
    any part of the absolute path of the file 
    to be copied, that file will be excluded
    from being copied.  For example, 
    specifying a string like \obj\ or .obj 
    will exclude all files underneath the 
    directory obj or all files with the .obj 
    extension respectively.
/P  Prompts you before creating each destination file.
/S  Copies directories and subdirectories except 
    empty ones.
/E  Copies directories and subdirectories, including 
    empty ones. Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T.
/V  Verifies each new file.
/W  Prompts you to press a key before copying.
/C  Continues copying even if errors occur.
/I  If destination does not exist and copying more than 
    one file, assumes that destination must be a 
/Q  Does not display file names while copying.
/F  Displays full source and destination file names 
    while copying.
/L  Displays files that would be copied.
/G  Allows the copying of encrypted files to destination 
    that does not support encryption.
/H  Copies hidden and system files also.
/R  Overwrites read-only files.
/T  Creates directory structure, but does not copy files.
    Does not include empty directories or subdirectories. 
    /T /E includes empty directories and subdirectories.
/U  Copies only files that already exist in destination.
/K  Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only
/N  Copies using the generated short names.
/O  Copies file ownership and ACL information.
/X  Copies file audit settings (implies /O).
/Y  Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite
    an existing destination file.
/-Y Causes prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an
    existing destination file.
/Z  Copies networked files in restartable mode.

The switch /Y may be preset in the COPYCMD
environment variable. This may be overridden
with /-Y on the command line.

windows xcopy tips utils

xcopy - Handy tool on windows was first published on December 09, 2003.

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Years ago in DOS days there was a program called XTREEGOLD which was i think a visual UI for xcopy?
by Scott M Barnes on 12/09/2003 at 9:15:41 PM UTC
Can you suggest a way to copy a structure like this'
a direc called Test having a subdirectory Test1.
to teh location C:\Temp .what I mean is tht the whole structure should replicate in Temp
by Prashant on 12/30/2003 at 8:11:23 AM UTC
In the W2K resource kit (and in the XP resource kit) there's a tool called robocopy.

xcopy copies all files in the source to the destination, regardless of what is in the destination. robocopy will only copy the files that are not already present in the destination. VERY handy.

Of course, on a unix-like OS, there's always rsync.
by Tom Cooper on 07/21/2005 at 3:00:23 PM UTC
is there any known way to copy recursively only shortcuts from one place to another... i.e. want to create folders as usual (that I can achieve through /t switch) but files should not be copied instead their link shall be created.
by Masoom Shaikh on 12/28/2005 at 1:50:32 AM UTC