xcopy is a command used to copy files and folders in Windows operating systems. xcopy command provides a lot of useful features in order to copy specific file types, subdirectories, read-only files, etc.
xcopy Syntax and Parameters
xopy command has the following syntax where SOURCE and DESTINATION is important with PARAMETERS
xcopy SOURCE DESTINATION PARAMETER
- SOURCE is the source files and folders we want to copy. SOURCE is required.
- DESTINATION is the destination we want to copy to. DESTINATION is optional.
- PARAMETERS are used to provide different options for xcopy commands like ignore errors, copy subdirectories.
|/w||Press any key to start copy|
|/p||Prompt to copy each file and folder|
|/v||Verify each copied destination file|
|/q||Do not display any output or message|
|/f||Display source and destination filename|
|/l||List files that will be copied|
|/u||Copy files which already exist in the destination|
|/s||Copy recursively subfolders and subdirectories except empty|
|/e||Copy recursively subfolders and subdirectories including empty|
|/t||Copy only directories or folder do not copy files|
|/r||Copy read-only files|
|/h||Copy hidden and system files|
|/o||Copy file owner and DACL|
|/x||Copy file audit settings and SACL|
|/y||Suppress prompting and overwrite an existing destination file|
|/-y||Prompt for every existing destination file|
|/?||Display help information|
xcopy Exit Codes
When the copy process is completed with the xcopy command it will return an exit code in order to provide information about the copy process. The following exit codes are returned.
|Files were copied successfully without any error.|
|1||In the source, no files were found to copy.|
|2||Copy interrupted when the user pressed CTRL+C.|
|4||Initialization error occurred. There is not enough memory or disk space, or you entered an invalid drive name or invalid syntax on the command line.|
|5||Disk write error occurred which may be related destination disk permission, or full.|
Display xcopy Help
xcopy command provides a lot of parameters and options where help information about them can be listed with the
/? option like below.
C:\>xcopy /? Copies files and directory trees. XCOPY source [destination] [/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] [/B] [/J] [/EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]...] source Specifies the file(s) to copy. destination 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. /D:m-d-y 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. /EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]... 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 the size of 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 directory. /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 attributes. /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. /B Copies the Symbolic Link itself versus the target of the link. /J Copies using unbuffered I/O. Recommended for very large files. The switch /Y may be preset in the COPYCMD environment variable. This may be overridden with /-Y on the command line.
You can copy a single file with the xcopy command easily by providing the source file and destination file. Below we will copy the file named test.py into backup.py . We can see that when we try to copy a file we will ask if the destination is a file or folder.
C:\Users\ismail\Desktop>xcopy test.py backup.py Does backup.py specify a file name or directory name on the target (F = file, D = directory)? F C:test.py 1 File(s) copied
We can also copy a folder which contains some files. If the given folder do not contains any file it will not copied unless we provide the
C:\Users\ismail\Desktop>xcopy Test Backup Does Backup specify a file name or directory name on the target (F = file, D = directory)? D Test\backup.py 1 File(s) copied
Copy All Files and Folders From Source To Destination
By default xcopy do not copies files and folders recursively. It will only copy first level of files. We can copy files and folders recursively we can provide
/s option will copy recursively subfolders and files except empty ones where
/e option copy recursively files and subfolders even empty ones.
> xcopy /s Test Backup > xcopy /e Test Backup
Copy Hidden and System Files
By default xcopy do not copies hidden and systems files. But if we want to copy both system and hidden files we can provide the
/h option like below.
> xcopy /s Test Backup > xcopy /e Test Backup
Copy Only Changed Files or Update Only
A copy operation can create a load on the system and generally not all copied files are changed after the last copy. This is especially possible for taking periodic backups where only some files will be changed. We can use the /d option which will only copy non-existing or outdated or changed files on the destination.
> xcopy /d Test Backup
Copy Only Changed Files or Update Only After Specified Date
We can also copy files changed after the specified date by using the
/d option. We will also provide the date in the MM-DD-YYY. In the following example we will copy only files changed after 10-01-2020.
> xcopy /d:10-01-2020 Test Backup
Only List Do Not Copy Files and Folders
By default the xcopy command files copy given source files and folder into the destination. But we can simulate the copy operation and do not actually copy and just print list files and folders which can be copied.
> xcopy /l Test Backup
Copy To The Network or SMB File Share
xcopy command popularly used to copy files over the network. We can copy local or remote files over the network by specifying the remote system IP address or hostname.
> xcopy /e \\192.168.1.1\files C:\backup