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2011-03-12 - Confoo 2011 presentation
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quickly backup or copy a file with bash

Terminal - quickly backup or copy a file with bash
cp filename{,.bak}
2009-02-05 17:12:03
User: elofland
Functions: cp
quickly backup or copy a file with bash


There are 2 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives
cp file.txt{,.bak}
2009-01-26 12:11:29
User: root
Functions: cp

Uses shell expansion to create a back-up called file.txt.bak

cp httpd.conf{,.bk}
2011-08-15 16:43:53
User: ideivid
Functions: cp
Tags: backup cp

Remember to backup everything before changing it so you can restore all to normal.

cp foo{,bak}
2014-01-22 14:09:42
Functions: cp
Tags: cp

Utilizes shell expansion of {} to give the original filename and a new filename as arguments to `cp`. Can easily be extended to make multiple copies.

cp foo{,bak}
2014-01-22 14:09:42
Functions: cp
Tags: cp

Utilizes shell expansion of {} to give the original filename and a new filename as arguments to `cp`. Can easily be extended to make multiple copies.

cp -bfS.bak filename filename
2009-06-30 14:17:28
User: ioggstream
Functions: cp

less symbols, tab completion.

including # export SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX="_`date +%F`" in your .bashrc provides you to easily timestamp your files

Know a better way?

If you can do better, submit your command here.

What others think

this is using the bash shell I think...

The same thing will work using mv e.g.

mv filename{,.bak}

nice command

Comment by finkployd 316 weeks and 1 day ago

I cannot tell you how many types I've typed out this command the hard way.

Of course one could write a bash/perl one-liner that would do the same thing "backify, or somesuch" with less typing :-D

Comment by QuantumFTL 316 weeks and 1 day ago

Here is some info on the general case.


Comment by terrasect 316 weeks and 1 day ago

Using tab-completion, I don't know how much time this would save, especially having to type out all the symbols

Comment by swegner 314 weeks and 4 days ago

Lots of time. Typing symbols is not difficult. Think of a dir with files named test1_a2_tt.dat or something, but hundreds of them, tab completion will only help so much here.

Comment by jonathan 314 weeks and 3 days ago

Or think of a case when you are not in the directory, but want to backup/edit the file from where you are.

Comment by ozymandias 313 weeks and 4 days ago

I prefer tab completion too, i.e. start typing the filename again and then tab, adding .bak to the end.

Comment by Buzzcp 306 weeks and 5 days ago

Okay, I get it now. There can't be a space between filename and the opening brace. For anyone more newb than me... NO SPACES!

Comment by xizdaqrian 304 weeks and 2 days ago

tab completion or middle-click can be faster, that depends. anyway the game is to find the best solution in each case :P

Comment by ioggstream 294 weeks and 5 days ago

Another option would be to do [CTRL-W] to cut the filename, then [CTRL-Y][space][CTRL-Y].bak. If there are non-keyword characters (ie [[:alnum:]_] in the , you'll have to hit CTRL-W a few times consecutively.

Comment by intuited 270 weeks and 4 days ago

Very handy when tab-complete does not work, and no mouse working from console :)

Comment by alf 230 weeks and 5 days ago

It's very useful~

Comment by deargodzw 196 weeks and 5 days ago

you can use : mv, diff, ...

Comment by Koobiac 190 weeks and 2 days ago

Your point of view

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