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Copy all files, including hidden files, recursively without traversing backward

Terminal - Copy all files, including hidden files, recursively without traversing backward
cp -r * .??* /dest
2011-12-16 23:41:03
User: atoponce
Functions: cp
Copy all files, including hidden files, recursively without traversing backward

You could do the following, however, brace expansion with {} is not defined in POSIX, and therefore not guaranteed to work in all shells. But, if it does, it's more convenient (although it's certainly not less typing):

cp -r {*,.??*} /dest

Sometimes there are times when I need to cp(1), mv(1) or rm(1) files recursively, but don't want to traverse the previous directory by following ../../../../ etc out of the current directory. This command prevents that. The secret sauce is ".??*". The file globbing ensures that it must start with a dot, and be followed by at least two characters. So, three characters must exist in the filename, which eliminates "." and "..".


There are 3 alternatives - vote for the best!

Terminal - Alternatives

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What others think

I think you've missed out a dot in the second example? {*,.??*}

It could also be written, saving 1 char, as:

cp -r {,.??}* /dest
Comment by flatcap 231 weeks and 5 days ago

What's wrong with 'cp -r . /dest'?

Comment by Fudo 231 weeks and 5 days ago

@flatcap- Nice catch! Edited and fixed. Thanks!

@Fudo- That command does not copy hidden files- only non-hidden files in the current directory.

Comment by atoponce 231 weeks and 4 days ago

Absolutely wonderful.

Comment by kaedenn 231 weeks and 4 days ago

What about one-character hidden files? Like .a

I think it's incomplete.

Comment by daniele 231 weeks ago

if you want all files (including hidden) just don't use file globbing:

cp -r ./ /dest
Comment by zwettler 230 weeks and 6 days ago

Your point of view

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