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

cp -r * .??* /dest
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 "..".

By: atoponce
2011-12-16 23:41:03

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
flatcap · 513 weeks and 5 days ago
What's wrong with 'cp -r . /dest'?
Fudo · 513 weeks and 4 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.
atoponce · 513 weeks and 4 days ago
Absolutely wonderful.
kaedenn · 513 weeks and 4 days ago
What about one-character hidden files? Like .a I think it's incomplete.
daniele · 512 weeks and 6 days ago
if you want all files (including hidden) just don't use file globbing: cp -r ./ /dest
zwettler · 512 weeks and 6 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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