Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Copying only updated and new files

20th October 2008

With Linux/UNIX, the command line remains ever useful and allows you to do all manner of things, including file copying that only adds new files to a destination. Here’s a command that accomplishes this in Linux:

cp -urv [source] [destination]

The u switch does the update while r ensures recursion (by default, cp only copies files from a source directory and not anything sitting in subfolders) and v tells the command to tell the user what is happening.

Though buried and hardly promoted, Windows also has its command line and here’s what accomplishes a similar result:

xcopy /d /u [source] [destination]

Anything’s better than having to approve or reject every instance where source and destination files are the same or, even worse, to overwrite a file when it is not wanted.

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