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  1. #1

    Skip duplicate files with copy (cp)


    I am trying to copy a load of files from an old computer to my Gentoo box. Over a wireless (b) network this has been slightly flakey but I'm pretty much there.
    What I would like to do now is run the copy command again, but have it automatically skip the files that already exist. Thus far I have been using the -i interactive switch but then I have to press enter to skip each duplicate.

    Can anyone suggest an elegant alternative?


  2. #2
    This isn't as elegant as I think you are looking for, but could you use the update flag?

    cp -u

    copy only when the SOURCE file is newer than the destination
    file or when the destination file is missing

    You would have to be a bit careful just because it just looks at the timestamp, but will at least you won't have to sit in front of the terminal and babysit the copy.


    I also found this but have never used it. However, it may be what you are looking for.

    *Deprecated: to be removed in 2008.*
    Using `--reply=yes' makes `cp' act as if `yes' were given as a
    response to every prompt about a destination file. That
    effectively cancels any preceding `--interactive' or `-i' option.
    Specify `--reply=no' to make `cp' act as if `no' were given as a
    response to every prompt about a destination file. Specify
    `--reply=query' to make `cp' prompt the user about each existing
    destination file.

    What you would do (I think) is do cp -i --reply=no

    That way, it will ask if you want to overwrite the file and automatically say "no." Check your version and give it a test run as this option will be removed very soon!
    Last edited by sdimhoff; 01-21-2008 at 01:51 PM. Reason: Found a better way

  3. #3

    That's really useful thanks. I had thought of the update option, but it hadn't worked for me in the past. I now realise my clock was set wrong so in the future that should work just fine.
    seems like a shame to get rid of the --reply option as this was maybe more appropriate for my needs as I was copying music and so am not really bothered by the date stamp.


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