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Old 11-27-2005, 07:20 PM   #1
Akhran
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How do you copy hidden files from one directory to another?


debian:/home# mkdir test
debian:/home# mkdir target
debian:/home# cd test
debian:/home/test# touch .file1 .file2
debian:/home/test# cd ..
debian:/home# cp -r test/.* target
cp: will not create hard link `target/test' to directory `target/.'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'

Seems that I can't copy hidden files with cp -r.

Please advise.

Thanks.
 
Old 11-27-2005, 07:44 PM   #2
Tinkster
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You're encountering a problem with the globbing here ;}

You can do 2 different things:

a) Don't mkdir target first, then cp -r test/ target/
b) cd test; cp -r ./.* ../target


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 11-27-2005, 07:53 PM   #3
Sargek
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Re: How do you copy hidden files from one directory to another?

Quote:
Originally posted by Akhran
debian:/home# mkdir test
debian:/home# mkdir target
debian:/home# cd test
debian:/home/test# touch .file1 .file2
debian:/home/test# cd ..
debian:/home# cp -r test/.* target
cp: will not create hard link `target/test' to directory `target/.'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'
cp: cannot copy a directory, `test/..', into itself, `target'

Seems that I can't copy hidden files with cp -r.

Please advise.

Thanks.
The -r switch for cp means to copy directories recursively. Also, there a couple of "dot" file in each directory that cp is trying to copy. Try this:
Code:
cp /home/user/test/.f* /home/user/target
Not a bash expert - there may be a shorter way, but that guarentees the correct source and destination, while ignoring the "dot" files. Have you checked your test dir lately Mine was populated by the the contents of my home dir...
 
Old 11-27-2005, 08:00 PM   #4
Robhogg
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Are all the items you are trying to copy normal files, or are there directories you need to copy as well?

I've just tried out what you describe. I found that cp without the -r flag works fine, but cp -r return the error messages you give. When I looked into the target directory, however, I found that many files that were not in the original directory had been copied. These were files from the parent directory.

The problem is that every directory on a unix-type file system contain two special directories:
  • "." refers to the directory itself
  • ".." refers to the parent directory

Thus, one of the directories you were trying to copy was the directory itself, and then the command will recursively copy everything from the directory above it in the file tree.

A solution is a bit of pattern matching. Try:

cp -r test/.[a-zA-Z0-9]* target

This will copy any file that begins with a dot followed by any lower- or upper-case letter or number, then followed by anything else.

Last edited by Robhogg; 11-27-2005 at 08:08 PM.
 
Old 11-27-2005, 08:15 PM   #5
Sargek
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Quote:
Originally posted by Robhogg
Are all the items you are trying to copy normal files, or are there directories you need to copy as well?

I've just tried out what you describe. I found that cp without the -r flag works fine, but cp -r return the error messages you give. When I looked into the target directory, however, I found that many files that were not in the original directory had been copied. These were files from the parent directory.

The problem is that every directory on a unix-type file system contain two special directories:
  • "." refers to the directory itself
  • ".." refers to the parent directory

Thus, one of the directories you were trying to copy was the directory itself, and then the command will recursively copy everything from the directory above it in the file tree.

A solution is a bit of pattern matching. Try:

cp -r test/.[a-zA-Z0-9]* target

This will copy any file that begins with a dot followed by any lower- or upper-case letter or number, then followed by anything else.
He doesn't want to copy directories, only files, so the -r should not be necessary - nice trick with the regular expression! I use them with Javascript, silly me didn't even realize I could use them in bash... Your code only worked when I entered the full path to both test and target - otherwise it failed because it couldn't find "target".
 
Old 11-27-2005, 08:59 PM   #6
Robhogg
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sargek
Your code only worked when I entered the full path to both test and target - otherwise it failed because it couldn't find "target".
I didn't have any problem using just the shorter relative filepaths. Of course, if you use the full path, the command will work from anywhere in the system rather than just the parent directory of target and test.

Rob
 
Old 11-28-2005, 06:26 AM   #7
Akhran
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Thanks for all the tips

Btw, what is globbing?

Thanks !


Quote:
Originally posted by Tinkster
You're encountering a problem with the globbing here ;}

You can do 2 different things:

a) Don't mkdir target first, then cp -r test/ target/
b) cd test; cp -r ./.* ../target


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 02-01-2008, 07:19 PM   #8
bob84123
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I had the same problem; it turns out you *can* copy hidden files with cp -r. It's actually as simple as:

Code:
cp -r dir1 dir2
The difference between this and
Code:
cp -r dir1/* dir2
is that in the latter, bash will expand the star (which excludes hidden files) before cp even sees the command, so cp has no way of knowing that you wanted them copied.

(At least, this is my understanding... please correct me if it's not quite right.)
 
Old 04-17-2008, 01:11 AM   #9
bobpaul
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That works, but will cause problems in cases where you can't create the directory. Take this for instance...

mkdir /mnt/Storage
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/Storage
cp ~/* /mnt/Storage

I can't really substitute let it create a folder in /mnt and rename it, as a file system is mounted in Storage. I NEED to copy the contents of the folder only... Tip 4 shows what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob84123 View Post
(At least, this is my understanding... please correct me if it's not quite right.)
Yes, that is correct.
 
Old 10-05-2008, 02:48 AM   #10
geaplanet
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For that situations is useful
cp -a source destiny
 
Old 10-05-2008, 03:03 AM   #11
Mr. C.
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I've always used a simple, easy-to-type glob for copying all dot files:

cp .??* destdir

This works - almost perfectly - because ? does not match a dot, so avoids the . and .. directories. I say almost perfectly because it fails to copy any dot file followed by only a single letter (eg. .a), but in practice, such a name for a dot file is extremely rare.
 
Old 07-08-2009, 05:25 AM   #12
gatoatigrado
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one issue is that bash actually passes the filename '.??*' or '.[a-zA-Z0-9]*' to the program if no files exist. Does anyone know a solution?

Thanks,
Nicholas
 
Old 07-08-2009, 11:20 AM   #13
Mr. C.
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Use the shell option failglob:

Code:
$ echo .[a-zA-Z0-9]*
.[a-zA-Z0-9]*
$ shopt -s failglob 
$ echo .[a-zA-Z0-9]*
bash: no match: .[a-zA-Z0-9]*
 
Old 03-10-2011, 09:17 AM   #14
s_pradeep
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Smile

Code:
ls -1a | xargs -r -t /home/somewhere/target
where /home/somewhere/target is the target dir and you are running this from inside the source dir!! :-)
 
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:08 AM   #15
pixelatedpete
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Lightbulb Tar

You can also use tar to do this:

cd to the source directory and then do this:

Code:
tar cf - . | (cd TARGET_DIR; tar xfp -)
 
0 members found this post helpful.
  


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