[windows] batch/bat to copy folder and content at once

I'm writing a batch script that does a copy. I want to script it to copy an entire folder. When I want to copy a single file, I do this

copy %~dp0file.txt file.txt 

If I have a folder with this structure, is there a command to copy this entire folder with its contents all at once while preserving the exact structure.


This question is related to windows batch-file copy directory

The answer is

The old way:

xcopy [source] [destination] /E

xcopy is deprecated. Robocopy replaces Xcopy. It comes with Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.

robocopy [source] [destination] /E

robocopy has several advantages:

  • copy paths exceeding 259 characters
  • multithreaded copying

More details here.

For Folder Copy You can Use

robocopy C:\Source D:\Destination /E

For File Copy

copy D:\Sourcefile.txt D:\backup\Destinationfile.txt /Y 

Delete file in some folder last modify date more than some day

forfiles -p "D:\FolderPath" -s -m *.[Filetype eg-->.txt] -d -[Numberof dates] -c "cmd /c del @PATH"

And you can Shedule task in windows perform this task automatically in specific time.

I've been interested in the original question here and related ones.

For an answer, this week I did some experiments with XCOPY.

To help answer the original question, here I post the results of my experiments.

I did the experiments on Windows 7 64 bit Professional SP1 with the copy of XCOPY that came with the operating system.

For the experiments, I wrote some code in the scripting language Open Object Rexx and the editor macro language Kexx with the text editor KEdit.

XCOPY was called from the Rexx code. The Kexx code edited the screen output of XCOPY to focus on the crucial results.

The experiments all had to do with using XCOPY to copy one directory with several files and subdirectories.

The experiments consisted of 10 cases. Each case adjusted the arguments to XCOPY and called XCOPY once. All 10 cases were attempting to do the same copying operation.

Here are the main results:

(1) Of the 10 cases, only three did copying. The other 7 cases right away, just from processing the arguments to XCOPY, gave error messages, e.g.,

Invalid path

Access denied

with no files copied.

Of the three cases that did copying, they all did the same copying, that is, gave the same results.

(2) If want to copy a directory X and all the files and directories in directory X, in the hierarchical file system tree rooted at directory X, then apparently XCOPY -- and this appears to be much of the original question -- just will NOT do that.

One consequence is that if using XCOPY to copy directory X and its contents, then CAN copy the contents but CANNOT copy the directory X itself; thus, lose the time-date stamp on directory X, its archive bit, data on ownership, attributes, etc.

Of course if directory X is a subdirectory of directory Y, an XCOPY of Y will copy all of the contents of directory Y WITH directory X. So in this way can get a copy of directory X. However, the copy of directory X will have its time-date stamp of the time of the run of XCOPY and NOT the time-date stamp of the original directory X.

This change in time-date stamps can be awkward for a copy of a directory with a lot of downloaded Web pages: The HTML file of the Web page will have its original time-date stamp, but the corresponding subdirectory for files used by the HTML file will have the time-date stamp of the run of XCOPY. So, when sorting the copy on time date stamps, all the subdirectories, the HTML files and the corresponding subdirectories, e.g.,



can appear far apart in the sort on time-date.

Hierarchical file systems go way back, IIRC to Multics at MIT in 1969, and since then lots of people have recognized the two cases, given a directory X, (i) copy directory X and all its contents and (ii) copy all the contents of X but not directory X itself. Well, if only from the experiments, XCOPY does only (ii).

So, the results of the 10 cases are below. For each case, in the results the first three lines have the first three arguments to XCOPY. So, the first line has the tree name of the directory to be copied, the 'source'; the second line has the tree name of the directory to get the copies, the 'destination', and the third line has the options for XCOPY. The remaining 1-2 lines have the results of the run of XCOPY.

One big point about the options is that options /X and /O result in result

Access denied

To see this, compare case 8 with the other cases that were the same, did not have /X and /O, but did copy.

These experiments have me better understand XCOPY and contribute an answer to the original question.

======= case 1 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /K /O /R /V /X /Y
Result:  Invalid path
Result:  0 File(s) copied
======= case 2 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /K /O /R /V /X /Y
Result:  Access denied
Result:  0 File(s) copied
======= case 3 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /K /O /R /V /X /Y
Result:  Access denied
Result:  0 File(s) copied
======= case 4 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /K /R /V /Y
Result:  Invalid path
Result:  0 File(s) copied
======= case 5 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /K /O /R /S /X /Y
Result:  Invalid path
Result:  0 File(s) copied
======= case 6 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /I /K /O /R /S /X /Y
Result:  Access denied
Result:  0 File(s) copied
======= case 7 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /I /K /R /S /Y
Result:  20 File(s) copied
======= case 8 ==================
options = /E /F /G /H /I /K /O /R /S /X /Y
Result:  Access denied
Result:  0 File(s) copied
======= case 9 ==================
options = /I /S
Result:  20 File(s) copied
======= case 10 ==================
options = /E /I /S
Result:  20 File(s) copied

I suspect that the xcopy command is the magic bullet you're looking for.

It can copy files, directories, and even entire drives while preserving the original directory hierarchy. There are also a handful of additional options available, compared to the basic copy command.

Check out the documentation here.

If your batch file only needs to run on Windows Vista or later, you can use robocopy instead, which is an even more powerful tool than xcopy, and is now built into the operating system. It's documentation is available here.

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