Copies files and directories, including subdirectories.

For examples of how to use this command, see Examples.


xcopy <Source> [<Destination>] [/w] [/p] [/c] [/v] [/q] [/f] [/l] [/g] [/d [:MM-DD-YYYY]] [/u] [/i] [/s [/e]] [/t] [/k] [/r] [/h] [{/a | /m}] [/n] [/o] [/x] [/exclude:FileName1[+[FileName2]][+[FileName3]]] [{/y | /-y}] [/z] [/b] [/j] [/compress]


Parameter Description
<Source> Required. Specifies the location and names of the files you want to copy. This parameter must include either a drive or a path.
[<Destination>] Specifies the destination of the files you want to copy. This parameter can include a drive letter and colon, a directory name, a file name, or a combination of these.
/w Displays the following message and waits for your response before starting to copy files:
Press any key to begin copying file(s)
/p Prompts you to confirm whether you want to create each destination file.
/c Ignores errors.
/v Verifies each file as it is written to the destination file to make sure that the destination files are identical to the source files.
/q Suppresses the display of xcopy messages.
/f Displays source and destination file names while copying.
/l Generates a list of files that are to be copied, but doesn't actively copy the files.
/g Creates decrypted destination files when the destination doesn't support encryption.
/d [:MM-DD-YYYY] Copies source files changed on or after the specified date only. If you don't include a MM-DD-YYYY value, xcopy copies all source files that are newer than existing destination files. This command-line option allows you to update files that have changed.
/u Copies files from source that exist on destination only.
/i If source is a directory or contains wildcards and destination doesn't exist, xcopy assumes destination specifies a directory name and creates a new directory. Then, xcopy copies all specified files into the new directory. By default, xcopy prompts you to specify whether destination is a file or a directory.
/s Copies directories and subdirectories, unless they're empty. If you omit /s, xcopy works within a single directory.
/e Copies all subdirectories, even if they're empty. Use /e with the /s and /t command-line options.
/t Copies the subdirectory structure (that is, the tree) only, not files. To copy empty directories, you must include the /e command-line option.
/k Copies files and retains the read-only attribute on destination files if present on the source files. By default, xcopy removes the read-only attribute.
/r Copies read-only files.
/h Copies files with hidden and system file attributes. By default, xcopy doesn't copy hidden or system files
/a Copies only source files that have their archive file attributes set. /a doesn't modify the archive file attribute of the source file. For information about how to set the archive file attribute by using attrib, see Related links.
/m Copies source files that have their archive file attributes set. Unlike /a, /m turns off archive file attributes in the files that are specified in the source. For information about how to set the archive file attribute by using attrib, see Related links.
/n Creates copies by using the NTFS short file or directory names. /n is required when you copy files or directories from an NTFS volume to a FAT volume or when the FAT file system naming convention (that is, 8.3 characters) is required on the destination file system. The destination file system can be FAT or NTFS.
/o Copies file ownership and discretionary access control list (DACL) information.
/x Copies file audit settings and system access control list (SACL) information (implies /o).
/exclude:FileName1[+[FileName2]][+[FileName3]( )] Specifies a list of files. At least one file must be specified. Each file contains search strings with each string on a separate line in the file. When any of the strings match any part of the absolute path of the file to be copied, that file is excluded from being copied. For example, specifying the string obj will exclude all files underneath the directory obj or all files with the .obj extension.
/y Suppresses prompting to confirm that you want to overwrite an existing destination file.
/-y Prompts to confirm that you want to overwrite an existing destination file.
/z Copies over a network in restartable mode.
/b Copies the symbolic link instead of the files. This parameter was introduced in Windows Vista®.
/j Copies files without buffering. Recommended for very large files. This parameter was added in Windows Server 2008 R2.
/compress Request network compression during file transfer where applicable.
/[-]sparse Enables or disables retaining the sparse state of files during copy process. If both parameters are specified, /-sparse overrides /sparse.
/noclone Doesn't attempt block cloning as an optimization.
/? Displays help at the command prompt.


  • Using /z

    If you lose your connection during the copy phase (for example, if the server going offline severs the connection), it resumes after you reestablish the connection. /z also displays the percentage of the copy operation completed for each file.

  • Using /y in the COPYCMD environment variable.

    You can use /y in the COPYCMD environment variable. You can override this command by using /-y on the command line. By default, you're prompted to overwrite.

  • Copying encrypted files

    Copying encrypted files to a volume that doesn't support EFS results in an error. Decrypt the files first or copy the files to a volume that does support EFS.

  • Appending files

    To append files, specify a single file for destination, but multiple files for source (that is, by using wildcards or file1+file2+file3 format).

  • Default value for destination

    If you omit destination, the xcopy command copies the files to the current directory.

  • Specifying whether destination is a file or directory

    If destination doesn't contain an existing directory and doesn't end with a backslash (), the following message appears:

    Does <Destination> specify a file name or directory name on the target(F = file, D = directory)?

    Press F if you want the file or files to be copied to a file. Press D if you want the file or files to be copied to a directory.

    You can suppress this message by using the /i command-line option, which causes xcopy to assume that the destination is a directory if the source is more than one file or a directory.

  • Using the xcopy command to set archive attribute for destination files

    The xcopy command creates files with the archive attribute set, whether or not this attribute was set in the source file. For more information about file attributes and attrib, see Related links.

  • Comparing xcopy and diskcopy

    If you have a disk that contains files in subdirectories and you want to copy it to a disk that has a different format, use the xcopy command instead of diskcopy. Because the diskcopy command copies disks track by track, your source and destination disks must have the same format. The xcopy command doesn't have this requirement. Use xcopy unless you need a complete disk image copy.

  • Insufficient memory error

    An "insufficient memory" error may occur if running xcopy to copy a file or folder whose filename path is greater than 255 characters.

  • Exit codes for xcopy

    To process exit codes returned by xcopy, use the ErrorLevel parameter on the if command line in a batch program. For an example of a batch program that processes exit codes using if, see Related links. The following table lists each exit code and a description.

    Exit code Description
    0 Files were copied without error.
    1 No files were found to copy.
    2 The user pressed CTRL+C to terminate xcopy.
    4 Initialization error occurred. There isn't enough memory or disk space, or you entered an invalid drive name or invalid syntax on the command line.
    5 Disk write error occurred.


1. To copy all the files and subdirectories (including any empty subdirectories) from drive A to drive B, type:

xcopy a: b: /s /e

2. To include any system or hidden files in the previous example, add the /h command-line option as follows:

xcopy a: b: /s /e /h

3. To update files in the \Reports directory with the files in the \Rawdata directory that have changed since December 29, 1993, type:

xcopy \rawdata \reports /d:12-29-1993

4. To update all the files that exist in \Reports in the previous example, regardless of date, type:

xcopy \rawdata \reports /u

5. To obtain a list of the files to be copied by the previous command (that is, without actually copying the files), type:

xcopy \rawdata \reports /d:12-29-1993 /l > xcopy.out

The file xcopy.out lists every file that is to be copied.

6. To copy the \Customer directory and all subdirectories to the directory \\Public\Address on network drive H:, retain the read-only attribute, and be prompted when a new file is created on H:, type:

xcopy \customer h:\public\address /s /e /k /p

7. To issue the previous command, ensure that xcopy creates the \Address directory if it doesn't exist, and suppress the message that appears when you create a new directory, add the /i command-line option as follows:

xcopy \customer h:\public\address /s /e /k /p /i

8. You can create a batch program to perform xcopy operations and use the batch if command to process the exit code if an error occurs. For example, the following batch program uses replaceable parameters for the xcopy source and destination parameters:

@echo off
rem COPYIT.BAT transfers all files in all subdirectories of
rem the source drive or directory (%1) to the destination
rem drive or directory (%2)
xcopy %1 %2 /s /e
if errorlevel 4 goto lowmemory
if errorlevel 2 goto abort
if errorlevel 0 goto exit
echo Insufficient memory to copy files or
echo invalid drive or command-line syntax.
goto exit
echo You pressed CTRL+C to end the copy operation.
goto exit

To use the preceding batch program to copy all files in the C:\Prgmcode directory and its subdirectories to drive B, type:

copyit c:\prgmcode b:

The command interpreter substitutes C:\Prgmcode for %1 and B: for %2, then uses xcopy with the /e and /s command-line options. If xcopy encounters an error, the batch program reads the exit code and goes to the label indicated in the appropriate IF ERRORLEVEL statement, then displays the appropriate message and exits from the batch program.

9. This example copies all the non-empty directories, plus files with the associated file extension after the asterisk symbol.

xcopy .\toc*.yml ..\..\Copy-To\ /S /Y

rem Output example.
rem  .\d1\toc.yml
rem  .\d1\d12\toc.yml
rem  .\d2\toc.yml
rem  3 File(s) copied

In the preceding example, this particular source parameter value .\toc*.yml copies the same 3 files even if its two path characters .\ were removed. However, no files would be copied if the asterisk wildcard was removed from the source parameter, making it just .\toc.yml.