Copies files and directories, including subdirectories.


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:file1[+[file2]][+[file3]] [{/y|/-y}] [/z]


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   : Displays a list of files that are to be copied.

/g   : Creates decrypted destination files.

/d [ : mm-dd-yyyy ] : Copies source files changed on or after the specified date only. If you do not 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 does not 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 are empty. If you omit /s, xcopy works within a single directory.

/e   : Copies all subdirectories, even if they are 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 does not copy hidden or system files.

/a   : Copies only source files that have their archive file attributes set. /a does not modify the archive file attribute of the source file. For information about how to set the archive file attribute by using attrib, see Related Topics.

/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 Topics.

/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 containing strings.

/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.

/?   : Displays help at the command prompt.


  • Using /v 

    Windows XP does not use this command. It is accepted only for compatibility with MS-DOS files.

  • Using /exclude 

    List each string in a separate line in each file. If any of the listed strings match any part of the absolute path of the file to be copied, that file is then excluded from the copying process. For example, if you specify the string "\Obj\", you exclude all files underneath the Obj directory. If you specify the string ".obj", you exclude all files with the .obj extension.

  • 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 are prompted to overwrite, unless you run copy from within a batch script.

  • Copying encrypted files

    Copying encrypted files to a volume that does not 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 does not contain an existing directory and does not 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 Topics.

  • 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 does not have this requirement. Use xcopy unless you need a complete disk image copy.

  • 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 Topics. The following table lists each exit code and a description.

    Exit code



    Files were copied without error.


    No files were found to copy.


    The user pressed CTRL+C to terminate xcopy.


    Initialization error occurred. There is not enough memory or disk space, or you entered an invalid drive name or invalid syntax on the command line.


    Disk write error occurred.


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

xcopy a: b: /s /e

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

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 

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

xcopy \rawdata \reports /u

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.

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

To issue the previous command, ensure that xcopy creates the \Address directory if it does not 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

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 this 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.

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Information that the user must supply


Elements that the user must type exactly as shown

Ellipsis (...)

Parameter that can be repeated several times in a command line

Between brackets ([])

Optional items

Between braces ({}); choices separated by pipe (|). Example: {even|odd}

Set of choices from which the user must choose only one

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Code or program output







Command-line reference A-Z