File::Copy(3perl) Perl Programmers Reference Guide File::Copy(3perl)NAMEFile::Copy - Copy files or filehandles
copy("file1","file2") or die "Copy failed: $!";
use File::Copy "cp";
$n = FileHandle->new("/a/file","r");
The File::Copy module provides two basic functions, "copy" and "move",
which are useful for getting the contents of a file from one place to
The "copy" function takes two parameters: a file to copy from and a
file to copy to. Either argument may be a string, a FileHandle
reference or a FileHandle glob. Obviously, if the first argument is
a filehandle of some sort, it will be read from, and if it is a
file name it will be opened for reading. Likewise, the second
argument will be written to (and created if need be). Trying to
copy a file on top of itself is an error.
If the destination (second argument) already exists and is a
directory, and the source (first argument) is not a filehandle,
then the source file will be copied into the directory specified by
the destination, using the same base name as the source file. It's
a failure to have a filehandle as the source when the destination
is a directory.
Note that passing in files as handles instead of names may lead to
loss of information on some operating systems; it is recommended
that you use file names whenever possible. Files are opened in
binary mode where applicable. To get a consistent behaviour when
copying from a filehandle to a file, use "binmode" on the
An optional third parameter can be used to specify the buffer size
used for copying. This is the number of bytes from the first file,
that will be held in memory at any given time, before being written
to the second file. The default buffer size depends upon the file,
but will generally be the whole file (up to 2MB), or 1k for
filehandles that do not reference files (eg. sockets).
You may use the syntax "use File::Copy "cp"" to get at the "cp"
alias for this function. The syntax is exactly the same. The
behavior is nearly the same as well: as of version 2.15, "cp" will
preserve the source file's permission bits like the shell utility
cp(1) would do, while "copy" uses the default permissions for the
target file (which may depend on the process' "umask", file
ownership, inherited ACLs, etc.). If an error occurs in setting
permissions, "cp" will return 0, regardless of whether the file was
The "move" function also takes two parameters: the current name and
the intended name of the file to be moved. If the destination
already exists and is a directory, and the source is not a
directory, then the source file will be renamed into the directory
specified by the destination.
If possible, move() will simply rename the file. Otherwise, it
copies the file to the new location and deletes the original. If
an error occurs during this copy-and-delete process, you may be
left with a (possibly partial) copy of the file under the
You may use the "mv" alias for this function in the same way that
you may use the "cp" alias for "copy".
File::Copy also provides the "syscopy" routine, which copies the
file specified in the first parameter to the file specified in the
second parameter, preserving OS-specific attributes and file
structure. For Unix systems, this is equivalent to the simple
"copy" routine, which doesn't preserve OS-specific attributes. For
VMS systems, this calls the "rmscopy" routine (see below). For
OS/2 systems, this calls the "syscopy" XSUB directly. For Win32
systems, this calls "Win32::CopyFile".
Special behaviour if "syscopy" is defined (OS/2, VMS and Win32):
If both arguments to "copy" are not file handles, then "copy" will
perform a "system copy" of the input file to a new output file, in
order to preserve file attributes, indexed file structure, etc.
The buffer size parameter is ignored. If either argument to "copy"
is a handle to an opened file, then data is copied using Perl
operators, and no effort is made to preserve file attributes or
The system copy routine may also be called directly under VMS and
OS/2 as "File::Copy::syscopy" (or under VMS as
"File::Copy::rmscopy", which is the routine that does the actual
work for syscopy).
The first and second arguments may be strings, typeglobs, typeglob
references, or objects inheriting from IO::Handle; they are used in
all cases to obtain the filespec of the input and output files,
respectively. The name and type of the input file are used as
defaults for the output file, if necessary.
A new version of the output file is always created, which inherits
the structure and RMS attributes of the input file, except for
owner and protections (and possibly timestamps; see below). All
data from the input file is copied to the output file; if either of
the first two parameters to "rmscopy" is a file handle, its
position is unchanged. (Note that this means a file handle
pointing to the output file will be associated with an old version
of that file after "rmscopy" returns, not the newly created
The third parameter is an integer flag, which tells "rmscopy" how
to handle timestamps. If it is < 0, none of the input file's
timestamps are propagated to the output file. If it is > 0, then
it is interpreted as a bitmask: if bit 0 (the LSB) is set, then
timestamps other than the revision date are propagated; if bit 1 is
set, the revision date is propagated. If the third parameter to
"rmscopy" is 0, then it behaves much like the DCL COPY command: if
the name or type of the output file was explicitly specified, then
no timestamps are propagated, but if they were taken implicitly
from the input filespec, then all timestamps other than the
revision date are propagated. If this parameter is not supplied,
it defaults to 0.
Like "copy", "rmscopy" returns 1 on success. If an error occurs,
it sets $!, deletes the output file, and returns 0.
All functions return 1 on success, 0 on failure. $! will be set if an
error was encountered.
AUTHORFile::Copy was written by Aaron Sherman <firstname.lastname@example.org> in 1995, and
updated by Charles Bailey <email@example.com> in 1996.
perl v5.18.2 2014-01-06 File::Copy(3perl)