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3.3 Copy-pass mode

In copy-pass mode, cpio copies files from one directory tree to another, combining the copy-out and copy-in steps without actually using an archive. It reads the list of files to copy from the standard input; the directory into which it will copy them is given as a non-option argument.

This mode is requested by the ‘-p’ (‘--pass-through’) command line option.

The following options are valid in copy-out mode:


Filenames in the list are delimited by ASCII null characters instead of newlines.


Reset the access times of files after reading them.


Swap both halfwords of words and bytes of halfwords in the data. Equivalent to ‘-sS’.


Sets the I/O block size to block-size * 512 bytes.


Set the I/O block size to 5120 bytes.


Use the old portable (ASCII) archive format.

-C number

Set the I/O block size to the given number of bytes.


Create leading directories where needed.


Create reproducible archives. This is equivalent to ‘--ignore-devno --ignore-dirnlink --renumber-inodes’.

-D dir

Change to directory dir

-E file

Read additional patterns specifying filenames to extract or list from file.


Only copy files that do not match any of the given patterns.

-F [[user@]host:]archive-file
-O [[user@]host:]archive-file

Use the supplied archive-file instead of standard input. Optional user and host specify the user and host names in case of a remote archive.


Treat the archive file as local, even if its name contains colons.

-H format

Use given archive format. See format, for a list of available formats.


Store 0 in the device number field of each archive member, instead of the actual device number.


Store 2 in the nlink field of each directory archive member, instead of the actual number of links.


Link files instead of copying them, when possible.


Dereference symbolic links (copy the files that they point to instead of copying the links).


Retain previous file modification times when creating files.

-M string

Print string when the end of a volume of the backup media is reached.


In the verbose table of contents listing, show numeric UID and GID values.


Do not change the ownership of the files.


When reading a CRC format archive, only verify the CRC’s of each file in the archive, don’t actually extract the files


Do not print the number of blocks copied.


Use command instead of rsh to access remote archives.


Interactively rename files


Renumber inodes when storing them in the archive.


Set the ownership of all files created to the specified user and/or group. See owner.


Swap the bytes of each halfword in the files


Write files with large blocks of zeros as sparse files.


Swap the halfwords of each word (4 bytes) in the files


Extract files to standard output.


Replace all files unconditionally.


Verbosely list the files processed.


Print a ‘.’ for each file processed.


Control warning display. Argument is one of ‘none’, ‘truncate’, ‘no-truncate’ or ‘all’. See warning, for a detailed discussion of these.

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