gcp – Advanced Command Line File Copier Inspired By cp

By | December 22, 2020

A few weeks back, we discussed advanced copy (modified cp command that shows progress bar). Most good web hosts will give you a command line tool as long as you opt for a VPS plan. A reader dropped in a comment pointing out another utility that also provides basic cp command functionality but along with some advanced features. So, in this article, lets discuss the very same command line utility — gcp.

gcp – Advanced Command Line File Copier

gcp — as the manual suggests — is an advanced command line file copier that is inspired by the standard cp command but provides various advanced features like progress bar indicator, source lists, continuous copying even if there is a problematic file etc.

Here is a complete list of options :


Testing Environment

  • OS – Ubuntu 13.04
  • Shell – Bash 4.2.45
  • Application – gcp 0.1.3

A Brief Tutorial

Here are some of the examples of gcp command :

1. Transfer Progress Indicator

The gcp command provides transfer progress indicator so that the user is aware of the current status of the copying process.

Here is an example :


So you can see that the gcp command provides details like complete file size, percentage of copy complete, transfer rate and time left for the copy operation to complete.

2. Copy Directories Recursively Through -r Option

To copy complete directories recursively, use -r option.

Here is an example :


So you can see that the gcp command shows the transfer indicator taking in account the complete size of the folder.

3. Elaborate Error Descriptions

In case of any error, the gcp command displays descriptive error messages pinning down the individual culprit file.

Here is an example :


So you can see that the gcp command provided a detailed error message related to the file August Rush.avi that was already present inside the destination folder. But an error did not disrupt the copy of other file(s).

4. Get Detailed Output Through -v Option

The verbose option -v can be used to keep track of all the details that the gcp command is up to.

Here is an example :


So you can see that extended details were provided in output when -v option was used.

5. Create And Use Sources List

One of the shining features of the gcp command is that it lets you create a list of source files that you can use later.

For example, I saved the list of source file in the following copy operation using the option –sources-save.


The list name in this case is SOURCES_SAVE. You can confirm the saved list through –sources-list option.


So you can see that a list named SOURCES_SAVE is saved.

Now, I deleted the files that I copied in the first step :


and repeated the first step again but without mentioning the source file names. The option –sources-load was use to load the source file names from the list SOURCES_SAVE.


So you can see that the gcp command picked up the source file names from the list SOURCES_SAVE and the copy process started normally.

Here are other options related to source file lists :


The gcp command provides various other useful options. For complete list of options, read the man page of gcp.


Here are some of the important links related to the gcp command :

You can alternatively download and install the gcp command through command line package managers like yum, apt-get etc. Ubuntu users can also use Ubuntu software centre to download and install this utility.


  • Status bar and source lists are the USP of this utility.
  • Skips the problematic file(s) but the copy operation is not hampered.
  • Usage is similar to that of the standard cp command.


  • While copying folders, it could be better if copy status of each file is displayed.
  • Doesn’t come pre-installed in most of the Linux distributions.


If you are fed up of waiting blindly while copying large files through standard cp command the gcp is a good alternative. System administrators will love the source list feature. It’s a must have utility.

Have you ever used gcp or any other advanced cp-like command line utility? Share your experience with us.

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